Like Riding a Bike, Short Form

How do you learn to do something? The simple answer is that you learn to do something by practicing. Not unlike learning to ride a bike, learning how to use short form social media like Twitter and Facebook took some time. As Twitter has a max character count, it was definitely the hardest to acclimate to. While somebody might be familiar with texting, another short form, tweets are not often not directed at one singular person, and rather trying to explain a feeling or tell a story, which is difficult with 140 characters, when even spaces count as one character. Long form is much easier. It is more natural to us because we have been exposed to it longer. It flows. It can more conversational.

My first foray into the world of Twitter was stressful. I didn’t get it. Actually, I’m not even sure that I have a good understanding of it even now. But at the time, between the @’s and hashtags I was completely lost.

I don’t know how long some of you have had Twitter, but if you’re like me and have been tweeting since 2011, finding your old tweets might be hard. Follow this link to figure out how to sift back through your tweets. Actually pretty eye-opening. So here is some Twitter gold for you, fellow bloggers, a timeless look into my life and first steps into the world of Twitter:

tweetblog

As you can pretty clearly see, there were months between my first two tweets. I only tweeted the very first time to get a free song download from one of my favorite bands. I won’t bore you readers with some of my early Twitter posts that are mostly just @’s towards a few of my friends, but just know that one of my earlier tweets uses the hashtag #pissedintherecyclingbindrunk. Yeah, not exactly proud. However you can also see that I was already starting to find my online identity even with my second post, that being the heavily political side of me, which is actually interesting to think about now that I’m thinking analytically about my social media presence, and just goes to show that our online presence really has been with us all along, but maybe just changes or evolves ever so slightly when we become more comfortable.

The point is, like I said, learning how to use Twitter came over time. Short form writing didn’t just come to me, as I’m sure it didn’t to any of us. Strangely enough, somebody actually decided that learning this type of short form writing was so difficult that it merited a how-to book. 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form 1st Edition is a guide for how to ‘Twitter properly’ I guess. It’s an interesting concept and even if you’re not interested, you should still follow the link and flip through the free preview pages that Amazon provides because it’s kind of funny the way they have it set up with the @’s and things. How a book like this manages to sell, AND somehow get 4.3 stars on Amazon, I’ll never know.

Who are you?

I think it’s healthy to have an existential crisis ever now and then. Not knowing who you are, what you believe in and where you’re going is normal, especially in your early twenties. I feel like I’m asking myself on a daily basis who I am. However hard it is to answer these questions, I find it much easier to get a picture of who someone is based on their social media. Scroll through my Twitter profile for a minute or two. Do you have a clearer picture of who I am? The first thing you’ll notice is the Kerouac quote header. Next you’ll probably notice my colorful vocabulary. I’m not hiding anything, and excuse the language (sorry, Mom). My twitter serves as the best example of the person that I am. In fact, if you spent however long scrolling back through my Twitter profile you would undoubtedly have a better picture of who I am than if you were to sit down and talk with me for a couple of hours.

Who do I want to be online? After thinking about this question for a week I’ve only come to one conclusion; I want to be as honest as possible, and portray myself as realistically as possible, judging by what’s going on in my head at the time. Half the time I’m trying to be funny, because funny things happen to me and I want to share them with others. The other half of the time I’m telling my followers how I’m feeling, whether it’s through depressing, angst-ridden lyrics at 3am, or if I’m really pissed at the crappy Fargo drivers in the middle of the day. You’ll see when I’m feeling sad, or feeling in love, and you’ll see all of the emotions in-between. It would be a crime to call my “Avatar” that has inhabited my online presence anything other than raw and heartfelt, which is fortunate for me, because if I could choose anything in the world to be, it would be raw, honest and heartfelt.

I think immediately of the caterpillar scene in Alice in Wonderland, and when the caterpillar asks Alice who she is, she responds with,

`I–I hardly know, sir, just at present– at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’

Like Alice, we all go through a variety of changes, maybe none physically drastic like the changing of size, but big changes nonetheless. We are all just trying to figure out who we are, when maybe the answer is right in front of us all along.

whoareyou

Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland,. New York: Random House, 1955. Print.
Alice in Wonderland. Dir. Robert Halmi. Hallmark Home Entertainment :, 1999. Film.