I’m no ingénue, but I am new to it. It’s a strange party. When I first went on there, I was like, “Holy shit!” The place was brimming and humming with activity of every kind, a total over-load of mind circuitry buzzing at me from the 14 inch screen. It was like a wave closing over my head.
It was an editor that led me to it, really. In her acceptance e-mail of a piece I’d written she said, “Are you on Twitter or Facebook?” and I didn’t answer that particular question right away, I went on Twitter and attempted to open an account instead. I typed in my email and up springs this jaunty message telling me there is already an account associated with this email. Turns out I’d already attempted to join Twitter three years ago, but only got so far as following Roger Ebert and Margaret Cho before I gave up and went back to a book, or YouTube videos of talking ravens.
So I go back on and spruce up the profile and all that business that takes way goddamn longer than it should, hemming and hawing over what info to put down so I don’t sound like some idiot and embarrass myself in front of…in front of whom? Roger and Margaret? And I find a picture that doesn’t make me look like a corpse and I start looking for people to follow.
So, back to that wave simile. Who to follow. I put my toes in the Twitter-water, waded in a bit. A couple of hours went by like a flash, my kid tugging my arm asking for food and I’m laughing my ass off at some cartoon of a girl humping a boy who’s trying to shave, marveling at old photos of Miles Davis, Helen Keller, looking at recipes and sites dedicated to ridding the world of plastic, crying at the injustice of the NYPD, cursing at the screen. “Heat some pizza!” I told my kid, and kept right at it for an undisclosed number of bad-mother hours.
I e-mailed with the editor again to send my little bio-thingy, but this time I’m ready for her; she’s like, “Are you on any social media, like Twitter, by chance? Because you could promote your story, and us, and we could promote you!” And I send an email back telling her the deal; that basically, no, I don’t use those–I’m a WordPress girl, but that I’ve found my account, I’m all over it and putting up a pic and crafting a profile.
I also tell her I am a neophyte and have no followers, as well as no clue. She e-mails back right away and tells me, “Great! I know lots of writers and editors, just go to my page and check it out!”
And I do that. I go to her page. I click where she says click….and….presto! I have just what I need–right there in front of me, in clever, witty, bold print, sprinkled with hashtags like happy confetti, all the fucking proof I need that there is not one single reason any sane person would keep writing and submitting and hoping and listening to all that workshop bullshit with all these insanely brilliant writers running around loose out there. Just forget it. I mean it. What was I thinking?
Ok, it wasn’t really like that. The initial shock wore off a bit and I started following those people, actually, and in turn, they followed me back. I went to the champagne fountain of Twitter and stepped right into the flow, I let myself surf in and out and get drunk and drenched on poems and essays, flashes and micros, banter, haikus and humor, and just reveled in it completely for a few days. And man, it was like a binge. It’s a river, roaring by–it could just sweep you right up and carry you away. But like a magic river, because it got me into a head-space where I just want to write all the time now. Maybe I even realize I don’t have a choice! It can have that effect, if you let it–the Twitter thing.