I'm a full on Twitter addict. I love it. And I love it in ways I've never loved a social network. Not Facebook, not MySpace, not even the thrill of newness that was Friendster.
But it's not a love that came easily. In fact, I signed up for a Twitter account in the spring of 2007 after reading about how it caught on among festivalgoers at South by Southwest, but got confused and abandoned it for a year and a half. It was only in late 2008, when the site really started gaining momentum and getting love from the media, that I got back on the horse and started tweeting.
And I'm not even sure why I did, because it seemed like my words were just going out into the great chasm of the Internet. Hell, they were. I had maybe five followers at that point, none of which were actively logging into the site. But I just kept tweeting on, and tweeting about stuff that I liked, stuff that pleased me. Anything from music I was listening to, to curious sights I came across in day to day life, to rants, to notes from my travels, and a lot of other stuff in between. And along the way, I started following people who were doing things that interested me. Writers, mostly. Reporters I followed for my career in public relations, music bloggers, novelists, cultural observers, and Twitter celebrities.
Very few of these people followed me back, but I didn't care. I just kept logging on because I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed reading their daily observations and making my own in relative anonymity. (Very few of my connections on Twitter are people I actually know, and I kind of prefer it that way. Facebook is tiresome because no one really says anything that interesting - they're all afraid of offending their 'friends.' But I digress.)
I also enjoyed following and unfollowing people with impunity. Unlike Facebook, if someone I am following starts tweeting annoying/obnoxious/irrelevant/uninteresting shit (ahem, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, many other celebrity twitterers), I unfollow them with a quickness, and no hurt feelings or harm done. And basically, after a year of cultivation, I am following and interacting with some really interesting people who are bringing really interesting, relevant information into my life. It brings me so much knowledge and wisdom, it's like a personal Internet butler service.
And then the other amazing thing is that along the way, other people started to follow me. I have 189 followers right now, and granted, a lot of them are spammers or companies who are probably gathering info on me for marketing purposes, but still, there are a lot of people out there who actually might be reading my tweets! Thrilling. Even more thrilling is that some of them are published authors/writers I admire. Susan Orlean! Laura Zigman! Virginia Heffernan! Following little old me. Little old Jane Donuts. Who'd have thunk it.