Back to the mundane: Twittering

No, I’m not going to bash Twitter.  The application, like Facebook, is great in and of itself.  But how these apps are used begs the question of mundanity.  See Matt Bai’s essay in today’s New York Times:  “The Chatty Classes.”   Bai poses the irony of how, back in 2004, presidential hopeful Bob Graham’s meticulous (and mundane) daily diary was used to criticize him as “weird”; and yet only a few short years later, that same meticulousness and mundanity is embraced by both celebs and the hoi polli on apps like Twitter.

I’m a daily user of both Twitter and Facebook, and I love how these apps have expanded my world to include like-minded souls that I might otherwise never have “met.”  I find both to be necessary to my growth and exposure as a writer; yet, I use them quite differently.  With Facebook, I’m connected to family and friends, not just writing groups and colleagues, so my expectations of “status updates” are quite different than they are for Twitter.  But I initially joined Facebook as an aunt wanting to be more connected with her nephews and nieces.  I joined Twitter as a writer, with a very different set of expectations.

Bai likens Twittering to the “jabbering [of Tom Hanks on his island] to his battered volleyball so as not to lose touch with his own existence.”  I am perpetually surprised by how many Twitterers feel compelled to note their every move and thought.  I’ve considered “unfollowing” some Twitterers simply because the ratio of mundane vs profound tweets is much too great.  How many tweets about “going out for coffee” or “just woke up” must I slog through before I can find that one good tweet that links me to a good blog or essay or article on writing?  I can’t imagine anyone (not even my friends and family) caring a twit about whether and when I got out of bed; whether I liked my coffee or think it’s a lovely day; whether or not I’m going to shave my legs or try to wax them.

I realize that many if not most Twitterers are communicating with friends and family and so such comments might actually be encouraged and enjoyed.  Then why not have separate Twitter accounts–one personal, one professional–and spare those follow you out of professional interest from having to scroll (seemingly endlessly) through tripe.  It can be done.  It wouldn’t be difficult, and it would be interesting to see how your camp of followers might divide up.

Free Roxana Saberi

My thoughts are taken up with the plight of journalist Roxana Saberi, who has been imprisoned by Iran for “espionage.”  Ms. Saberi was arrested on Jan. 31 and currently is serving a sentence of 8 years.  Recently, she began a hunger strike.  Ms. Saberi’s original trial was behind closed doors, and the charges against her are considered baseless.  Hers is just one example of the danger that journalists face worldwide.  Please visit www.freeroxana.net for more information and to learn how you can join the effort for her release.

No More Amazon

Amazon is playing with the fire … in essence, censoring books that they deemed to be “adult” by removing their rankings.  See Amazon Follies.  Amazon, remember:  You are not too big to fail.

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The Tragedy of Depression

It is difficult not to make conjectures about Nicholas Hughes’s death, given the history of his famous parents.  As they–Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes–were “called” to writing, Nicholas Hughes was called to studying fish, something he did with zeal for at least two decades.  In this NY Times article, we learn that while any child can grow up to be greater than the sum of his parents, he may yet fall victim to the insidious dark weight of depression.  For me, this article is less about the “Plath-Hughes Legacy” than about the tragedy of depression.

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Join the Self-Publishing Hall of Fame

Now here’s website designed to inspire even the most morally depressed (and unpublished) writer:  The Self-Publishing Hall of Fame by John Kremer.  John reminds us that many writers (current and past) who now enjoy publication through traditional publishers had at one time or another self-published.  This is not to say that their road to success necessarily came straight from self-publication, but, at least, if you choose to self-publish, you will be in great company. 

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