Shauna Mac invited me to join Facebook three years ago. Subway Steve friended me the day I signed up, noting that I had finally succumbed to Facebook’s evils. At the time I didn’t understand what he meant. Shortly thereafter I shut my new Facebook page down.
Newsweek’s Steve Tuttle just did the same because, he said: “In the end, Facebook is really the emptiest, loneliest place on the whole World Wide Web”, but my leaving had less to do with it’s inherent evils and more to do with my state of mind at the time.
In 2006 I had painted myself into a very public corner and Facebook just became the digital last straw. The release of my own, non-digital, book - a paper and ink version of my blog musings - had nudged my personal life out into the public world in a way that became surprisingly uncomfortable for me. During one of my first book promotion interviews, an Alberta newspaper writer asked me;
“What is it about blogs, that makes you think that we want to read your innermost thoughts from your personal diary?”
Despite my references to him in a subsequent blog post as “Asshat” and “Dickface”, his question added to my discomfort. What is it, indeed?
(I like to believe that “it” is my innate need for a creative outlet and the subsequent opportunity to interact with those that support that creativity. As they say, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.)
In February of last year I wrote here about the “exciting but often overwhelming concentration of attention on me and my personal life that has only just lately died down” - an assertion which, in retrospect, was at least a year premature. Regardless, it seems to have died down enough, at this point, that I no longer feel so burdened by the weight of that attention.
So much so, in fact, that I’ve signed up for Twitter …
As you can see I’ve added a real-time feed from my new Twitter account to the sidebar of ramcguire.com. Technically speaking, those are “tweets” - the 140-character-maximum posts that I send to my “followers”. I can create the tweets on my phone or on my computer and they can be “followed” in the same way. My followers follow me and I, in turn, follow my followers. Twitter is a huge phenomenon. It’s free, easy to set up and use and, because of the size limitation, kinda fun. And maintaining Twitter is somehow much less onerous a task than traditional blogging or Facebook maintenance.
It may be foolish of me to make this commitment to a new social network, but I’ve decided that I’m unwilling to opt-out of the ongoing transmogrification of the internet and our interaction with it. I love the bleeding edge of technology - I owned a Radio Shack Model 100, the first portable computer and I wrestled html for the pre-amazon, pre-ebay internet in 1996. Far from bleeding edge, Twitter is already taken for granted by the bulk of the net’s denizens. How hard can it be?
I proceed on the belief that Twitter will be stimulating, useful, and, most of all, fun for me. I’ll shut it down if it fails to live up to that promise.
A good friend passed away last week and an email alerted me to a Facebook group created to commemorate him. Unable to log on without membership I tried my 2006 Facebook log-in and it worked. There was Shauna & Steve (now with photos of his new baby boy) and my other seven “friends”, waiting where I had left them. It turns out I can send my Twitter tweets to Facebook where they will appear as status updates.
I would now like to shamelessly request that you follow me on Twitter.
Thanks in advance for doing so!