It all started so innocently. Perhaps three months ago, I was lamenting my lack of social media skills to Yvonne Ventresca, and she suggested that I try Twitter. "Come on," I think were her exact words. "Just take one hit. You'll like it. Everybody's doing it." So I did. I started very slowly, just following a few harmless sites. NASA. National Geographic. It was fun. Cool pictures. "Where's the harm in this?," I asked myself. Nowhere, as far as I could see.
I don't remember when it was that I realized that I could follow actual people. Actual writers, agents, editors. I could learn about their daily lives: their home improvement projects, their children's bedtime rituals, their eating habits, their reading habits. I could even, if I ever got up the nerve, tweet AT them. But if I never got up the nerve, I could still pretend to myself that I knew them. How weird. How wonderful. Before I knew it, Twitter became my first stop every time I turned on my computer. But I could still handle it, I told myself. I could quit any time I wanted.
But then. Then I realized that there are Twitter sites that exist for the sole purpose of making snarky comments about politics. And that, friends, is when I stopped being able to control my Twitter habit, and it began to control me. I never thought I had an addictive personality. Drugs, alcohol - meh. But 24/7 access to snarky comments about politics? I'll admit it, but only to you. I'm hooked. And I've even started tweeting my own s.c.a.p., in order to support my habit.
I'm still functioning, more or less. I hold down a responsible job at which I only allow myself to check Twitter once a day. I pay my bills, buy my groceries, argue with my daughter - the essentials. But there are times when I'm on Twitter when I know I should be doing other things - like, ahem, writing a BOOK - and I anxiously ask myself: where will it all end?
Maybe it's too late for me, but it might not be for you. If you've managed to resist Twitter so far, take my advice. Don't start. Think of me, and JUST SAY NO.