The Writer’s Life

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A Tweetorial

When I decided to see what Twitter was all about some years ago, a tech savvy friend enthusiastically described it to me this way:  It’s like a big cocktail party, where everyone is having interesting conversations and you join in!

That was a red flag, waving at me to stay far, far away.  I’m a writer, which equates to antisocial.  Still, I was intrigued, mainly because I love me some hors devours wrote the book on networking.  Seriously, I did — “Fast Track Networking: Turning Conversations into Contacts.

Fast forward a few years, after giving Twitter a twirl.  Here is what I’ve learned:

1.  My tech savvy friend is actually delusional and needs to be placed in a mental hospital.

2. “I’m so bad at Twitter,” a highly successful businessman said to me recently.  After reading his feed, I wholly agreed. Twitter requires a learning curve.  Before jumping in, reading others’ tweets is a necessity.  You want to be original, clever and interesting.  If you’re not, no one will read your comments.  Much less re-tweet or share them.  I know this from no one reading, re-tweeting or sharing mine.

3.  Don’t follow others willy-nilly.  (Did I really just write “willy-nilly”?)  I know many tweeters who follow thousands upon thousands of people.  Yes, the numbers are impressive, but how can you read so many tweets in one lifetime?  I prefer to follow a select number of people who are entertaining, insightful or who can help advance my career in some way. By keeping my followers at a reasonable amount, my Twitter experience is manageable.

4.  Yes, it’s a little thrill when the likes of Judd Apatow, Penn Jillette, Aasif Mandvi or Jimmy Fallon respond to a tweet (OK, Jimmy, not yet).  But don’t think for a second that you’re IN.  You’re still out. Yet, it’s fun to engage these celebs, isn’t it?

5.  Now a word about that cocktail party:  You can think of Twitter as a cool bash, complete with A-list celebrities and VIPs, but you should also remember that you’re not an invited guest.  You’re crashing this gig.  Maybe someone will actually “talk” to you.  But should that happen, show good manners.  Say “thanks” or whatever, and move on.  Otherwise, you’ll be quickly kicked out by the bouncer.  His name is “BLOCK.”

6.  Lastly, forget #3 and follow me.

The Feh List. (No, That’s Not a Typo)

It’s Mock Friday!  You didn’t know it’s Mock Friday?  Perhaps that’s because I just made it up.  Now be quiet and read on.

You know who has the easiest job in the history of  journalism?  It’s Samantha Henig, who compiles The New York Times Magazine‘s “Meh” list.  So what exactly is “The Meh List”?  No one knows. Not even Henig.

But here’s how the Times’ culture editor and creator, Adam Sternbergh, explained it to The Boston Globe: “The column was meant to celebrate all those things in life that exist at the top of the fat middle of the bell curve of taste.”

The Meh List in The New York Times Magazne

Because “meh” is basically a disengaged shrug, the list can include ANYTHING.  Still, it’s such a complex task to narrow down such things that are “not hot and not not (yes, this is the revered New York Times Magazine), that Henig needs an assistant for extra reportage — someone named Libby Gery, whose finger is right on the meh pulse.  But that’s still not enough. The pair also has help from Twittter meh devotees, who are encouraged to submit their own suggestions (guilty!) at #mehlist.  Coming up with a list each week is extremely taxing for just two Times staffers.

I’m a journalist with only twenty years of experience, so it’s likely I’m not qualified, but I’m taking a shot at a meh  list of my own.  Only this one is called the “Feh” list because I’m ethnic. Also because I don’t want to run the risk of a lawsuit.  So here we go: