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Friday, March 1, 2013

Tweeting with Dignity

Someday I will get a twitter account. Because it’s the wave of the future and all the kids are doing it and I missed what the stars tweeted on Oscar night, which made me feel all Norma-Desmond-in-Sunset-Boulevard-depressed. (I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille! Bahahahahaha!) Mostly, I want to be schooled in the jargon. Hashtags, ztwitt, beetweet. Random ## symbols thrown about @ in weird places—it seems so mod. Let’s face it, in a world where technology reigns supreme, it’s either lead, follow on twitter, or get out of the way. So I will join…tomorrow if I don’t talk myself out of it first. By, say, slamming the entire twitter culture with a blog post. (Yes, this one.)

What are they?
     Turn back now if you can’t take some mild hating on the twitter. (And as you’re leaving be careful not to tread on the mome-raths.)

 Okay, so there might be an argument for chiseling advice and insight down to a mere 140 characters. We are busier than ever, not to mention worse readers. Maybe using so few characters builds…um, character. I mean, isn’t it the same thing as shrinking your baby (and by baby, I mean your hunkin’ 80,000-word + manuscript) down to fun size? The process is similar to crafting that concise 300-word teaser, and a pitch is a necessary evil, by all accounts. But why go there in LIFE? Do we really want to boil all of our experiences down to one brief line? Put it this way: You might as well be composing an inscription for your tombstone. (Fun! Fun! Fun!) I hate to be the bearer of doom and gloom, but each day may be your last. That this very sentiment has become the mantra of the texting generation is evidenced by songs like “If I Die Young,” “Like We’re Gonna Die Young” and “If Today Was Your Last Day.”
If you’re on twitter, that last tweet will define you for all eternity. Even if it’s: I think that guy who shot his girlfriend woulda put his legs on even if it was a robber in the bathroom. Hashtag#mootpoint

Or: Even tho I said hold the pickle, my bitch waitress gave me one anyway and now the juice is all over my plate.  Hashtag#dillcontamination
     And now, to my horror—and hopefully yours—agents have resorted to accepting twitter pitches. If you find a normal pitch to be a difficult undertaking, try coming up with one that fits the twitter field. In my opinion it started the trend of using these incongruous, cloying phrases in describing books. My book is The Clique meets Godzilla (Cliquezillas!), Night of the Living Dead meets Sesame Street, Jane Eyre meets Wanna Go Private (Don’t steal that one. It’s mine!), Bridget Jones’ Diary meets Madmen, Pride and Prejudice meets Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Game of Thrones meets Toy Story. (If you have a better one—which I’m sure you do—comment.)

     While seeking a job in advertising, I still feel as if employers frown upon a writer’s offering blog postings, twitter feeds and facebook pages as samples—even though they may be used effectively as advertising tools. Just like editors and agents snub experience in the fields of advertising and PR when an author lists such qualifications in queries. This strikes me as odd, since these fields are obvious extensions of one another--or at the very least complimentary. Case in point: Check out this writing field mashup: Copywriter meets Novelist. (Somehow it doesn’t sound as weird or controversial as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo meets Swiss Family Robinson.) So I don't know where that guy on the ABNA threads gets his logic.
      But back to twitter. Account or no account? I guess it all boils down to whether I can tweet in a dignified manner without feeling that I’m pounding the final nail in the coffin of world literacy.
Yeah, here’s the thing: Dignified people don’t generally tweet. The Queen doesn’t. The dalai lama doesn’t—nor does God. My YA-author idol Gary Paulsen? Ex-nay on the eet-tway. Dear old mom has no desire to tweet—she never has—and neither does my best friend Jodi, whose own mother, I might add, is also tweet-less. My uber-accomplished brother doesn’t, although he has considered blogging. Mr. Rodgers didn't include twitter in the world of imagination. Big Bird tweets, but we’ll forgive him, seeing he’s genetically programmed to do so. (Besides, I read somewhere it’s in his contract.) Do I continue to model my life after these great people (with an odd Muppet and/or deity thrown in) or emulate the likes of Snooki? You figure it out.
 In the meantime, here are some Downton Abbey tweets (proving they can be done with dignity).

     Mr. Bates to Anna: An acquaintance of mine who works in the kitchens of the dauphin’s summer chateau sent a French Maid uniform over. Slip it on and meet me in the stables. #hotwalkingwounded

     Lady Sybil to Branson: I’m sending Anna down with my phone, in part because I know you’re too poor to afford a decent data plan, and also because I have someone else do all my tasks. She’ll hand you a message, which she also typed: Do you want to elope? (with me, not her.) Please give her your reply (she’ll type it) and send her back to me. #quintessentialdamsel

(That one might be over 140, but oh well.)

 The Dowager Countess to Lady Cora: This twatter nonsense has to be an American invention. #uppitysnob

Matthew to Lady Mary: I forget, did you reject me or did I reject you?  #iceprincess

Carson to the Earl of Grantham: Very well, sir. #eternallackey

Thomas to anything in pants: (Insert your choice of lewd Texts From Last Night here) #evilsnake


  1. A radio DJ said something about Twitter that always stuck with me. "Twitter is the coolest thing that won't be around in ten years."

    Good luck tweeting!

  2. I hope he's right, Jenny. It may be undignified to admit how much Twitter frightens me. Thanks for commenting!