I realized today what I like so much about Twitter. Economy.
I’m really freakin busy, people. I do a lot and I want to do a lot more than I am already doing so I like Twitter because it uses words, well, sparingly. I get a lot of return on a little investment.
With 140 characters at my disposal to convey something on which I could easily write pages I find myself challenged, more than daunted.
I know that some may be inclined to call it laziness and perhaps for some people it IS laziness, surface swimming, vapid but for me it’s the challenge and the reward of capturing this small moment in time. I love the brevity of Tweets. Maybe it’s because I’m all about the snappy comeback. Show me the pithy. I like it.
Then again sometimes I just like the surprise I get by someone’s unexpected statement. I follow a character online who calls himself @CaptainJamesKirk. A few nights ago, after many days with no word from the dear captain he offers up this bit, “I may or may not be wearing *ssless chaps right now.” I’m sorry to offend my more delicate readers, truly, but for whatever reason, that took me apart for about 5 minutes. It wasn’t just that phrase, it was the the absence of communication before that, the silence before and then the sudden pronouncement and then, silence again. He’s the crazy uncle in the other room shouting out rude things every once in a while during dinner.
In “following” someone I follow not just what they say but what they do not say. On the other side of the mountain from Captain Kirk sometimes the people I follow get into a rut of the quotidian, “I’m doing the dishes,” “I’m driving to work” and then “I am tired” and “I wish I was at home.” This may be boring to you but to me it’s anything but boring. I can see the progression of their lives. I feel the heavy, I feel the sad but then again I’m highly tuned to sad, I suppose. Following the quotidian on Twitter is voyeuristic, perhaps, but I’m a writer…I’m fairly sure it’s part of my job to observe and report. If I’m a very good writer, though, I don’t merely observe and report, I also intuit and interpret and in my case, draw metaphor.
My friend Steve Lawson gave me the best advice when I began to tweet. Be interesting. That’s a lot of pressure, frankly. I would put it a little more encouragingly to future Twitter users….know that you are interesting and speak your life. This 140 characters is your stage, the audience is unimportant for now, speak your life with proper boundaries of course, yes, but with authenticity. Be authentic and you will be interesting. You will see the progression of your life as more than 140 characters at a time. You may begin to know the sum of you and that’s pretty cool.