I like birds. Love them, in fact! We currently own an adorable blue budgie named… Blueberry. The imagination well ran dry when we got to him. I enjoy feeding him, allowing him to take selfies with my phone, letting him out for some ‘flight time’ in the living room, sitting him on my shoulder, and even cleaning up after him.
What can get annoying, if only for his sheer persistence, is when the little guy decides to tweet up a storm. Typically, it’s because another bird whizzed by a nearby window. Or, because one of our phones dinged/ringed/buzzed, and he loves that. Once he gets started though, he just gets so addicted to tweeting and it’s almost like he’s doing it for no reason after a while. When it becomes too much, or if I’m on a conference call at home, I (carefully) move his cage into our lit pantry until he settles.
So, Twitter. What drew me to this other blue (sometimes white with blue background) bird? Well, several reasons;
- To find a wider audience for my stories and this blog. WordPress Reader is nice but not as interactive.
- To separate my hobby (creative writing) with my personal life. The few times I let these two worlds mesh on Facebook and Instagram, it was met with either silence or confusion.
- Similarly to the point above, it’s been difficult lately to meet with my usual writing group in person so I wanted to connect with more fellow writers virtually.
I joined May 2019, stumbling my way around the app to get my profile half-decent, and set out into the Twitterverse. This was a different world than I was used to but the culture began revealing itself to me bits at a time. Below, are some of the odd ways that Twitter operates which outsiders would find odd.
Content – Twitter’s bread and butter are tweets, which are public messages that can be 280 characters long. I’ve come to learn that attention spans still hover somewhere around half of the allowance for these tweets, any that I’ve ever had significant “likes” or comments on are only a sentence or two. When you put something out there, an opinion or announcement, and it garners no reaction at all, it can feel super shitty. Like nobody is listening at all. Still, I’m amazed how hilarious, or even insightful, some people can be with such restrictions on posts and sometimes the oddest things just go viral. Retweeting (with or without a comment) is common as well, which I do for any content I enjoy or admire.
Followers/Following – When you are starting at 0 for these two items in your profile, you feel like a guppy in an ocean. You look around and see whale-like accounts in the 100k range for followers and think to yourself how that would ever be possible. Well, 12 months later, I do happen to have over 6k but some methods are more rewarding than others. A new account does garner some attention, especially when introducing yourself to a larger topic or group. As well, there’s events like “Follow Trains” where users of similar interests, hobbies, or professions ban together and jump onto a thread to follow everyone else involved. Those helped expedite the process, even though your not necessarily vetting those that your adding. Since then, many people who I found this way have been super nice and engaging so I am glad I did it, though I’ve definitely cut back.
Communities – The majority of my time spent on Twitter revolves around the massive Writing Community, usually found by the tag #writingcommunity. I do engage with other topics like cars and movies but not to the same extent. It’s hundreds of thousands deep with writers of all types and from all around the world. Within are many subgroups dedicated to certain styles, regions, or interests but generally its just a big melting pot of people who enjoy stringing together words. The conversations can be really engaging with this group but it does suffer from everyone having something to show at all times. Stories, whether big or small, indie or traditional, YA or Adult, are thrown all over the place at every user. It is always fun for me to read stories from other users and litmags but I can get discouraged sometimes at how any of mine will ever see the light of day with so much content out there. And yet, people still do! Writers are readers too, after all.
There’s been times over the past year that I considered stepping away for a while or stopping because of its addictive qualities. Recently, however, I feel like I’ve got to a better place where it isn’t a competition or race, and I can just enjoy more of the content. If there was advice to give from my own learning, it would be that as there’s too many other users who are clearly not having a good time. Just enjoy it for the user-based platform that it is, don’t let it represent your worth in life. If you can do that, it’ll be much more enjoyable!
Will I last a second year on the platform? Time will tell but I’m confident I’ll hang in there! Even if it’s a little tougher managing two blue birds, rather than just one.
Keep turning the page,