Monday, June 29, 2009

Two Days Left and Counting (Totally Counting!)

Photo by SemiCharmed Life, Santa Barbara Mission

Monday:  June 29, 2009
Number of outgoing tweets: 49
Followers: 60
Following: 24
Successful exchanges with Robin: >5
Number of Violets in evidence: 14 known

One of my mother's favorite admonitions to me as a child was "If all your friends lined up and jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?" Depending on how old I was, the answer varied. 

Pre-school:  "Really, Mom? Yay! ! I love to jump!
Early middle grade: "They won't make me jump, will they, Mom?"  
Junior High: "NooooooooOOOOO!! Gah!"  
High school:  "Oh, yeah, I'm totally jumping We'll be 'on pot' when we do it, too!"

With just two days left in the Shrinking Violet Twitter Experiment, I've been thinking about how this month has affected me, what I've learned, and whether or not I will stay on.  

This past weekend, I was tweeting by proxy, sending out late-breaking race results  for my partner's cycling team while they compete at Nationals.  I found this use of the media made tons of sense, was efficient, and quickly accessible by others.  I would absolutely use Twitter to do this again, or some other similar function where I needed to get info out widely and fast.

I had very little success gathering any group momentum by asking people "What are you doing to make the world a cooler place?" Though, clearly, it might take more than a week to launch that particular revolution.  :-) I think I got two responses, but I did appreciate the personal accountability it lent me.  I picked up trash, smiled at fierce-looking people, sang and hummed a lot, and asked a homeless person to do me a favor. And I tipped my hair stylist BIG.  It made for a great week, and I will endeavor to keep that daily intention up.  I'm good doing that on my own. 

I don't know that it would be scientifically valid for me to blame Twitter for the profound existential agitation I am currently feeling, but I am ready to de-Twittify and get off the juice! This is not to say the experience has not been enjoyable.  I am a writer, and insatiably curious about others.  Sarah Silverman had me head-banging with laughter, Rachel Maddow packs a powerfully good punch, I learned a lot about editor Cheryl Klein's favorite NY haunts, and John Green never fails to stir me in some way or the other.  (And I learned that if Suze Orman ever wants to have tea with me, I will need to be sedated.)  I absolutely enjoyed the small sips of life from the non-celebrities I followed as well.  

And after nearly thirty days of Twitter (and in fairness I must confess, 2muchFB), I am feeling like Sally Field's Sybil character with the multiple personalities.  There are just way too many people and lives in my head!   Time to find a soft broom and gently sweep them all out.  It's odd-- I can fill my harddrive with scores of fictional characters from books, movies and television. They make my life feel rich.  Perhaps because I know they aren't real, it is easier for me to dismiss them at the end of the day.

I have found that when I go to my computer lately, there are way too many alluring gateways between me and my writing.  A hundred dalliances and distractions.  I have gotten too far adrift from the work of writing.  For now, for me, less is way, way more.

That said, I love Twitter-- just not for me on any kind of regular basis.  I am so glad to have had this experience!  Thanks, Robin, for being such a good sport and joining me.  Once again, the buddy system is the best.  And I have the best buddy.

As writers we are observers. We are consumers. We are communicators.  Even as introverts, I don't think we ever want to shut ourselves off from the experiences of the world.  Not if we want to write about it, at least.  And, I don't want to write only about introverts.

So in answer to my mother's question-- If all your friends lined up and jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?

Me at this age: "Is Robin on the bridge?  Will there be snacks?  Define 'jumping', exactly. Is it bridge over water, or like over a freeway? Can I get back to you on this, Mom?"

Twitter and promotion? For this author, the time and energy investment required to manifest that using social media is beyond my interest and capacity.  My juice is going into the work.   

So, dear Violets and Vinnies, you'll find me on Twitter for two more days.  I'll be making my final tweet tomorrow night.  It's certain to be a good one.  Don't miss it. 

Thanks for coming along with us on this journey!
Mary Hershey


PJ Hoover said...

I love this roundup! I've been having this Twitter anxiety and really haven't wanted to jump in big time.

Beth said...

I just can't make that jump to Twitter. I look at Twitter and it seems so disorganized to me. I only recently joined Facebook!

Anonymous said...

Me at this age: "Is Robin on the bridge? Will there be snacks? Define 'jumping', exactly. Is it bridge over water, or like over a freeway? Can I get back to you on this, Mom?" -- Ahaha! :)

I'm still hanging out on twitter now and then, but I've no concern about getting addicted to it, that's for sure!

tanita davis said...

Can you eat the snacks on the way down? Is there a bungee cord?

Dude, we've got to find a knitting pattern for that... full-body turtleneck thing. It looks about just right.

Anonymous said...

Okay, just to give you a smile, Mary, here's Tommy Smothers' answer to your mom's question: (You'll have to go just about all the way thru!)

I'm proud of you. I'm pretty sucked in and am staying, mostly because I've met a few people I don't want to lose and because I'm interested in the pub talk between/with agents & editors. But I do TONS of skimming & know just what you mean about the chaos and the too many people all over the place!

This writing thing is about choices. Good for you for making one. :)

Deborah K. White said...

I wrote this post based on watching your "Twitter experiment," so I hope you don't mind me posting a link here.

How to Have Fun On Twitter

Sabrina said...

I applaud you, Mary. I haven't been able to get on to Twitter yet--I'm doing my best to balance blogger a semi-private LJ and FB, as it is. I don't like feeling as if I've missed out on something on a friend's blog when I get onto the computer after a day or two absence (from editing on a hard copy, no laptop at all hose days), but Twitter is a little too immediate to me. I can see how someone might shy away from it completely, or get completely sucked in.

Kimberly Lynn said...

That last photo is priceless, Mary. Grin.

The very thought of Twitter completely exhausts me. I admire you and Robin for making a go of it, though.