Frank Mitchell

Six years later, I finally get Twitter

I got on Twitter a year after it started. This was 2007, back when it was just status updates, a way to keep track of post college friends, before “tweeting” became a household verb.

Fast forward three years. I hadn’t done much tweeting of my own, but Twitter become a knowledge supliment in my colletion of RSS feeds, a way to stay in touch with yoga friends, and a marketing bullet point for my iPhone game.

At the end of 2010, I moved out east, and the tweets dried up. Part of it was the chaos of four months of house hopping, part of it was the crunch of shipping the backend platform for a console video game, but most of it was the lack of shiny.

By 2012, social media had become an established thing. Not seeing a “Follow us on Twiiter” button at the end of a blog post was abnormal. Having a Twitter account became the base line for corporate marketing. And the social pressure to “like”, “follow”, “fork”, “friend”, and “share” was enormous.

Meanwhile, my yoga practice kept spiraling inward, pushing me to make deeper connections to myself rather than the digial world around me. It wasn’t until I read a line by Joanna Wiebe that something clicked.

“In the meantime, here’s a quick ‘n’ easy tweet for your followers…”

Yes, there’s marketing there. Links to Joanna’s stuff are good for her business. But there’s also something deeper. See the characters “for you” in that quote? It’s about giving. She’s saying, “Here’s how you can share this with the people who are interested in you.”

“Follow us on Twiiter”, “Like us on Facebook”. Social media is dominated by the repeative message of “me”. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be about giving, about you, about the selfless act of creation. A simple, “Hey, I know you love rice pudding, and I found this recipe that uses leftover rice. You might like it” is all it takes.