Apr 27 2009
One Summer Day
They were the days when a scorching sun didn’t bother us. We ran around outside and sweated profusely, searching for a sprinkler to run through. We ate snacks from dawn to dusk. Summer as a little kid! One summer day in 1988, I was 8. A dump truck had just unloaded a city block worth of rocks into the neighborhood’s community garden. The daily baseball game ended abruptly when the delivery ended. Ten of us, aged 7-10, mounted our bikes. Baseball cards clicked in spokes as our pre-pubescent army moved in for reconnaissance at the garden. On arrival, bikes were strewn about on their sides. Twenty small feet now clicked on the rocks.
“THIS ONE IS SHINY!” someone yelled.
Our energy level neared pandemonium, each rock inspected for shininess. It was a modern-day gold rush. In following days, one of the boys discovered the shiny streaks were quartz. We couldn’t have cared less. To us, quartz was the same as a diamond.
Back To School
That fall, our teachers introduced us to the best of public speaking disciplines – show-and-tell. I brought my sack of “diamonds” and showed them proudly, telling everyone about the “mine” near our house.
School years wore on. Show-and-tell disappeared. We traded our fat black pencils for skinny yellow ones. And our huge, dashed line paper for wide ruled. We learned school was boring. We wanted to spend time with our friends. So, we traded our cursive exercises for notes to our friends and we secretly passed them around the classroom.
Then we became adults – a time to grow up and leave childish ways behind. But our inner-kid isn’t so easily defeated. Twitter is the trump card. To me, Twitter is a communal, note-passing, show-and-tell for adults. Every day, we see and do things we think are fun and interesting. Something inside us wants to tell someone. It makes us happy. Maybe it will make someone else happy.
To be sure, people use Twitter for different reasons, but the ultimate motivation harkens back to show-and-tell: we want to be seen.
Who wants to sit in a cubicle and work all day at their job without talking to their friends? Twitter gives us the possibility of group text messaging.
The Reason I Love Twitter
I love Twitter because it reminds me I’m still a kid. I still want to be special. I want other people to know about my life. I want to know about theirs. Real-time.
In a society that has molded us into such fiercely independent people, social networking tools like Twitter are the pushback of our HEARTS – an attempt to reach out – however awkwardly – to make connection with others. We’re not supposed to live life alone. And we instinctively know it.
Since 2009 started, I’ve used Twitter a ton and, without exaggeration, it has helped to build some of my closest relationships. Twitter has supplemented, not replaced, face-to-face time.
Get Your Bike
When you get on Twitter, you, your followers, and those you’re following are riding to the community garden. You’re there together, looking for quartz, and getting excited about life. This side of heaven, that’s about all we have – life and friends.
If you don’t have an account yet, get over here! The click of baseball cards in bike spokes has been replaced by fingers on a keyboard. It’s the sound of a worldwide digital classroom – bite-sized email – with 140-character notes that get passed instantly!