Are you Twittering? It seems like that’s what all the cool kids are doing – and talking about – these days. Then again, we already know I’m not cool, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m not on Twitter either.
Twitter makes me even more anxious than Facebook does, for reasons that are similar but not entirely the same. I have a Facebook page; I accepted an invite from a non-blogging friend a few months ago. But I’m rarely over there. I could see pretty quickly that it has enormous time-suckage potential. Of course, that potential can also be spun in much more positive terms as “social-networking opportunities,” and there’s the appeal. However, it’s a blocked site at work – which is probably for the best – and since work is where I spend the bulk of my daylight hours, time on Facebook would mean time I’m not spending with my family and/or various offline life activities including real-life socializing and reading. There are still only 24 hours in a day, and since large blocks of them are already dedicated to my job, commuting to and from said job (blech), and sleeping (mandatory!), that doesn’t leave a huge discretionary time budget. I’m choosing to spend the online portion of that time budget on blogging (writing, reading, and commenting), and that’s my social networking.
I understand that Twitter is intended for short communications and not for composing long-winded blog posts like the ones I put up here. I get the sense that where it eats up time isn’t so much in posting your own updates, it’s “following” everyone else’s, and that brings up the same issues for me that Facebook does (although it doesn’t seem to be blocked at work – yet). I understand that you can Twitter without a computer – it works by phone as long as you have text messaging – but there’s still the time consideration. And if you don’t spend the time on it, are you missing out on a lot?
For the most part, my contacts seem to be divided pretty neatly between online and offline (although there’s a bit of overlap in my LinkedIn connections); I haven’t yet met any of the online friends offline (but I do know that quite a few are Twittering already), and most of the offline folks don’t seem to be drawn to doing much online. I know that a few are involved in online communities like Facebook and MySpace; some of them do read my blog (thanks, y’all!), but I don’t know if they read any others, and they aren’t blogging themselves. I’m afraid that mentioning “Twittering” would just get me a blank stare in response. And then there’s the whole “following” concept. I get that it’s basically the same idea as subscribing to your favorite blog feeds, but having “followers” sounds a little like a virtual entourage to me. Besides, you may recall that I’m a little apprehensive about the whole “networking” thing in the first place…and what if I signed up for Twitter and no one wanted to follow me? That would just make me sad.
But I’m starting to wonder if I’m missing out on something here, and I’d like someone to enlighten me. I know that ultimately this is one of those questions I have to answer for myself, but humor me here, please. If you’re on Twitter, make a case that I really need to be there too, and that it won’t take over my life. And then you’ll need to convince my husband, who already worries that I may be spending just a little too much time in online communication modes and not quite enough on my offline relationships. I don’t want him to be right about that, and I really don’t need another time-consuming hobby eating away at my days, just as I’ve made a lot of progress at managing the time I’m spending with blog-related activity (really, I have! I swear! OK, maybe “some” progress is more accurate than “a lot.” Anyway, moving on…).