Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flocking to Twitter

In my family, I'm always the last to migrate to new technology. The day before yesterday I made the mistake of allowing myself to get infatuated by Twitter's plumage.

And now I feel like a parked Peugeot in Paris in the leafy month of April. All the birds in the city collude with one another during this month. They eat all the chestnut buds and do their thing all over the cars - windshield, side-view mirrors, rear-view mirror, antenna, fender, you name it. Whichever way you look at it - from the inside looking out or the outside looking in - the elaborate spray painting looks like Monet's Waterlilies. It must have made such an impression, pardon the expression, on Monet so many years ago. For the last day or so, I'm feeling like a tu-tutting Peugeot.

The only reason I decided to flock to Twitter, like everyone else, was to stay abreast of what was going on around me by the second. It wasn't enough to subscribe to the print versions of New Yorker, US News & World Report, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, San Jose Mercury News and IEEE Spectrum. They were serving me news that was at least a day old. And the problem with print stuff is the labor. Just when I am trying to get to the gym, there's always the physical effort of walking down the driveway or walking over to the mailbox to get an update which is so many hours old.

I was drawn to twitter because of the nature of my work: every magazine I want to query is hot and bothered about the greenhouse effect. Parenting? Got green milk? Family Circle? Build a community garden. Now! Woman's Day? Ten cheap ways to buy green underwear!

I needed to get up-to-the-minute on everything green before my editors got to them, see? But I find now that the twitterer's road is twisted. Somewhere in my migratory path, I swooped down where I shouldn't have. For instance, I chased after Whole Foods' incessant cackle on Twitter. Now I know that clementines are on sale at the Cupertino location close to where I live. Then there was one tweet that set my straight heart aflutter: "Try Cate Matthews, 720-872-4970. She's the contact for our Santa Fe location on Cerrillos Road." Then my green mission took me on a path to a home where a blogger showed me how to reuse crayons. I also made the mistake of following my husband and my friends, one of whom sent me this bird feed: he was listening to (when he should be working).

I'm the last of the migratory birds every tech season but I suspect I was the wiser until now. Here's the catch in this net age: can I trust my homing instinct to get me back in tune with my bitter–but better–life before Twitter?

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