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I know I’ve come to the twitter party late.  I know I’m a gate crasher because I’m over thirty, but I’m trying to understand, I really am. I’ve had an epiphany.  Twitter represents another language.  While we tweet some words in our native tongue, the construct, the mixing of symbols and short bursts of texts, and the way a person could meander through the maze of links, like a spider web, like 7 steps from Kevin Bacon, is a new form of communication.  When I approach my exploration of Twitter with this in mind, I feel much less intimidated.

I’ve been most mystified by the use of Twitter symbols.  Here’s what puts me off:

  • I don’t understand what the symbols mean.  I understand the definition of the “at” symbol and the hashtag; I could recite the definitions to you.  But that doesn’t indicate a deep enough grasp of meaning to enable me to use the symbols with confidence.
  • Tweets are difficult to read.  They are all unsentency.

This is an example of a tweet that was in my feed recently.  It was written by a respected literacy expert.  Before I can read this sentence (is it a sentence?  I don’t know) my thinking about language has to detach itself from my cerebral cortex.   I comprehend this tweet at the speed of paint drying, which is diametrically opposed to my usual way of reading—think Speedy Gonzalez.

Teaching #NoticeandNote? Watch! http://bit.ly/1y0vNzt  Words of Wiser #Reel Wisdom via @VanderVeldeLori @DrLWalczak @USMBrad @hhreimerz (Sorry-I don’t know enough to maintain all of these great links)

I’ve decided.  I’m an intelligent woman.  Twitter’s Wild West version of language is not going to beat me! Here and now, I’m taking this tweet apart and writing down what everything means.  I will practice reading and writing tweets until I’m able to host my own twitter party, with virtual nuts and cocktails and everything.  Must get out the glue and scissors, because I don’t know how to create a great visual on the computer (yet!).

Here is my thinking about what this tweet means.

This twit is learning!

This twit is learning!

Feel free to let me know if I am wrong. At least I’ve made a start.  In writing about my confusion with twitter, I’ve increased my level of comfort with the format and I think I have some ideas about how I can use it to get some of my words out into the universe.  I “atted” my first person the other day, although I don’t think my “atting” looked anything like the mentor tweet.  My next hurdle is to hashtag something. I also wonder if when you hashtag, you just write whatever you feel like and hope somebody else is thinking about that topic too?  If I wrote #uglycookiejars, would my poor hashtag just float out there in the WWW alone and unwanted?  That’s a topic for further study.