My column this week (for the Kingsville Reporter which will become relevant as you read this):
This morning I just acquired my 100th Twitter follower! What does that mean? I am not sure but I remember that Sheldon from the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” was excited when he hit three digits—thus so am I. I have a bobble head of Sheldon sitting on the shelf just above my head and for the moment he is my muse. My youngest son, Tyler, has some reservations about the program, but since my taste is not as sophisticated as his, and laugh tracks don’t bother me, I remain a fan of the geniuses even if, as Tyler points out, sometimes the humour is a little clichéd.
Back to Twitter. On occasion I tweet, but mostly I love to read the 140 character words of wisdom of those I follow. I follow both Nelson and Steve from the Reporter, and a lot of other news sources, authors, political commentators, and even our Prime Minister—and surprisingly I find that a few minutes spent on Twitter keeps me totally up to date on what is happening in my community and the world.
For a long time, Twitter baffled me. As did Facebook. I now use both of them as tools—Facebook keeps me caught up on the happenings within my far flung family and friends (I have reconnected with old roommates and friends from university), and Twitter keeps me caught up on the world beyond my nose.
I must admit though, if it were not for my kids, I would not have made the rise to either—for a long time I stayed off Facebook as if it were a phenomenon beyond my reach, and Twitter because I did not see the need for it. I guess there is no real need for either one of them, but now that I have been bitten by the bug—I enjoy both.
Several years ago, I joined the blog world and have a blog on WordPress along with about 76 million other people. I felt oh-so-up-to-date when I joined. Now, it is part of my everyday world, and has expanded my friendships to include people as far away as Australia and as close as Milton, Ontario. But I have come to the world of Facebook and Twitter much more recently.
My Writers’ Group (made up of some fascinating and worldly women) are mostly sceptical of Twitter at this point and not quite as enthusiastic about it as I am. And I understand—140 characters does not give you a lot of room to express yourself—but once you get the hang of it—it is interesting to see how much you can find out in just a few words. Kind of the haiku kingdom of an alternative world.
Twitter calls itself an “information network” and as such provides little snapshots of bigger things, and many times includes a link so you can find out more about a subject if it catches your interest. When I first joined the “Twitter” world I wrote some cryptic or wise guy (or in my case, wise gal) little entries—but now I treat it more seriously.
Yesterday was International Women’s Day. There were a number of tweets respectfully pointing out women who deserved to be pointed out. My argument with International Women’s Day is that there is still a need for such a day. I was brought up in a household where equality was never a question—years later my father told me that he had not been brought up that way, but that he had come to be enlightened in a large part due to my mother, and his two daughters. To me, equality should not be an issue, though I am smart enough to know that it is. Back in the early 1970’s I was referred to as a “women’s libber”—a mantle I proudly took on—but I was confused too. I never once thought of myself as inferior to the male species. Not once. Ever.
So my tweet, in 140 characters or less about International Women’s Day is this: “May the day come when we no longer need a day to celebrate women but to celebrate all people instead.” My fervent wish is that a speech by Oscar award winner Patricia Arquette about women being paid equally becomes a thing of the past, and that all people be treated equally. I am not criticizing her or Meryl Streep for standing up and applauding her speech. But it is a pity that in 2015 declarations such as this still have to be made.
Now before I fall off my soapbox, I will get back to the topic at hand: Twitter—how did some of us live before you showed your tweet face?