Monday 14 May 2012

Tweeting with a Tortoise

People sometimes ask me why I "waste time" on Twitter. I wonder if those same people have ever "wasted time" chatting with a neighbour over the garden fence. Humans are social animals [most of us anyway!] and Twitter is the perfect tool to satisfy that sociability. As @RosalindAdam I can chat with anybody, anywhere at any time of day or night - bliss! These people might be writers, friends, locals, or someone living on the other side of the world. They might even not be people.

Take yesterday... I found myself leaning against the virtual fence passing the time with a tortoise. Now I have to admit that this was an accident. I didn’t at first realise that she was a tortoise but I started to have my suspicions and so I clicked on her profile and sure enough, there she was @LuLubelleTlocation The Garden.
My conversations are not always as frivolous. There are so many fascinating people out there that I couldn't possibly list them all but I've picked out a few to show you what I mean:

Late Night Advice:
During the A to Z challenge I often tweeted late at night with Anne at @cassam101 We ran similar nostalgia posts and towards the end we were starting to wilt.
      “Help! Can't think of nostalgic smell for Y? Mind gone blank!!” I tweeted at her one night.
      She tweeted straight back with "How about Yardley's Talc. My mum always used it."
     “You’re a star!" I tweeted. “I can go to sleep now.” 
We tweeted each other a quick "good night" and I turned off my phone. How else would I have got that support at almost midnight while sitting up in bed sipping my hot chocolate? Thanks Anne.

Coffee mornings:
If I've been bashing the computer keys all morning and it's about 11 am I know that on Twitter this is #elevensestime. I can share coffee, cake [the virtual kind so no calories!] and a quick catch up with Paul at @cyteen02 and all the other #elevensestime folk.

UK Contacts:
Not so long ago I was tweeting with @mariaAsmith, a local writer who I also know in 'real' life, about trying to find more UK writers on Twitter so we can exchange information about writing opportunities, competitions, conferences etc. We devised the #ukwriters hashtag and, thanks mainly to @mariaAsmith 's hard work it's now going strong.

Making friends:
It's not all about work. I've found out a bit of what it's like to be an expat living in Lanzarote from @paulinembarclay. I not only get regular weather reports from her [especially when it's steaming hot there and freezing cold here] but also lots of hairy licks [the virtual, non-doggy-breath variety!] from her lovely dogs.  

Mutual support:
I've celebrated people's publishing successes with them as well as providing a listening ear when they have concerns and problems and they've done the same for me. 

Friends at my fingertips:
I've caught up with old friends and got to know new ones without out-staying my welcome, running up phone bills or travelling to far-off lands.

So don't knock Twitter. It's one of the many positive outcomes to emerge from this new technological world of ours. Oh yes, there is one more positive use apparently...

Keeping tabs on me:
My daughter tells me that she only has to check my twitter account to find out what I've been up to each day! Hmmm! Must bear that in mind before I tweet in future!