My most recent goal for reacquainting myself with today’s digital marketing landscape is learning about Twitter. I tried getting on Twitter once before so I could follow my brother at the Sochi Olympics, (writing, not competing). It’s very telling that a) I only followed him, and b) Instead of ever making my first Tweet, I went and wrote about getting on Twitter on my Facebook page.
So, it was with much anxiety and procrastination that I finally signed up for @Dusty_Parachute and two weeks ago finally made my first Tweet.
I quickly proceeded to copy and paste links for all of the blog posts that I had written and sat back with the “If you build it, they will come” mentality, but shockingly, no one came….(Well, some did, but they were mostly interested in selling me 5,000 followers for $24.95 and what appears to be terrorist recruitment).
A week later, I decided to be proactive and put the ‘social’ in social-media. I figured that since I’m doing a blog about life after being a stay at home mom for 10 years, it would make sense to start following the most successful blogging moms. Easy enough, I’ll Google “Top Mom Blogs 2014” and follow the rabbit hole from there.
The first thing I realized was, “Holy shit, I think every mom in the world has a blog, (and some of them even have two!)” The second thing I realized was “Holy shit, I think all of these mom bloggers are all besties who have been partying together for years” and immediately felt like the new girl at the party who keeps wandering around trying to squeeze my way into a bunch of circles of conversation only to look down and realize I’m not wearing any pants. Super awkward, super humbling. I have been fortunate to make it through all levels of school without a socially awkward phase and at age 42 I thought I was safe….guess not.
I proceeded to spend a couple of days going around ‘Following’ people that seem to have interesting blogs, or who have blogs that people that I think are interesting seem to think are interesting (the rabbit hole). By the end of it, I was following about 200 people.
And that’s when the Twitter firehose exploded in my face.
If Facebook is a leisurely brunch with some of your friends and neighbors, Twitter is a weekend in Vegas with a case of tequila and ten hookers. Even with just my 200 follows (many have thousands), I was getting at least a couple of posts a second, most so clever they could have been bumper stickers so I felt this overwhelming need to read them all.
“But if I leave to feed the children, maybe I’ll miss the perfect post that I could have retweeted or commented on that would have made that awesome blogger I follow finally follow me back…..Oh my God, there went 40 more….who’s that guy? I don’t follow him, oh that’s a retweet….why does that lady retweet 100 posts at a time? I should unfollow her….but she’s funny, and oh no, then maybe she’ll find out and tell all the other BFFs that I’m an unfollower and I’ll be stuck at 65 followers forever!”
For two days I walked around like I was in a perpetual adrenaline state similar to the one I get from watching the last 5 minutes of a Breaking Bad episode. I was confused, overwhelmed and constantly thinking how scared I am of Twitter (Twittering?).
Then two things happened.
First, I started to try to just focus on the tweets from people who weren’t just going for the ‘best bumper sticker’ award, but being really authentic and interesting. I reached out to one of them who lives in Austin and she was very kind, gracious and….human….wait, these tweeters are people, just normal people despite their cool, confident tweets? So basically I’ve learned to focus on the genuine and scroll really fast through the rest.
The next thing happened just last night. I saw on Facebook that one of my favorite authors, Hugh Howey, was doing a pre-release of his first kids book. I immediately bought it and wanted to let him know how excited I was, so I posted a reply to his Facebook post along with hundreds of other fans. I also went and made a separate Facebook post telling all of my friends about the book and did the same thing on Twitter. I went on with my day, starting our week long tour of restaurants (like we do when daddy is out of town), and almost did a spit take with my margarita when I checked my phone and saw a Tweet from Hugh Howey himself (okay, my friend insists it’s someone in his PR department, but I choose to believe.)
Sure, it was just an exchange of a few tweets about a graphic novel he wrote, but certainly more interaction than I had had being ‘friends’ with him on Facebook for the past two years. It was cool. I was hooked. My 9 year old daughter got so excited she immediately insisted that I tweet her favorite author, Sharon M. Draper (yes, she actually said the M). I can see how this can get addicting.
I get it now. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. I can still have my Facebook for boring all my friends and family with non-stop updates about my kids’ milestones and injuries. But I’ve also come to appreciate Twitter for being an amazing tool for meeting interesting people (even some famous ones) who share my same interests and who I would never encounter in daily life offline.
So, while I humble myself through my failed attempts to squeeze into the cool kid twitter circles, it’s nice to know I’ve got my Facebook friends to soften the blow with pictures of sweet little faces in pumpkin patches and covered in permanent marker (yes, I literally just went and picked the 2 most recent posts).
By the way, my brilliant husband recently wrote a book all about Twitter and Real Time Marketing. Check it out here:
Fore more information on Hugh Howey’s kids book, Misty The Proud Cloud: