Writer Kathryn Schulz was prepared to hate Twitter and the other social networks her agent assured her she must use to promote her book, Being Wrong. But in the end, she fell in love with the “bird.” Being limited to 140 characters per entry, Twitter forced her to sharpen her word skills. What’s more, her contacts with other writers grew until she discovered she’d built a “dream community” for herself. (“Seduced by Twitter,” by Kathryn Schulz, published by New York Media and excerpted in The Week, 12/13 pg. 41.)
So why wasn’t she happy? She explained: “Eighty percent of the battle of writing involves keeping yourself in [a] cave: waiting out the loneliness and opacity and emptiness and frustration and bad sentences and dead ends and despair until the damn thing resolves into words.” Twitter, to the contrary, was like gaming. The action was on-going, 24/7. What’s more, the company was welcoming, a friendlier place than the writer’s cave. (Ibid pg 41.) Before long, she was spending more time social networking than composing.
Having finished Schulz’s lament, I marveled at how different our Twitter experiences have been. I’ve subscribed to the site for 4 years where, as it does on Facebook, my blog appears daily. But while my friends on Facebook comment on my posts, my Twitter followers are so silent, I feel as if I’m communicating in a foreign tongue. Mostly, my contacts use my site to promote their books or announce a reading they’re giving. Their work done, they disappear like nomads, leaving me hollowed by their absence.
I’m not complaining. My experience has an upside. I doubt I could maintain two active networking sites. If Twitter has a siren’s song, I’m fortunate it does not sing to me.
(Courtesy of bird-extremadua.blogspot.com)