The other day, in rushing, as I usually am, to get out of my apartment on time, I left my phone at home. I realized this, rifling through my bag looking for it, while waiting in line to get onto the bus. I could almost see in my head that it was still sitting on the kitchen table. Immediately, I felt feelings of panic and frustration, as if I could hear a voice telling me: “Turn around. You must go back for it. So what if you end up being late for work?” I suppose it was my rational thinking that kicked in a few seconds later and pushed me along, up the stairs and into a seat, and reminded me that I would be fine without it for a day. And I was. I survived, checking email from work and waiting until getting home to check my text messages. What I really missed though, was Twitter, because as mine is not the kind of office where it’s just ok to be tweeting all day long, I kept my distance; didn’t log on once. That night, when I finally did, I actually tweeted a note to Twitter, about how I had missed it. The sentiment was heartfelt. I laugh thinking about this because only three months earlier, I could not have cared less about this little blue bird.
It was one evening in early spring while I was at the hair salon getting highlights, when it all changed. I had picked up a copy of Vogue so to pass the time while the chemical color penetrated my roots, and leafing through it, came across an article on ‘The Women of Twitter.’ I knew of the website of course, but in all honesty, I was more interested in reading about these two executive gals waving from the top of the ladder, than anything else (because I’m a proponent of the thought that girls can do anything boys can do and I love seeing this being a reality). By the time I was finished reading the article, though cheering for the gals of course, all I could think about was the fact that as soon as I got home that night, I would need to start tweeting.
So I did. I signed in (with my user name – @galinthecitynyc – that I’d created months before but never put to use) and got to work, finding people to follow, searching for topics of interest, and of course, tweeting. Now, months later, though I’m still sort of getting me feet wet, I finally at least get the whole Twitter thing. For those of you who don’t, hear this—as author Jennifer Weiner said: “Twitter’s like being at the biggest, best cocktail party in the world.”
Exactly. And my advice to everyone is this: If you’re not at the party, get yourself there now. (Everyone is invited!) In our crazy, fast-paced world where we are bombarded daily by so much information coming at us from so many different sources, I am always wondering how I’m supposed to keep up. The short answer? Twitter. Twitter is a constantly evolving collection of snippets of information from people all across the world, talking about absolutely anything and everything, every minute of the day in real time. It’s a collectively created synopsis of what’s happening, in the world, or in someone’s own little world. It’s news, design, thought, food, music, fashion, culture, etc., etc., etc…it’s the best of what this guy found or the best of what that girl saw, that each of them wanted to pass along for someone else to discover, and then in turn, pass along again for still others to discover. It’s that cocktail party, with all sorts of people present, some you know, thousands as many that you don’t, each in a conversation about something. You hear this, you want to listen. You hear that, you need to hear more. You hear something else, you’re not interested… and so you move on to the next. It’s a platform, for anyone who wants, to say what they want. It’s a room where you speak up, whenever you like, and it’s pretty much guaranteed someone will hear you. Someone might even like what you’re saying and continue the chat. It’s that—interacting with people you otherwise would never even know about and who would never know about you.
Chris Bennett from 97th Floor explained it really well in his blog post here about Twitter bring the most important website since Google. He said: “Anything I need to know about something that is happening right now or has happened in the last 12 hours I use Twitter search for.” And he talked about the power of tweeting. “If you are a stay at home mom, CNN, Ashton Kutcher, Jimmy Fallon, small business owner, or the President of the United States you can use Twitter to better your objectives no matter what they may be.” That was three years ago. I wonder what he’d say about it today.
It’s funny how fast something can become an addiction. I can’t say that Twitter has suddenly become my life, because I simply don’t have time for that. But, like my morning coffee, I feel like a day without it, somehow just isn’t right. It was three months ago, that I really got it. Before that, I just didn’t really care to be part of it. Or, more accurately, I didn’t really know. I didn’t know that this little bird really had the power to change my life; particularly, and most importantly right now, my life as a writer. Thank God for my dishwater-blonde hair that needed highlights that day, and that article in Vogue. How long would I be sitting here not tweeting if I hadn’t read it? I don’t even want to think about it. Instead I want to think of this little blue bird and all that it represents and where it might take me some day. Only time will tell. In the meantime…