Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's all just twitterrific

Yesterday I created a Twitter account. I posted the non-event on Facebook, acknowledged that I wasn't sure I needed to do that, and admitted curiousity.

A friend quickly responded, "You're an early adopter."

Hahahaha! I blurted out loud laughing when I read that. That's the furthest thing from the truth, I know.

Heck, Twitter's been around since 2006 and it took me more than five years, almost six, to join the flock. I'm not saying I didn't take a look back then, and again here and there. But I just had no interest whatsoever. It all seemed so frenetic and pointless, like birds with ADHD.

And besides, I've always been a leader of sorts, and "following" seemed to go against my nature.

What can I say? I experienced the same initial apathy for Facebook. For years, I thought of it only as a time-suck. Little did I know then it would be so much fun.

FB launched in 2004 and was opened to everyone over age 13 with a valid email address in 2006. I didn't create a profile until 2009, when coincidentally traffic grew more steadily as it was obviously going mainstream. Hey, that's a five-year lag for me again, so is this a trend?

I dunno. But really, before you think I just crawled out from under a rock, I have to tell you I'm behind on such things at home in my personal space only.

At work, I'm ahead of the curve. I push the envelope. Anything new, anywhere we've never been before, I'm there. I thrive on managing technology projects, working with teams developing exciting new web solutions, and creating processes for things we've never done before. In my work day, I'm a fearless crusader for innovation and all things techy. The thrill of it certainly energizes me.

So why didn't I build a virtual wall on Facebook earlier than I did? Well, a few reasons come to mind.

First, after being online for much of the work day, investing boatloads of creative energy there, the last thing that appealed to me was to spend my night on the computer some more.

And second, my high school- and college-aged children were there for the Facebook launch and I certainly didn't want to be the helicopter parent hovering over them, watching everything they said and commenting on every move they made.

That decision was for their sake and my own sanity. I let them have their space, and MySpace, too. I guided them and trusted they would do their best with the foundation I gave them, choosing to do my parenting offline. And it proved to be the right decision for me and we made it through those years relatively unscathed.

When I did eventually create a profile, I waited for each of my children to ask to be my friend, for it to be their own idea. I knew I had a right to claim my own stake in the landscape, but still didn't want to be seen as an invader of their territory.

I'll admit it was nice when they each sent the coveted friend request right up front. Cool. My kids don't feel they need to ignore me. To this day, for me, it's still important to respect their adult space and never post on their wall stuff that could make them regret their decision.

Well, I did use my son's childhood nickname in a post once as a joke. That was quickly removed. Understood. Funny how the girls don't mind when I use their "lovey-dove" baby names. It must be a boy-girl thing.

Oh, well, parents and kids on the web together have come a long way. Many years ago, I liked what I heard at a web user experience conference. One of the speakers depicted our children as the pioneers of the web and us, the parents, as the immigrants. Our kids were the natives, naturally forging new territory online and we, their parents, were struggling to acclimate and learn a new language.

But I have to say that with time that analogy is no longer so accurate. It's the exception, not the rule, for parents not to be active on social networks. The immigrants have settled in now and learned the language, no longer handicapped as the newcomers on the new frontier. And interesting to think that our children's children will never know what it's like to not have had a smartphone or communicate in virtual networks.

But back to today where here I am on Twitter now. I may be late to the game relative to my fellow techy friends, but I'm surely the pioneer in our family. My kids aren't there yet tweeting and don't seem to have any short- or long-term plans to be.

Twitter. It's a brave new world for me. So different from Facebook. Will I learn to like it as much as I initially thought I wouldn't like being part of a social network?

I imagine there's a lot of bird crap out there, but maybe some smarty carrier pigeons, too, with the chance of not-to-be missed messages here and there. So I'll check out the landscape and see what I find. I like the thrill of a new challenge, something to learn and conquer. Hey, even if it's only good for a few laughs, then I'm game. (Or should I say fowl?)

Yes, I'm not sure if I'll really get into Twitter, but I recognize that it's another forum to broaden the reach of my blog, so I thought why not try it out? If anything, I should be afraid I'll like tweeting. And then it will be another fun place to be, a thing to do, to keep me from such routine requirements of everyday existence, like folding piles of laundry and sorting and shredding junk snail mail that I never asked for and do not want. Who knows? The experience may just be twitterrific.

So follow me @ThereseBrooks if you're flying through the neighborhood.

Until next time, yours in fun and tweeting...Therese

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