It's the birthday of Twitter today.
You should be on Twitter, Mark told me. He told me this at least two years ago, and I only just got around to getting on Twitter. Or joining Twitter. Or whatever it is that you do when you become involved with Twitter. So now I'm on Twitter, and I receive a steady steam of tweets about things I'm interested religion, politics, food. A torrent, actually, not a stream -- hundreds a day.
I don't tweet much myself. I'm not sure of what to say. "Made oatmeal raisin cookies for Q! Loved 'em!" Or maybe "Avoiding writing again today. Grrrr....."
I thought of using the first lines of the eMos, but I don't think that will
work. Their first lines don't always make a lot of sense:
"Awash in self-pity, I watch the train pull away...."
"In my inbox, a photograph of a Fisher's Lovebird."
No. I'm still not getting it.
So I have a question: If you're not Sarah Palin or not managing an imminent revolution, what is Twitter for, exactly? How will the eMos, for instance, benefit from my being on Twitter? The Church? People's spiritual journeys? Can Twitter help me reach more people? I'm sure it can, but how? The things I have to say are all more than 144 characters long and anyway, how will anyone find me in the Twitter torrent? In short, what am I supposed to do with it?
These things take me a while. I feel about Twitter the way I recall feeling
about email, back in the day-- everyone was emailing everyone else, and I found the whole project utterly mysterious. They were attaching documents and sending them out into the ether, confident that they would reach the right recipient, and I had no idea how to do this, or why anyone would want to. It's easy, people would tell me, and I remember wanting to cry. It was not easy for me. I wouldn't mind if the world passed me by, I used to say, if it would just leave me alone. But that's not the way it works. Technology doesn't leave us alone. We have to dance with it.
But we do have some input into what that dance will be like. Once I grasped what email could be, that it didn't have to be cold and distancing, that it could connect people with a new intimacy, I ran with it. Today, people sometimes introduce me as an "early adopter" of electronic media in the Episcopal Church. This is to laugh --I could barely press "send, " and still must be walked patiently through anything that varies in the slightest from what I always do. Still, the eMos have been a good thing to do with email, useful to many. They have created community. I'm sure Twitter will be the same.
But when? And how? Please, if you know what I should be doing with Twitter, write back and tell me what it is. And don't forget to tell me how to do whatever it is, if you know. I'm sure it's obvious to you, but remember that I am not you, and assume nothing.