Yesterday was the first day of the rest of my cyber life. I finally jumped on the Twitter bandwagon that has been rolling through town for quite sometime without me. I’m not exactly sure why I resisted it so much in the first place. Maybe it was my fight against the “social media man” that has totally obliterated our ability to converse with one another. I find myself texting my husband while he is in a different room of the house, or tagging someone on Facebook so that they feel as though I am still making an effort to communicate with them. In addition I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the site and the mighty hashtag. I had no idea what a hashtag was or what it’s true purpose was until today. All I knew was that my Facebook friends had their statuses infiltrated by the irritating symbol. So like any person who has access to the internet would, I went to Google for some answers.
The “Hashtag” is a phrase or word that is has the “#” symbol prefixed to it. This is a means of tagging metadata so that it can later be located in a search for specific words or phrases on a social networking site, the most popular being Twitter. When a specific hashtag is used often or becomes popular, using it is referred to as “trending”. If, for example, you were to use #FeelinglikeAHero (as I did in one of my first hashtags on twitter yesterday), your tweet would later appear in any search containing that hashtag.
Seems simple enough, right? Why is it then, did I feel like a 95 year old woman on my laptop yesterday trying to figure this all out? It reminded me of my mother about 12 years ago when cell phones were becoming a bigger commodity and text messages were becoming the newest trend. My mother, sister and I were in the car one morning and my mother asked my sister “What is that envelope for on the top of my screen?”. My sister responded, “Mom, that means that you have a text message.” My mom then retorted with a puzzled look on her face, “Text Message??!!?? What the heck is a text message!!???!!”. My sister and I just chuckled and attempted to explain to her what a text message was and attempted to defend its purpose. So here we are about 12 years later and text messaging is the new means by which most of us communicate. And here I am feeling an awful lot like I’m sure my mother did in the car that morning. Confused, unsure and a little resistant to the constant changes in technology and social media. Yesterday when I started to attempt to figure Twitter out, I heard my mother come out of my mouth when I asked out loud to myself, “Hashtag!?!? What the heck is a Hashtag??!!!??”.
The reality is that Twitter is another excellent means to connect with people around the world, learn about things that I have no idea about, and will be an excellent medium for continuing to pursue my passion for writing. So the decision to get left behind in the stone ages vs. jumping on the bandwagon suddenly became a simple one. My friend Sarah, also known on Twitter as @SarahSassyChick, was the first to acknowledge my walking out of the stone ages with the following, “Welcome to the Twitterverse @LadyWicks1”.
It’s official. I have arrived.