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February 22, 2010

I abandoned one lover for another–I’ve left Facebook in the dust and have found myself sucked into the vortex that is Twitter.

Do you Facebook or Twitter? One or the other? Neither? Well, here’s my sordid story.
About one year ago, I had read and heard friends and the media discussing Facebook–“check out their Facebook page” was at the end of every article I read in Entertainment Weekly, TIME, People about authors, musicians, celebs, whomever–and of course, the Obama campaign surely thrust social media into the spotlight for all of us. Because I wasn’t on Facebook, I really had NO IDEA what a “wall” meant or what going on to their page would do for me. I also knew that, being the information and pop culture junkie that I am, I had probably innately avoided this type of social media for a reason: once I got on, I would probably never got off.
I also knew that, while I wasn’t in actuality avoiding people I had gone to school with or old boyfriends, I figured if I put myself out there, or ON there, people would find me, which could become uncomfortable and/or awkward. Did I really want to put myself in that situation?
So, throwing caution to the, er, desk, I signed up. Free and painless, I had myself a profile within minutes. Setting my profile to Everyone (mistake, BTW), I soon had lots of people contacting me from my high school days, which has been quite the laugh. So far, only one squirrel-nut has tried to Friend me–a bizarro chick I grew up with that I, as the leader of my very own Wall kingdom, can decide whether to friend or not. I’m going with a definitive NOT. Family and friends, other moms, and friends of friends are now part of my group of “Friends,” as are past colleagues from my soul-sucking pharma rep days.
If you have followed my blog or know me, then you’ll know that my former boyfriend contacted me last July. We had not spoken in twenty years. I felt decidedly mixed initially, as he and I were very much in love when we were together, yet our relationship was fraught with such a high degree of emotional difficulties that I finally just ended it one night. I never saw him after that fateful night, and we never spoke live again. I entered into a Facebook dialogue with him, and he was quite humble and sweet with me. We “spoke” on FB frequently and I enjoyed it very much. You can look up earlier blog posts for details but point is, he killed himself this past October. FB for me took on a very different appeal after that.
So that’s when I turned to Twitter. I found I couldn’t go on to FB without feeling a sense of loss, like I was waiting for him to come on to “chat” with me, knowing, logically that he was gone of course, but emotionally that didn’t matter. I started slowly with Twitter, just “listening” to conversations, finding who seemed interesting to me. I find that Twitter is a way to interact with amazingly smart, funny people that I would have never met or even heard of on FB.
I tend to focus on writers because that’s where my interest is. You follow them, maybe (or maybe not) they follow you back. Plus the information is so incredibly immediate, as we all found out by the shocking pics that came out of Iran. You can easily block someone if they send u a tweet you don’t want to get. I tend not to follow celebs; most of them write with ALL CAPS AND LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! and inane things like “I had a GREAT coffee!!! I just woke up!!! I mean, really? Who gives a shit? So there is that stupid element but as a smart tweeter you just avoid that. You can be very selective and find what works for you.
I can also write a blog post, examiner article, or blogcritics review and post links to them there using tiny.url. That turns those big, long urls into tiny short ones–very handy. Try it. I also just took part in a virtual “book club” last night with Dani Shapiro, where she discussed her new book “Devotion.” Twitter is truly an amazing technology that can bring us together in so many unique ways.
So why am I on Twitter and why am I writing now? Well, I took up creative writing at a very young age, for pleasure, for school, and on into college. I’ve kept journals throughout my life; I even found the one from when Duke and I were together way back when. He told me to burn it. But I’m so glad I still have it, especially in light of what happened. My writing seemed to take on a life of its own after his death; I write long into the night after my little family has gone to bed. Short stories and poems of loss, love, betrayal, and yes, of death. Although he and I parted ways many years ago and I have been married now for almost eighteen years, writing has given me permission to grieve.
Being “around” other writers on Twitter helps me be motivated, to learn from them, make contacts, and interact with some truly amazingly talented people on a personal level. Where else could I ask Dani Shapiro or Susan Orlean a question and have them answer me back? I can still be sarcastic “RachelintheOC” and yet I can learn and grow. I laugh sometimes when people say no one reads anymore because we are always on our computers–but mostly we are on Twitter, reading!
I know I am.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, I’m @RachelintheOC.

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One Comment
  1. Love it. agree, minus the tragic ex-boyfriend situation, I too have mostly left fb for this absolutely wonderful group (you included) of amazing smart folks on Twitter. Why anyone would send you hate mail for this post (?) is absolutely beyond me, unless they are complete jerks (let's say they are!). Didn't know you had a blog – as we've only just “met” but I will be following!

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