Uncategorized | February 29, 2012

I made a Twitter account and pierced my nose the last time (first time?) I was pseudo-dumped. As far as post-relationship “I’m going to make a change that I can control” attitudes, it was a tame change especially compared to the considerations I made for a tattoo and an asymmetrical bob, but Twitter was just as uncharacteristic and seemingly ill fitting. I resisted the website with a long list of reasons, although pointless and obnoxious summed them up. These are the same sentiments that keep a lot of people from making an account, or more often among my peers, keep them from using already made accounts.

I have had a Twitter for nearly a year now and think that I am getting better at explaining its purpose. I try to think beyond the timely updates I receive via Twitter from politicians, local businesses, my favorite bands, news headlines and the university, because what people grapple with and what I resisted was the short format and immediacy in a personal account. The question “Who cares what I’m doing all the time?” came up a lot for me and the answer is definitely, nobody. I have been successful at Twitter, and success is only defined here in that I have maintained one, because I treat the site as a thought trash can.

As soon as I send a 140 character tweet into the internet, a place where I assume everything is lost forever never to be found by future employers, it’s out of my head. I do not use the medium to recount my day because breakfast in the morning, work in the afternoon and homework in the evening aren’t the kind of thoughts that get stuck. Wondering what my Gouda cheese would say to me is the kind of thought that will be lodged for days and it will have nowhere to go because I could never talk about it aloud. When I send “‘How much do you think I’m worth?’ -Gouda cheese” to Twitter, the thought isn’t weird or consuming, it’s just gone. For a writer who has never been able to maintain a journal, having a record of short, immediate observations that are composed without the stifling context of an essay or even a blog and that receive some form of feedback, is valuable.

I don’t mean to get hung up on personifying cheese, but the notion that my cheese tweet is not odd and is drowned immediately in tweets from around the world speaks to the paradox of Twitter. On their own, my tweets are valueless, passing thoughts that don’t deserve a second glance and that is how I treat them. My narrowed audience of followers finds some value because they read them. It’s not until I look back on a week or month of tweets that I can find any real worth outside of my own entertainment.

I am able to see trends in my own thoughts that would have been filtered out in a different medium. For a couple of weeks it seemed that I had a lot to say about babies and teeth.  The nights that I’m up trying to write first drafts or blog posts or second drafts, my tweets are progressively more aggressive. I retweet @SpringsteenSays, an account that only tweets quotes from Springsteen songs, approximately every two weeks. I think about outfits, food and television a lot. I see these trends the same way that I think about dreams; I won’t analyze them, but if my mom wants to, I won’t stop her. For the most part, everything I say on Twitter is still trash, but to know my own thought process and be able to revise a 140 character tweet into a real sentence (the first sentence of this post) is worth maintaining.

Speaking of the value of Twitter, don’t forget to participate in TMR’s first Twitter contest. Send us your literary hot dog recipes as a final sendoff to our staff visiting AWP in Chicago this weekend and follow us @Missouri_Review. Follow me @MollyPuzzle for AWP baby updates.