Friday, June 29, 2012

twitter haze

There is a fine line between social networking
and wasting your fucking life.
--Andy Borowitz

Where Have I been?

On Twitter. 


I signed up in January—but I didn’t “get it.”  My account languished with 2 tweets and four followers (husband, sister, friend, weird stranger). 

Then a little over a month ago, I figured it out.   

Now my life is divided into the sweet years before I turned 45, and the tweet years after. 

Holiday, weekend, middle of the night, it doesn’t matter.  Someone, (it feels like everyone) is always on, tweeting about the latest events.

“Don’t these people have lives?” I wonder as I stare, mesmerized into the soft glow of the screen.  The words “10 new Tweets” reflect eerily in my dilated pupils.  With their thousands (yes thousands) of followers and tens of thousands of tweets, these twificionados make me feel inadequate—like I’ve been dilly dallying.    

I tell myself I’ve got to start dinner, but then I think: “it’s just 5 new Tweets.  It’ll only take a sec to check them.  Maybe there’s something good?  Oh, there’s a new article in Nature about climate.  Better check that out.”  And I’m off.  By the time I get back from Nature, there are “45 new Tweets.”  If I dare to get up to use the bathroom, another 30.  And dinner? If I have the gall to embark on that lengthy distraction:  hundreds.  And I’m small potatoes—in a big way. 

After years of admonishing my kids about the threat of screen-induced “jelly brain,” suddenly I am the culprit.  I am the jelly-brain.   

How can that be?

Obsessed with what’s new, whose following, who replied, who retweeted, I find myself caught up in a world of twitter inspired subterfuge: sneaking to my computer before breakfast or pretending to check email when I’m really connecting with these new cyber friends who I’ve never met but who share my obsession.   

My kids are on to me.  They see me on the computer and accuse:  “You’re on Twitter again!” 

“No I’m not!” I object, closing my laptop with an indignant snap.  “I’m just shutting down!”

When Steve heads off to bed at around 11pm he asks, “You coming?” 

“Yeah.  In one minute,” I respond.  He nods knowingly.

The house falls silent, and like a teenager who sneaks out the window when her parents fall asleep, I log on. My home screen comes up, the glow comes over me, and I swear, angels start singing. 

Hours later, I slip furtively into bed, hoping not to wake Steve.   Inevitably, he stirs and asks with incredulity, “what time is it?!” 

“Um.  I don’t know.  One?  Two?” 

“Your kidding!” as he rises to check the clock, I cave. 


Oh, the shame. 

“What?! What were you doing?!”

“Twitter,”  I admit in my tiniest voice, covering my face with the pillow.

“You’re crazy!” he admonishes.  “You’re going to be so tired in the morning!”

“I know, I know.  But I can’t stop!”  

What a shock to get sucked in so quickly.  I always thought I understood the lure of the Xbox, the Wii, the iTouch—the things that capture the minds of our children and entice them away from books, free play, and the outdoors.

It had just never happened to me.

I know I will get over my twypnosis.  In fact, I’m already growing a bit weary of it.   But it makes me think about the kids and this great dilemma of their generation.  If I can be made to feel almost helpless in the grip of a cyber-info-maelstrom, how do they feel?  And how can I best support them in the face of it? 

I don’t have a silver-bullet answer for this, but I do know that confessing my brief Twitter obsession will be part of the plan.  They can laugh (and learn) if I suffer Twitter jitters during my recovery.

In the meantime, should I tell you to follow me @smallhousedeb?  Don’t.  I wouldn’t want to make a twombie out of you!  


  1. "All hail twypnosis..." said the Twombie (me). Great post!

    1. thanks! so glad to know i'm not alone! do you have a link on your blog? i will look. in the interest of "quitting" i will follow you! :)

    2. I tweeted you, how apropos, about nominating you for a Liebster Blog Award. More details are at

  2. I knew there was a reason to look at blogs tonight. I am so about to get on the twitter and follow you. I started to tweet when my state started to go to h e double hockey sticks. It was the only way to maintain my sanity. And it still is when big political things are going on. My twitter account is out of control (followers and followees that came from who knows where.) Twitter is the place to be when the shit hits the fan. FASTEST. WAY. TO. FIND. SHIT. OUT. I was twypnotized when Osama Bin Laden was killed, also. See you in the Twitophere!!!!

  3. P.S. I swear kinda a lot on Twitter. It is where I release my hatred of political BS. I think it lowers my blood pressure to tweet it off. Hope we can still be bloggie buddies and maybe even twitter buds!

    1. i agree twitter is so great for the news. i hate to say it, but i hardly need the newspaper anymore! (or don't have time being a twombie and all). and go ahead and swear away. i try not to swear on this blog for audience purposes, but that doesn't mean i don't swear. :)

  4. Lol, I have twitter and I use it, but I'm fairly ambivalent about it. My problem is the internet forum I administer, blogging and facebook. If I was a twitaholic too, I'd be sunk!

    1. yes thalassa, i can tell just from looking at your website that you are a very busy person!! i sub out the facebook for twitter. i prefer to badger strangers with my opinion! :)

  5. I have to admit that I'm a bit overwhelmed by Twitter. I do really love it for news sources and tips on good articles, but I also feel like I'm walking into a cocktail party where everyone is already engaged in conversations and I am jumping into someone's conversation uninvited. I know that the blogosphere depends on Twitter though so I'm trying to get the hang of it.

    1. Hey Christie,
      that's a great description - a cocktail party already in progress. it seems like everyone already knows each other! but i have to say i have found that everyone i've "met" (not that it's that many) has been really welcoming and just eager to share ideas. still, learning to limit myself!