My Year on Twitter

That was my first tweet. I had been a twitter lurker on and off for a long time, but never posted anything. I was learning the joke formats, the lingo, and the social dynamics. It’s my nature. When I decide to learn a new programming language (I know at least 40), I sit down with the comprehensive book and read it cover to cover. Since there is no manual for twitter, I had to just lurk for a long time, before I thought I had it figured out.

I had posted that joke as a Facebook status, and it was very popular among my “friends” there, so I figured I’d let it loose on the twitter. It got a star, maybe two, and I was on my way.

That was one year ago, and I was thinking it would be fun to do a commemorative tweet of all the twitter-related things that have happened in my life since then. And then I realized that was going to take a lot more than 140 letters to express. So here we are.

I made friends

I’m putting this one first, because it’s the most important. I have made a lot of friends on twitter. This is extremely unusual for me. I do very well in social situations. I can be witty and attentive and engaging. And I’ve always had a collection of people with whom I associate. But I’ve rarely, if ever, had friends the way most people use that word. Confidants. People you can tell secrets to. People you trust and love, but with whom you aren’t having sex. I can count the number of pre-twitter relationships I’ve had like that on zero hands. Because it’s not something I’ve done.

But I have had two extremely deep, rich friendships like that with people I met on twitter, and dozens of other friendships that are not so intense but still so much more than I typically experience in real life. People who I’m inclined to contact just to say, “how are you doing?” and actually care what they have to say in response. I love dozens more people now than I did a year ago, and that’s probably the most significant change in my life. But I’ve also done some interesting things, so I want to mention those, too.

I wrote

Obviously, I wrote a lot of tweets. I’ve written about 22,000 words (not counting common words like “the” or “like”) on twitter in the last year. And I’m not really that prolific. The numbers for some of the people I follow must be staggering.

I wrote an open letter called Why We Tweet that has been viewed over 600 times. And judging from the responses I’ve gotten, and the retweets and shares and reblogs, I think it really touched a lot of people. Ironically, I also think it failed. Judging from the very small sample of one person I know who doesn’t “get” twitter, and who read that letter, I failed to move her. She still doesn’t “get” twitter, and still thinks it very odd that I spend so much time chatting with strangers. Sigh.

When I wrote that, I considered just tweeting a picture of it, but it was too damn long. So I set up a blog to host it. And since I had a blog, I figured I might as well also become a blogger. And so here we are.

I started by using the blog to explain some of my more obscure tweets, and then branched out to writing some of my memoirs, and eventually decided to also write about and share the music I create. I’ve been trying to keep a pace of three postings a week, and so far so good, but I have my doubts I’ll be able to do that ad infinitum. Time will tell.

I stopped looking at porn

I used to love porn. I mean, it has boobs, right? But moving ones. And moaning and stuff. But tweeting, and the friendships, and the chatting, and the writing, and all of that, seems to be the methadone for my porn addiction. I simply have no interest whatsoever in looking at porn any more. It’s really weird, actually. I’ve been looking at porn for 30 years. I looked at porn when I was dating a radical feminist who would have killed me if she found out I was looking at porn. And now, boom, no interest. Very strange, indeed.

I created

As my tweets were piling up in the twitter, I noticed that people almost never went back and looked at my old tweets. They would look at my new ones, and they would look at my popular ones on favstar, but they wouldn’t look at old, overlooked tweets. And I thought that was a shame, and I got an idea of how I might fix that.

I figured I could make a site where I tag each of my tweets. Kind of like a hashtag, but less annoying. I’d make it easy for someone to read my “family” tweets or my “women” tweets or whatever. And as I was thinking this through, I decided it would be just as easy to make it a site where anyone could do that. And was born.

And since then, about 20 people have decided to also use it to tag their tweets.

Twenty people doesn’t sound like a lot, but going through your tweet history and tagging is actually quite a lot of work. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun. But it’s not for the lazy, and so I know that will never be a commercial success like favstar.  But that’s fine. I didn’t do it as an economic project. I did it as a public art project.

Since launching it, I’ve gotten great feedback from the people using it (I like to call them “curators”), and I’ve added some neat features. For example, I index all your tweets so you can see just how often you use the work “fuck,” and you can easily find that tweet you vaguely remember writing by just typing one word that was in it.

It’s how I know I wrote 22,000 words since I started.

I fell more and more in love with my wife

I can see how this relates to twitter, but it requires a bit of connect-the-dots. And explaining it would probably require telling you much more about my marriage than my wife would want me to share. So I’ll just say that I’m a much more happily married man now than I was a year ago, and I love my wife so much I cannot even express it in words. Even when I am with her, I ache for her.

And so,

I am inclined to say that this was a very, very good year. I am a much happier, and introspective, and appreciated person than I was a year ago. I’ve read tweets where people say that their twitter addiction ruined their life, or wrecked their marriage, or made them fat, or some other awful thing. And I just don’t get it. Developing a twitter addiction has been one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s really quite wonderful. And to all my followers and all those I follow, I have a simple message:

Thank you.


7 thoughts on “My Year on Twitter

  1. You are a rare breed, indeed! I am no prude by any means, but when I first started Twitter I was shocked at all the porn and the fact that “dick pics” are a thing and that men want to send them to me sometimes. The anonymousness also turned me off. I will say, it takes a while to find people truly worth following because they keep things real. You my friend, I’m proud to say, are one of them.

  2. I stumbled across this via one of your other explanations and have to say we all come to this weird collective consciousness from different places, but it all seems to end up with someone mentioning dick pic or troll. I like that you found friends here. I would say I’ve found some interesting people as well. And some harsh nutjobs who think that just because it’s insulting, it’s humor. It’s definitely evolved for me as I did not start in the ‘format’ realm (but went a little more random, as I am known to do). I am however proud to say that my first ever tweet was: On a bender

    • It seems that the female experience on twitter is very, very different than the male experience. (As, I suppose, it is in absolutely everything else in this strange sexist world.) I’ve never been verbally or visually assaulted on twitter, whereas pretty much every woman I know there has been from time to time. (Particularly as their accounts get big.) It’s unfortunate. I blame bad parenting 🙂

      Great first tweet!

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