Like a Bird on a Wire (or a wooden bench)

Bird on Wooden Bench - Stanford Campus, CA

My unquenchable desire to spread my social media platform beyond the confines of the known universe had me turning to Twitter this week. I have always thought that Twitter was the exclusive purview of people with fancy little cell phones who had mastered the art of typing on tiny keyboards. I put this comment up somewhere on a discussion and a few people told me that they Tweet from a laptop or home computer. I decided to give it a try. Like most things out in the social media world – getting signed up was no problem.

Things happen fast, fast, fast in the Twitter world. I managed to follow a few news sites almost immediately. Found a great Indie authors site that offered this bloggers connect up thing. That meant I had to add a Twitter follow to my blog. I managed that. I started connecting with people in the World Literary Café. I’m not sure what I did there, but people started following me back to my blog. Good, so far!

For the most part I was just watching the Tweets mount up on the screen without having much of a clue what they meant. They looked like strings of gibbeley-goop. But then it all started to make sense. Like when you watch the loading bay at a large factory – everything seems like random activity. Trucks are coming and going, forklifts all over the place and people buzzing around. Then all of a sudden, a pattern emerges. It all falls into place – fascinating!

I started following George Stroumboulopoulos around – I’ve been a fan for a while. Bruce and I had a chance to see a live taping of his previous show – The Hour – at George’s studio in the CBC building in Toronto. That was back in 2008. George was amazing – full of energy, humour and generosity. He stayed for at least an hour after the show was wrapped up – just interacting with the audience and answering questions. There is something a bit incredible about seeing George tweet that he is in the Ottawa airport and being able to reply within a few seconds – I feel sorry for all the time you spend in airports, George. Pseudo-intimacy for sure – George and I are not buddies. But he is fun to follow around.

Last night I actually figured out what a hashtag is and from there I tapped into a trend. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages – tears were streaming down my face as I read through tweets that were arriving in groups of 40 or 50 at a time – #ImSoSickOf – I had no idea that Twitter could be so much fun. This was my favorite – I’m so sick of how ten years ago we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash – now we have no jobs, no hope, and no cash. I jumped on that one right away and was the 76th person to re-tweet it.

I think I’m starting to get a handle on the social media world. What I’ve learned so far leads me to think the following:

  • Facebook – for interaction with friends (real friends – the kind of friends you would want to show pictures of your grandkids to or share your home renovation projects with – OK, let’s just leave aside for a moment the issue of whether friends are ever interested in your home renos.)
  • Facebook Fan Page – people can like me or follow what I’m up to without me having to accept them as a friend who can see pictures of my grandkids and home renovation projects – sounds good – fans, not friends.
  • My Blog – the place I get to share who I am with whoever wants to read (and hopefully someday be able to say – here’s my book, guys!)
  • Pinterest – a place to see and share beautiful images, mostly with strangers (also a place to link up blog posts – especially if they contain great pictures.)
  • LinkedIn – the place for professional networking, establishing credibility in terms of education and past work experience (also a great place to link up blog posts and connect with people from times in my life gone by.)
  • Twitter – fast connections with total strangers about anything and everything (a lot of people are using Twitter for crass and in-your-face promotion – I figured that out quickly. Glad to say, that’s not my style and most of it is easily ignored.)

I guess in closing, I would say – don’t be afraid of social media platforms. Don’t write off opportunities to connect with others before you even give them a whirl or a tweet for that matter. I am not a techie or a computer whiz woman. I’m just a regular computer user and I am able to maneuver my way around. Maybe I’m like the person who buys a pricey microwave oven with all the bells and whistles and only ever uses it to heat up coffee – but still, I am using it! You can, too. Give it a try. Then we can tweet together, like a couple of birds on a wire (or even a wooden bench, but you can be the drunk in the midnight choir. I’ve never been a great singer.) Sounds like fun – right?


A Weekend Comes and Goes

It’s been a busy weekend around here! Getting Bruce all set-up with his own photography blog – Through the Luminary Lens  For those of you who don’t know, Bruce is my husband and the guy who has taken almost all of the great photos I feature on this blog. Hopefully now that he is out on his own he won’t get greedy and deny me access to his work.

We’re trying not to be each other’s sock-puppets   but it’s just way too much fun to like and follow each other to resist the opportunity.

Yesterday, I taught myself how to create a new page for the blog – blog roll. Today I decided to create yet another page, entitled – Published Work of Old. I thought I would post up some of the articles that I have authored and co-authored for peer-reviewed journals. These seem like they were written by someone else, in another life – but no folks – it was me.

From my perch at the end of the kitchen table, working on this and that, I watched Bruce install some really spiffy trim boards around our new kitchen window as well as along the cedar ceiling where we had installed some gorgeous lighting that left a few wires sticking out like sore thumbs. Our kitchen renovation proceeds in fits and starts – but at least this way I am able to relish each and every upgrade.

Started out Sunday chatting on the phone with four-year-old granddaughter, Emma – she told me she had pizza for supper the day before and I said – guess what? We had pizza last night, too. I actually heard her gasp in disbelief. And when I told her I was going to have pizza for lunch today as well – I could practically see her little jaw drop. She was on her way to a play gym to meet her BFF Marcus for a morning of climbing and sliding and generally running their little feet off.

I spent more time than I wanted to this morning investigating LinkedIn and creating a profile for myself. The whole platform is still more than a bit confusing to me, but I joined a group called Geezer Writers – a forum for writers over 50 who are starting out on a writing journey at this later stage of life. Right on!

I rounded out the afternoon by having a wonderful talk on the phone with my son, who lives in Ottawa. He is on a two-year, fully paid sabbatical from work to go back to school. The joy of all things related to having any opportunity to learn something new bounced through our conversation. Good stuff, education.

So, a weekend comes and goes. Two steps forward on some fronts and one step back on others – but it’s all good as Dylan says.

(For some strange reason, I’ve been thinking about this picture I took down in Arizona a few years ago. Something about the look of the sky and the way the tree is outlined against it – not sure how it relates to this weekend coming and going – but it was on my mind.)