I was recently at a cocktail party exchanging the usual banalities when a young woman (early thirties) asked me what I did? I told her that my wife and I owned a stationery store in Greenwich. Perhaps feeling sorry for me, she enthusiastically responded that “some of best friends use stationery.” Helping her to feel more comfortable with her obvious embarrassment, I explained that I had arthritic thumbs and couldn’t text all that well and found that the occasional handwritten note on engraved stationery was a good way to stay in touch with friends.
Proving that all good samaritans now have an iPhone, my enthusiastic new “friend” promptly explained that “the iPhone has this new app (read application) which allows you to speak into the phone and it will automatically post your Tweet. No need to struggle with your disability. Doesn’t Apple think of everything?”
Not one to miss out on continuing this informative conversation with Generation Y, I explained I had heard of Twitter, but “was looking for a more meaningful form of communication than 140 characters.”
“Oh, don’t be silly,” she responded. “It’s not what you say, but how often you say it. It’s all about being connected with your friends. Sending a note is cute and sentimental and all that . . . but imagine being able to chat with all your friends instantaneously.”
Feigning ignorance, I remarked “I had never thought of it quite that way. I suppose none of my friends really care to be that – oh, how shall I phrase it: ”intimate?” Doesn’t it bother you to be on call 24/7 and what about privacy?
Not one to be deterred, “Twitter_Lady” quickly picked up on the privacy issue. “It used to bother me until I learned how to create circles of friends and small groups on Twitter to share my thoughts. I mean you don’t have to share everything with everybody, it is really pretty cool how you can be as open or as private as you need to be.”
“I find the subject very interesting. Perhaps I could drop you a note and you could let me know what I need to do to get connected on Twitter,” I suggested.
“Oh, it’s not that difficult, just go to Twitter.com and set up an account,” she said. Once you’ve got your Twitter name, just send me an email Tweet @jtpapertiger and I’ll add you to my followers.
To paraphrase the eighth Century poet Han-shan
“There was an old woman who lived east of me
She laughed at me for falling behind
I laughed at her for getting ahead
We laughed as though we would never stop
She from the East and I from the West.”
Richard W. May
Thérèse Saint Clair