Thursday, February 20, 2020

Enlarging the Platform: Joining Twitter

For years, I resisted having anything to do with Twitter.  It seemed like an extra burden, in these days when we have so many social media distractions.  I wasn't sure that I was even capable of tweeting--posting something when I only have 140 characters?  No way--I'm a long-form blogger.

At least, that's what I told myself for years.  But then I started noticing that most of my Facebook posts aren't really that long.

Still, I resisted, especially as I heard tales of how mean the Twitter world can be.  And I wasn't sure I could keep up with one more platform, even though I understand how important those platforms can be.  Every so often, a thought nudged its way in:  at the very least, I could put the same posts that I put on Facebook over on a Twitter platform.

Yesterday I read this article that advised academics how to begin writing for a more popular audience, and there was a link to this 2016 article about why we should be on Twitter.  This experience has become more and more common during the last few months:  over and over I've been stumbling across articles that talk about how writers really do need to be on Twitter.

Long ago, when Twitter first bust onto the scene, it did seem to be a platform built for people who are always on their phones, and I have a bit of worry about the fact that I don't have a smart phone.  And yet, I'm never very far from other kinds of computers, my laptop at home, and my desk top at work.

Yesterday I went over to Twitter, as I have several times--but this time, I actually started an account.  I decided that a Facebook post from earlier in the week would make a good first post: "In the concrete wasteland of the parking platform, some people watch apocalyptic videos about cryptocurrency or the new corona virus. I quietly water the butterfly garden."

I changed my handle/user name.  At first it was AbbottBerkey, so I tried to change it to Kristin Berkey-Abbott--too long.  I changed it to Berkey-Abbott--no hyphens allowed, which seems like a design flaw to me.  So at first I went with BerkeyAbbott, and then made one more change to KBerkeyAbbott.

I confess that once I successfully navigated all of this, I felt this glow, akin to writing a blog post that makes me happy or creating something out of shreds of something else.

I'm still not sure how often to tweet, and in the end, that decision will probably be made for me.  Most days, I don't have time to tweet throughout the day--and most days, I'm not sure I have enough tweet-worthy material to tweet throughout the day.

Maybe one of the benefits to an additional platform is that my brain will be on the lookout for postable bits.  Maybe it will be like writing a poem a day, that magical time when my brain feels ablaze with inspiration, not the time when my brain feels burdened/exhausted.

For me, the trick is always to manage these social media opportunities.  I have wasted far too much time, scrolling, scrolling, looking for something to read.  I could have read whole books or submitted poetry or put together another book that languishes in the files of my computer--and any of these activities would feed my brain more than scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

So, we shall see.  If you want to find me on Twitter, I'm using @KBerkeyAbbott as my user name (or is it a handle?).

No comments: