Slowly venturing into world of Twitter

This column first appeared in the Joplin Globe on July, 19, 2012

I continue to evolve as a member of the 21st century.

A few years ago I managed to grasp the concept of texting, and then, last year, joined the world of Facebook. I don’t do much texting and I don’t really understand the world of Facebook, but at least I have dipped my toes into the waters of both.

In the past few weeks, I have slowly ventured into to the world of Twitter and have even begun to tweet (If tweet is, in fact, the correct word) on my own. To be honest, I had no interest in tweeting until the folks here at the Globe told me I had to learn how. Tweeting, at the Globe, is much like compulsory military service except we don’t have to wear uniforms.

It was explained to me that Twitter would be a great way for me to connect with the readers of our paper.

“But what if the readers of the paper don’t want me to connect with them?” I asked.

I was told that if the readers of the paper didn’t want to connect with me they didn’t have to. I was told that the world of Twitter is pretty much voluntary. In order for me to connect with someone on Twitter, I was told, someone would have to have agreed to “follow” me. The goal, it was explained to me, is to accumulate as many “followers” on Twitter as possible. It’s sort of like accumulating hotels in Monopoly.

Kelsey Ryan was the person at the Globe assigned to teach me how to tweet. Kelsey is a young person and, as such, was born with a computer keyboard in one hand and a smartphone in the other hand. In five minutes, Kelsey was able to teach me all about Twitter. Then, after those five minutes, Kelsey had to spend an hour explaining what she had taught me.

I was not a quick study.

Eventually, I was able to figure out the basics of Twitter and discovered that I sort of like it. First of all, because you are limited to 140 characters in Twitter, it’s easy to do. As a columnist, I am required to write a certain amount of copy each day. With Twitter, I don’t have to write as much copy. The way I figure it, I’m getting paid the same amount of money when I tweet as when I write columns but am having to do way less work.

I like that.

Despite the fact that Twitter is less work than writing a column, I still haven’t tweeted (Is that the right word?) much. As of Thursday afternoon, I had only sent six tweets. Here is a what I said in my first tweet: “Going to the Webb City Farmers Market. Who wants pie?”

When I typed that tweet, Kelsey looked at me as if I had burped at her wedding. “You really want to say that?” she asked.

Kelsey hurt my feelings.

Carol Stark, my editor, said I should use Twitter to let our readers know what I’m working on, which might be difficult since I seldom know what I’m working on. For example, as I type this I have no idea what I’m doing.

From what I can tell, millions of people use Twitter every day to tell other people what they are working on. Some people use Twitter to tell people that they aren’t working on anything. Some people use Twitter whenever a random thought pops into their heads. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, but sometimes that’s a good thing.

I “follow” Steve Martin on Twitter, and this tweet from Steve just popped up on my screen.

“My M.D. has asked me to stop calling him a ‘durn polecat’.”

I think that’s funny.

So now I tweet, and tomorrow I … well, I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow.

I should probably tweet about that.