a sunday night ode to twitter

Here’s the thing. I love Twitter. You know I do. But the relationship has taken a love-hate twist of late. I think when I read the review of You are Not a Gadget in Spectrum this past weekend I got a little unsettled.

Anyway, this is where it took me…

Sometimes I tweet because of my work. I edit a small regional street press parenting magazine. Twitter helps me to find fabulous writers and also to access current trends and ideas in the parenting community. Sometimes I promo the stuff we are doing. Sometimes I tweet my own blog, which is part of the bigger picture. You could say I tweet professionally. At least *I* could say that.

But sometimes I just stuff around on Twitter. And by ‘stuff around’ I mean ‘have fun’. I have heard people compare Twitter to a night out at a busy pub, and I have to say I agree.

I also love a good justification so this arvo (after a big Twitter weekend) I came up with a little theory.

I was wondering why this seemingly ‘teenage’ behaviour – the use of social media – was so appealing to me. I mean, when I was growing up we didn’t have MSN or email and we got by just fine. I wasn’t a ‘social media’ kid. Or was I? Who didn’t run home from school and ring up their best friend? And whose parents said to them, “I don’t know what you have to talk about. You’ve been at school together all day,”? In fact, my best friend and I used to go home and write long and detailed letters to one another. Sometimes they were pure comedy. We had two characters – Muriel and Gwendolyn – and together we would write satirical parodies in the voices of these fictional creations. Other times we would write what can only be called love letters. Professions of our mutual adoration, with all the teenage angst two ‘romantics’ – in the Keatsian sense – could muster.

When I was a student teacher one of my mentors said to me – “Remember that teenagers are incredibly social animals. Their social life is THE most important thing.” But that can really be extended. Humans are social animals. We crave interaction – pure and simple. And this is the crux of it all. My tweeps are mainly – though not solely – parents. So why do we all seem to be carrying on like teenagers with this crazy tweeting?

We aren’t. But I do think that being a parent and being a teenager have a crucial commonality. They are both times of your life when your social adventures are seriously curtailed by the demands of others. But, as a parent you can’t climb out the window when everyone’s asleep to meet up with your peeps (well you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it). Instead you climb through your monitor and meet with your tweeps. It’s socialising, but not as you know it.

So it’s ok for single twenty-something-year-olds to laugh at us ‘old farts’ on Twitter but, you know, I’m not allowed out most nights to chat, banter and D&M with friends and strangers in cafes and pubs. Ergo, I tweet.

So, that’s my justification. For the minute.

Oh, and also, all such discussions are never complete without reference to addiction. Funnily enough I have never been addicted to anything, and never understood the feeling of addiction. But now I think I do.

In fact, while I was on my holidays and going through a little withdrawal I came up with an analogy:

Social Media and Alcohol

Stumble is beer. It makes you feel like crap.

Facebook is white wine (occasionally it’s French champagne – but not very often)

Blogging is red wine – quality dependent on the vintage. The vintages I like can be seen to the right.

And Twitter – for me at least – is like your favourite cocktail mixed to your own personal specifications. That would make mine a French Martini.




Filed under parenting, twitter, writing

13 responses to “a sunday night ode to twitter

  1. Jaz

    Hahaha! I love this. It’s so true. I was also one of those teenagers that ran home to ring my best friend (who I went to school with all day and also lived only 4 doors up from me!). We also wrote long crazy letters. I miss that. I guess I do replace it with Twitter sometimes!

  2. I think that’s exactly it. With my social life constrained by family, which btw is fine. Really. I adore my family. Twitter lets me get “out and about.” I meet great people, have fun and I can leave whenever I want or need to. Sounds like a perfect social medium to me!

  3. Kylie L

    Funny timing to read this on the day I am about to lose my Twitter virginity (don’t tell Tony Abbott). Even without the pressure to do so from my pushy boyfriend (hugely pro-social media US publisher, that is), you’re making me nervous with talk of addiction and the related link posted (‘Qwitter’)! That said, I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what it’s like too, and I do love your theory- back in the early web days while I was living overseas away from all my usual supports , the regular members of an internet chat room kept me afloat through three heart-rending years of infertility, so I know firsthand the value and intensity of online friendships. And hey, I can always ask you questions, can’t I?! Let the tweeting begin…

  4. By George I think you’ve got it!!

    PS. I haven’t heard of Stumble, I must be a little older than the rest of you ‘teenage set’. lol 😉

  5. Who laughs at u and calls u an old fart! I live chatting with u on Twitter! Thanku! It’s lovely tweeting u! Xxx

  6. Oh fabulous take on twitter… totally agree with you on all points! I tweet because sometimes I NEED to connect with another person who is over the age of 6!
    BTW – found your blog via a re-tweet!

  7. Ami

    Great post, loved it! I was one of those girls that called their best friend of a night! I have no idea what we talked about after being at school together all day! We also had a ‘letter book’ that one would write in, then we’d swap.

    I’m not a mama yet, but I think I’m a bit of an old 26yr old! We’re not out partying and carrying on, so I’m often just sitting at home of an evening with Hubby and checking Twitter! It’s certainly more interesting than most of the shows on TV!

  8. I am newish to twitter and hoping to get into the full swing of it as you make it sound like a parttteee and since I have a little one. I need a pub replacement for now!!! Great blog!

  9. I love Twitter. I love that you can just jump in to a “conversation” and it’s not considered rude. You can watch one from the sidelines – just like being a fly on the wall. And you meet great people.

    Like you. x

  10. Interesting theory 🙂 I have used the internet for socialising for many years since going out was rarely an option, for various reasons. Now I have the chance on Friday nights and no-one to go out with lol. I enjoy blogging, facebooking and twittering all for different reasons. Twitter is more immediate so the analogy of a cocktail is good on many levels 🙂

  11. Hey I am with you. 9-5 job with young family so I use social media sites to network with extended family, friends, network et el. Have met online some great peeps with common interests on Twitter.

    Other non-social media types have wondered why we all spend so much time on social media sites. Often I have heard them say, that people using social media sites ‘Need to get a life’. I reply with ‘This is now my life’.

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