This is the way the world works: Billy Crystal, chit-chatting with Jon Stewart, announces that he’s making the plunge, his first tweet. Jon Stewart, savvy and funny as ever, says he doesn’t tweet. He has a television show.
I put out my first tweet many months ago, read by a (very) few faithful, mostly friends of my daughter. Every so often I get an e-mail, ‘So-and-so is now following you on Twitter!’ Today Mr. So-and-So brought me to a milestone, 100 followers. He has more than 3,000. He has a product to sell, a method for optimizing my web presence, increase traffic, make a little money. I sell words. I hesitate before following in kind, becoming one of thousands who get tweets about a paradigm that will rocket my business, sales pitches for software and diabetic test strips (I kid you not). Not that I don’t give him credit for trying.
Sometimes a tweet really is a poem, haiku-like in its brevity. The first day of the cruelest month (World Poetry Day, to boot) happened to coincide with the very first tweet sent out by Jack Dorsey, the software designer responsible for Twitter. Now we have ‘twitterature‘ and ‘twaiku’, things to sing about.
In the course of just a day, too many tweets pass me by. I’ll sign in, scroll down, follow the breadcrumbs to news I missed, poems and articles I need to mark, reviews of books just out, links to @mentions. I’ve stumbled a little along the way, but I think of I’m getting the hang of it, the art of reply and retweet, the @tweet and the #hashtag.
Sometimes tweeting has the feel of ships passing in the night. Being noticed is only half the equation; there’s a great joy in noticing someone who passed you by and passing along his or her message.
Here’s one that didn’t come via Twitter, but might as well have, for its brevity and mystery: Missent to Jamaica
There’s no Tiny URL here, just three words, the lol subject line of an e-mail. A tale about a book that took something of a detour between New York and Canada. Betwixt and between the weeks of sending the book and not hearing that it had been received, there was angst. Writers are nothing if not insecure. I was pleased — so very pleased — that a writer I friended via She Writes (a veritable salon in cyberspace), wanted a copy of my book. So I happily obliged for many reasons, not the least of which is that my connection with this whirling dervish of a writer (yes, do check out her blog) is mired in admiration. Which of course does not negate the insecurity rising in me. I know the mail to Canada is security-slow these days, but when two weeks pass, no word from Cathy that the book had been received, I do that thing — omg, she got it and didn’t like it and doesn’t know what to say.
Until I get the e-mail with that oh-so-melodic subject line, which I immediately take to be the title of a new post of hers, maybe a delightful story about someone named Miss Ent whose name is constantly misspelled and has a curious story to tell. Then I read more closely, a little relieved. I hope she likes my book.
P.S. Oh, irony! On the very day I write this post I receive via old-fashioned snail-mail a beautiful notecard (shoes glittery with roses, a Christopher Vine Design, Australia), hand-written thanks from my friend in Canada.