|Image from here|
Perhaps it boils down to the fact I’m still not sure how to use this medium to its best advantage. Or perhaps it is possible to be too shy even in the realm of social media!
I first aired my hesitations about it at the 2011 Aussie Blogger Conference. In front of the crowd I stood and asked the expert panel if there was any sort of online etiquette when it came to Twitter. It just felt so foreign, so fast paced, so brutally open and well, at times, downright rude. Intruding on other people’s conversations felt completely impolite and so for a long time I basically lurked, willing only to interact with those who’d first interacted previously with me (schoolyard revisited, anyone?)
Even now, with a year of practice under my belt, logging into the Twitterverse can be like walking into a room where everyone already knows each other and you are but a lone wallflower, looking for a way in. You spurt out a few short, sharp sentences, and hope to God that someone decides to throw a conversation lifeline your way. Otherwise you are basically left looking like the loony who is holding a not so riveting conversation for one.
Or you feel like one giant eavesdropper, willing to listen in on the conversations whizzing by you, but unwilling to participate. And that feels equally as ill-mannered!
But, I have experienced the blessings of Twitter too – without it I’d not have won the Sealy Sleeping on the Job competition, or got to make a dream come true and meet the divine Deb Webber. Best of all, it can also help you connect when you might just need it most (even if from a veritable stranger!). Sometimes just putting a little plea out there into the big black hole of cyber space can reap rewards. Suddenly you are not the only one who has a feral anti sleeping child, who refuses without hesitation to clean his goddamn teeth... Or the times, when you are home alone, and it’s too late to phone anyone, and you just feel the need for a bit of social interaction. Twitter is an insomniac’s paradise!
The fact it brings the rich and famous into a much more accessible hemisphere is also a plus. I do enjoy being nosy and having such celebrity interaction at my fingertips. Being retweeted by the good people at Oprah ranks right up there with one of my highlights of 2011 (don’t judge – she is my Everest of celebrity crushes!).
Or it can bring down the big guns who were once upon a time untouchable (yes, Vile Kyle, that means you) and keep businesses accountable for their slips in customer service towards your husband (hi Virgin Mobile!)
What it comes down to is the realisation Twitter is a necessary evil of sorts. If you blog, there is a self-imposed pressure to maintain a presence. To best spread the word, build your brand, engage, interact, you need to use the blue bird. Some Masters of The Twitterverse make it look effortless, but I struggle to sound witty in 140 characters or less. And I do loathe the random rudeness I’ve seen unleashed (not to mention the mundane). On the flip side, there are some genuinely awesome tweeters whom I love to engage with (hi Jenn!) and closing the gap between we mere mortals and the celebs of the world is a kinda cool thing to see played out.
For now, as long as I blog, I will tweet. So if you have any tips to make twittering an altogether more manageable pursuit, or your go to guide for online etiquette, feel free to espouse them here! I am all ears and eager to embrace the power of the big blue bird.