140 characters at a time, we become Twits.


Byline: Dianne Williamson


Because we live in the fast-paced world of social media, managers at this newspaper sometimes offer annoying advice designed to increase my "readership," not realizing that, on certain days, my private goal is to actually decrease my readership, so I get fewer nasty emails and posts on our website, telegram.com, which I mention as a shameless plug in the hopes that the managers will leave me alone.

But they won't. Just recently I received an email from colleague Mike Elfland, once a perfectly normal guy who drank beer and uselessly studied art education in college, until he became the "Web editor" and now speaks in a language I can no longer comprehend.

"Your readership would certainly increase if you were to tweet each of your columns," he wrote to me the other day. When I forgot to respond, he sent a pointed email in capital letters: "ANY THOUGHTS?"

I had lots of thoughts, most of them negative, because when it comes to social media, I happen to be a moron. I fully understand that technology has changed how we communicate, that mankind no longer corresponds by smoke signal and we must adapt, but there are limits. I readily took to emails and last year joined Facebook, where I learn on a daily basis what my friend in Washington had for breakfast, a factoid that had eluded me for years. I frequently text on my cellphone, another modern tool that helpfully eliminates the need to have actual conversations with the people closest to me. I thought I had it covered.

But now I must tweet, and I'm not necessarily opposed to it, except that it's one more thing that makes me feel stupid. Two years ago an editor told me to sign up for Twitter and I did, but that's all I did, in that my only tweet to date reads, in its entirety, "Trying to figure this out." I penned that profound little gem in May of 2009, and you can see the literary effort that went into it. But then I felt guilty because I'd receive emails saying that so-and-so "is now following you on Twitter," and I sometimes wondered whether these people were reading the same tweet, over and over again, for the past two years.

So I returned to Twitter this week and successfully managed to tweet my column, which I considered a minor miracle, and I assumed that my work was done. But then I learned that, because I tweet, I'm now expected to follow other people who tweet such as Charlie Sheen and Anthony Weiner, because it's an unspoken Twitter...

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