Because I do not always play well with others, I have both loved and loathed social media in extremes. At its best, Facebook felt like being in a shared living room. I recall watching the streaming 2008 inauguration – from Glasgow – with friends in both Ireland and America, and how that experience made my heart ache with a baffled love of country I don’t remember experiencing prior to then. At its worst, Facebook was like sharing a house with bad roommates who drank loudly, screamed a lot, ignored me, and occasionally threw buckets of blood, Carrie-style, on the walls… I also remember abruptly and tragically finding out from a stray comment someone made that back in America, my Uncle P. had succumbed to his cancer. That was the day I quit Facebook. Years later, my agent made a lot of noises about me absolutely needing to have an online presence, and a year ago, I grudgingly joined Twitter… and found out that it wasn’t so bad, if I took a month off every other month or so. It’s still like sharing a room with a lot of other more gregarious people, but using Tweetdeck, it’s more spread out and less overwhelming for some reason. Additionally, I can mute by word or by person, and I can also just look at pictures of weird sea slugs and rate dogs, if I need to take a breather.
Today, I haven’t been able to bear being online much, but it’s been an odd sort of comfort to check in briefly, and experience my other friends getting absolutely NOTHING done, worrying, rage-eating Halloween candy, kvetching, kibitzing, and kvelling. (Question: why are all the best words Yiddish, and why do they all start with K? Talk amongst yourselves.)
No matter what happens tomorrow, the quips and tweets will carry on. Even though I can’t hack being with them too often, it warms me a bit to know that my tribe is out there.