Tag Archives: Twitter

I’m Not Afraid of a Colonoscopy (Nor Should You Be)

I couldn’t help using the “Finish This Tweet” meme to my own advantage. What I spent the better part of two days not being afraid of — as best I could — was a colonoscopy. Before you ask, it was routine; the occasion was my 50th birthday, put off until after my 51st but not before my health care coverage ended from my cubicle job I quit two weeks ago.

I owed you an explanation today. I’d like to expand the idea of this post to dealing with fear of the unknown, especially of your insides when you get to a certain age, and why it’s worth fighting through. I’d also love to revisit the whole idea of this fun Twitter game, which was wildly successful for me this time, and benefited only a little from an implied imprimatur from Laura Fitton (see previous post).

The fact is, I’m still a little out of it from the anaesthesia. (Not so much that I couldn’t spell anaesthesia!)


A photo after the break… Continue reading

The Art of Multichannel Web Storytelling

Last week, I witnessed a fun and touching piece of performance art. Its impact didn’t hit me at the time, and it might have had I participated in it more. But since that day, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I had the satisfaction of watching a magic trick which, even though I have a vague idea of the preplanning behind the scene—or especially because I do—I have an even bigger appreciation of its execution.

Early in the morning of Friday, October 17, Laura Fitton, a power-user on Twitter going by the name of Pistachio, read the following short bio of another user, whose name is probably Ben K. Weller:

I write songs, record them and sing them for people. I love music and Bass fishing. Most of all I love my wife Liz and my son Dorian.

This inspired Laura to post the following “tweet”:

@benkweller’s Twitter bio inspired this morning’s “Finish This Tweet” (#FTT) “Most of all I love ______”

Some things you should know before we proceed, if you’re new to Twitter:

  • “#FTT” is a Twitter code Laura also made up on the spot. It starts with a hashmark (#), making it a hashtag, which makes searching more tightly focused. When you put a hashtag code into search.twitter.com, you get only those tweets with the code. (She clarified herself a little in some other tweets.)
  • Laura follows many people via Twitter. But that Friday demonstrated how many people follow her—listening, going to sites she recommends, looking up people she may be conversing with who we ourselves may not yet be following. Yes, I’m among them.

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Addicted to Heroines?

Can a guy have a knight in shining armor? I think I’ve had two.

I sat in the car, waiting for everyone else to show up and unlock the door to the law firm office. On the radio, Colin Powell was making the case for WMDs to a UN committee, pointing to photos that reminded my mind’s eye of the visual displays of Dr. Strangelove. There was a battle of a different kind brewing this morning: I was about to be deposed pursuant to a lawsuit.

When the summons came in the mail a few months prior, it was this bulky stack of double-space type. In my ignorance, I reacted like it was an invoice for a million dollars. I freaked out.

Five years before that, I caused a car accident that supposedly injured the driver of the other car. He didn’t seem injured to me that day.

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There’s an Echo In Here.

One of the drawbacks to getting my political news from Twitter.

I Was a Social Media Debutante — on Twitter

We last left our hero at the front door of any of a number of social media sites, uttering the fist-shaking plea, “If I had friends, I wouldn’t need you, you stupid social media site, now would I?”:

• FaceBook
• MySpace
• LinkedIn
• MyBlogLog
• CoComment
• Spock
• WhyGoSolo
• Seesmic

The invitations to join them are always large and gleefully insistent (often taking up the space in which I would have liked to see a paragraph of what’s so special about this entry into the horse race). I joined all of them effortlessly, except of course when it came to forking over my entire inventory of contacts, some of whom were barely acquaintances, to make them “friends” online. Which would prompt the second pathetic cry: “I’ve joined. Now what?”

Then came Twitter. I had heard raves about Facebook, and MySpace prior to that. But nobody ever said, “Facebook changed my life.” If people feel the warmth of friendship from MySpace (people over 30, that is), I haven’t heard it.

I forget what made me decide to try Twitter, on October 18, 2007. Could have been because five days prior, I turned 50, and was in the middle of a well-worn rut of depression from which I’m still not completely recovered. Clearly I was reaching out. (That’s another post, or perhaps something for the bio.) I can trace through my tweets (the ones I left up, that didn’t disgust me) and see the progression: soon I wrote “Twitteresque” tweets (I felt like such a poser), finally realized how completely useless the public stream is, made suggestions to my first followed (I forget who), discovered my first follower (ditto), learned new things about the platform from off-site tutorials (which have gotten better even in this short time and continue to improve), and only recently got a reply from a call for help—something I thought was a privilege of the “Twitterati” with 1000 followers (in more than the Twitter sense).

I know exactly the breakthrough day when I got Twitter, and in a sense, got social media. It was on February 11, 2008, about 3/4 of the way into my Twitter tenure to date, after which I did about 3/4 of my current tweets. I had read part 3 of Jennifer Laycock’s article (see link above), which was the catalyst. Before this, people had seemed opaque, and I felt invisible. Some of the conversations were one-sided, and I felt imposed upon to “follow a perfect stranger” to get the full point. (No, you just visit that other guy’s page, with the option of following if you feel like it.) But that’s the breakthrough: these people were at one time all perfect strangers to each other (well, no more than average) when they were new. They took tiny leaps of faith in following each interesting someone. In butting in with a suggestion or joke, into a conversation to which they weren’t invited (but you see, you’re always invited, and the only thing stopping you is a sense of propriety, which serves you well in the physical realm but holds you back here). That’s why I couldn’t seem to break the surface tension and make real connections: I was too damn polite!

I wonder if other social media platforms are anything like this. I wonder if I can take what I learned and continue to learn in Twitter, and apply it in, say, Facebook—to which I’m now adding my Twitter friends and acquaintances. Am I doing it backwards? Do I care? Do you?