Monday, February 27, 2012

The truth about Twitter...and me

I love Twitter. Though I do maintain an occasional presence on Facebook, checking in on my friends there from time to time, posting the sometime status, and linking to the rare blog update, I find I much prefer the simplicity of Twitter. There I see all of the tweets and updates of those I follow, and in chronological order too, something you don't seem to always get via Facebook. Plus I kind of like the challenge of creating a pithy, 140 character tweet (and I refuse to admit how long such a composition takes me).

I've been thinking about the phenomenon that is Twitter and the accompanying benefits and pitfalls therein. Quick aside: today I had the weirdest experience in which a college "friend" (a fractious friendship at best) shows up in my Twitter feed via a RT ("retweet" for you non-Twitter types). This after over twenty years of zero contact whatsoever! Isn't that weird? Maybe it is a small world after all.

All such weirdness aside, I find that for all our tweets regarding all things mundane and the not-so mundane, Twitter is sometimes, often, only a one dimensional snapshot of a person's true personality. For example, I follow someone whose tweets are for the most part declarations of disdain which is rather depressing really. Another fellow Twitter-er seems to only tweet in criticism, rather sharp and shrill criticism at that. I think either of them would be surprised that that is my general impression though I don't know for sure because, really, I only know them via Twitter! I also follow a blogger whose Tweets are often marked by exclamations of "Woot!" and "Swoon!" and other such enthusiastic verbiage. Is it fair that I think her slightly overexcitable based on her tweets? Probably, though I must admit my own reluctance to indulge in extreme emotion of any sort may color my perception. It's no doubt unfair and unsound for me to draw generalizations about any of my follow-ees based only on their Tweets.

Over three hundred people follow my Tweets and I wonder what they see of me? Last week I filled my feed with basketball scores and exuberant declarations of team pride and school loyalty. Am I always so obnoxious, like in my real world? No. Quite the opposite. What about when all I seem to Tweet is links to my own blog? Do others think, as I sometimes assume about others who only post links, that I only want your blog traffic? Can my followers glimpse the real me via a few sets of 140 characters posted here and there? Does it even matter? Am I over-thinking Twitter and my place in it?

Perhaps. I do tend to over-think and I know it. I understand that Twitter and other social media is, in its essence, one dimensional. You see what I let you see and no matter my intentions to full disclosure and my commitment to honesty and authenticity you will never see the full me, the real me. Not in 140 characters.

So it falls to the Twitter-er to be careful, to think through how one may or may not be perceived, to be both deliberate and discerning in what she posts as well as generous and gracious and slow to judgment toward those whose Tweets she follows.

You can follow @lisa_writes on Twitter (or click the link there on the right sidebar). Should you do so, what I hope you'll find is much the same as you see here on the blog: a wife and mom who is completely ordinary, utterly insufficient, and humbly grateful for the saving mercy and abundant grace of Jesus Christ.

6 comments:

  1. I have to agree with you, Lisa. I'm preferring Twitter more and more myself and simplicity is the word for it. Menopause has my thoughts quite scrambled and I'm simplifying all over the place.

    Truth be told, I'd love to dump FB altogether ;)

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  2. Now here's a piercing question for you...how did you get Disqus comments on your Blogger blog?

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  3. Good! Because I actually don't remember! I'm pretty sure I signed up on Disqus site, got some code and put it somewhere. Does that help? :)

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  4. "You see what I let you see and no matter my intentions to full disclosure and my commitment to honesty and authenticity you will never see the full me, the real me. Not in 140 characters." I agree! I've thought all these things and not really been able to put them into words. I like this post. :)

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  5. I tried to get into Twitter, but it was overwhelming to me so I gave it up. Like Jules, I'd like to dump FB, too...but it's a way to keep up with long-distance friends so I've kept that account open.

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