A week or so ago, my mind was filled with cinematic representations of nuclear annihilation. Strange as it sounds, I was captivated with the topic and unable to think, write, or talk about anything else. I churned out a chapter in a short time, and was ready to move to the next.
And then it all stopped. I found Twitter.
Last Sunday, I met with my friend Joel Rubinson, a high-end social network marketer. We spoke about how topical my work is and how I should enter the internet social networking world to engage in the larger enviromental conversation. He showed me how to create an account and taught me the basics of finding like-minded writers and activists.
That was just over a week ago. Now I can't stop tweeting. Within hours of setting up my account I had 18 followers (to date I have 137 or so). By day two, a major book publisher became my "follower". I was ecstatic. I also had scores of new followers, and on the third day (I think it was the third day-it's all a blur), Margaret Atwood posted The Nation article on the corruption of some major environmental organizations and I tweeted her back. She didn't respond to my reply tweet, but merely reading her tweet made my heart race. I quickly "retweeted" The Nation article from Atwood to Andrew Revkin. Now I was really getting the hang of things--playing fast and loose by tweeting to the climate expert of Dot Earth at the NY Times. I asked him what he thought of The Nation article. He responded immediately and said that he was reading the article "today" and would consider it. I was dizzy with the thrill of Revkin's tweet to me. Then, I discovered that the "drgrist" who had been tweeting with me about writing a book on my first day on twitter, turned out to be the editor of and writer at GRIST. I had never heard of GRIST before twitter (how many days had it been or is it now? I've lost track of time). Grist, I discovered, is important in the environmental community and without twitter, who knew? A new coup. By day three I couldn't stop tweeting long enough to sleep, or eat, or get out of my chair. Messages appeared every few seconds and I didn't want to miss them. New star authors. New information. New tweets and retweets and links and posts. I was and am moving with high speed between twitter, facebook, blogs. magazines, and websites. I've tweeted and searched and followed and posted, and I've been listed and retweeted and followed and posted in return. I've made new friends on facebook whom I met on twitter and visa versa. It never ends!
Then, I found myself blogging about climate change! Was I out of my mind? My book isn't on global warming! It was and is time to stop and take stock of things.
The snow has melted outside and the sun is shining.
I haven't gotten out of my sweats for how many days?
I haven't cooked a decent meal for my kid and I keep showing up late to pick her up from her various activities.
My book? What happened with my book? I've lost track of all those nuclear bomb plots, and the stories of my mother activists....
Twitter, you've got me spinning, like a whirlpool it never ends....
It hasn't been all negative. Not at all. As the days go by and I get the hang of the twitter world, I find myself learning new and exciting things about and within the larger intellectual environmental community. I continue to engage with and meet all sorts of fascinating people I would never have met otherwise. Truly, online social networking is an extraordinary new tool. Every day brings some important news, link, connection, understanding.
Yet. I need to be wary. The digital world can be incredibly consuming. I need balance. I can't make twitter the ruler of my life. I need to take back control.
Back to writing my book and back to being a mom.
I need to follow the wise words of my twelve year old:
"Get off the computer, Mom! You're addicted!"