Saturday, February 18, 2012 Permalink

In my diet blog I often talk about past binge-eating habits and my (*ahem*) somewhat obsessive nature. Any over-eating though, usually takes place at night or on weekends, my workplace not being conducive to devouring a packet of corn chips or inhaling a bag of caramello koalas.


Similarly, my inability to access social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter) during the day, is resulting in some post-work binging, and I can’t decide whether or not it constitutes socially-acceptable behaviour. (ie. I only care/engage when I’ve got time to care/engage.)

I must confess at this point that my diet blog and associated Twitter account – which WERE my ‘hobbies on the side’ have become my primary blog and Twitter account. Not attached to the ‘real me’ in any way (although I am thinking of ‘coming out’ as it were) I now spend most of my time using that Twitter account and interacting with followers and strangers alike.

My workplace doesn’t allow access to Facebook or Twitter, or even web-based email accounts – the latter for security purposes. As a result a couple of times during the day (only once or twice – because I am a dedicated public servant. Well, actually cos I’m prone to guilt-ridden angst if I think I’m being slack!) I check my private email account and while playing with my iPhone phone I scan Twitter and Facebook for any news or updates. As a result, my daytime access is minimal. And it’s almost impossible to ‘engage’ when I’m only on there for a minute or two at once.

I do partake however, in a Twitter and Facebook binge-fest during my commute to and from the office for a 30-50 minute period every day, which I think is almost akin to ‘caring only when I have time’. And I feel like a bit of an interloper on the train ride home, as I enter conversations midway through and have to scroll back through tweets and updates to get some context or find out what I’ve missed. Again, it’s hard to engage AFTER the event. And like someone who can’t join the cool kids’ table at school, I feel I’ll remain on the outside looking in while my access is so hit and miss; and when others have been tweeting to and fro all day.

Wear your Twitter badge with prideOnce home of an evening, despite having free time, I find I still can’t keep up… only sitting at my desk briefly to schedule tweets and check updates before disappearing to bathe, cook dinner and watch TV; returning at the end of the night to draft and edit blog posts or pay bills.

Given that I sit at a desk all day, I am not necessarily keen to sit at one all night, so I tend to lounge about in front of the television for an hour or two and this is where I am stumped….

SO many people on Twitter and Facebook post CONSTANTLY. And they often do so while they are doing other things (well, at least I assume Twitterers and Facebookers do other things. I mean, it’s not like we are talking about World of Warcrafters here!). People often tweet about TV shows. I’ve tried that with my iPhone but it takes too long and (I’m of that age where) I have to keep removing my glasses to see the phone’s screen and then put them back on to see the television. Perhaps others have iPads I’ve postured; something that they can sit on their laps and tap away on during ad breaks or boring bits. Or perhaps they’ve got excellent eyesight and don’t have the middle-aged eyesight issues.

facebook like buttonWhen I bought my Macbook Air at Christmas I had visions of myself sitting and ‘live’ tweeting to a captive audience (aka my Twitter followers) about whatever I was watching. I’d imagined sharing insightful and witty repoirtee with other fabulous and interesting people – thereby offering fulfilment I don’t get from my otherwise mundane life. (Just joking! Sort of.)

But it doesn’t work. It seems, while I’m a multi-tasker in much of my life, I’m either watching something on television, or not watching it. Sure, I could attempt intermittent two-minute binge tweeting during an ad break rather than the oft-utilised channel-surfing, but again it seems sporadic and akin to firing off a machine gun then taking cover for the next 10 minutes, until I’m ready to fire again.

Live Twitter

My minimial access to Facebook doesn’t worry me as much. I rarely have ‘conversations’ there. I just post obviously-interesting things about my day (no, not my bowel movements, although I’m sure my gazillions of friends are interested in what I eat, or what exercise I’ve done!).

It’s Twitter I struggle with. I live alone, so have no one to turn around to and say, “Oh my god, what did Poppy Montgomery do to her face?!” for example. Instead, this would be something I’d tweet. And then of course there’s the social intercourse: the toing and froing with complete strangers about both vague and intimate details of one’s life. And frankly… comments starting with “I told you so…” are a waste of 13 of your 140 characters, so there’s less chastising and a lot of swearing. Which suits me fine.

I don’t want to spend my days on Twitter, but I want to be able to keep up in some shape or form. So… what I’m wondering is, how do others do it? iPhone constantly in palm of your hand; iPad hung around your neck for easy access; starving kids and week-old food festering away in the background as you sit at the desk?

Tweeties…. How DO you do it?

  • bellaxthree
    February 18, 2012

    This post made me smile Deb! Have you seen my bursts on to twitter where I furiously reply to any @mentions, tweet a little, chat a little then scoot off again?? Wondering now “Do I Twitter Binge?” hahaha!

    It is not usually possible for me to have long blocks of time to ‘chat’ on twitter… sometimes. I recently learnt how to schedule tweet for my blog posts and link that to wordpress and facebook – how cool are those functions and apps? 🙂

    For me, I am not sure I think of it as a tweeting binge… and I guess it can be any time of the day when I have that 5 or 10 mins to jump on and catch up. I might check in when waiting in a doctor surgery or for my next class to arrive or when walking across campus by using the app on my phone. Mostly I open tweet deck once a day, sometimes every few days, and try to reply to any messages. I use the pomodoro techqnique often and even when not using it I like to have facebook / email / twitter closed down and open it when I feel like checking in. I learnt that trick with emails years ago when I would almost drown in student emails! So I guess I don’t see it as tweeting binges but rather I try to have a time and place in my day for most things … and some days I get little time and other days I get more to play with. The times when I might use it the most are when I am multi-tasking as you say – or what I call my vegei-ing out – watching something with half interest on TV while snuggling with the puppies on the bed and having a pay on social media.

    I don’t think I see it as a useful way to ‘catch up’ … I made a new year’s commitment to do that more in person or at least over the telephone or skype video chat. I’ve come to realise that facebook and twitter are great for many things but have their limitations. I would rather a 1 hour coffee with a friend on the way home from work or a 1hr cuppa & chat when I drop into a family member’s place or some chats on the telephone. For those I have connected with predominantly online I think we keep in contact through a mixture of tweets, facebook, occasional IRL catch ups and sometimes email.

    I guess the question always comes down to – is the way you use twitter (or facebook) serving you well? Do you get something useful out of it? I really feel strongly that social media shouldn’t add to our list of “chores” or create feelings of obligation and burden… it should be an extension of our social world – if we desire it to be! – and / or a networking tool for business etc.

    That’s my 2 cents on it. Not sure that I answered your questions….

    • Debbish
      February 18, 2012

      I actually quite enjoy the connection via social media with those I might not normally meet. Other bloggers, dieters etc. I guess I sort of feel envious of those who seem to tweet all day when I’m so hit and miss with it!!!!

      • bellaxthree
        February 18, 2012

        Yes, I enjoy it too! Don’t mistake me on that. Meeting great people all the time and learning so much!! I get why you might feel some envy… I don’t think it needs to be that you miss out on anything…. what if you created some lists of the bloggers and dieters that you would like to stay in closest contact with making it easier to catch up each night when you have the time? That would make it less hit & miss. xx

        • Debbish
          February 18, 2012

          Good idea Ange, and I probably do ‘skim’ a little when I read my Twitter feed I must admit.

  • bellaxthree
    February 18, 2012

    PS I don’t think anyone would think of you as an interlopper when you catch up and join in on conversations when you have the time & opportunity… I think people understand that we all juggle lots of things… and I think people are pleased to have you join in! I know I always am… so interlope on any convo any time! It’s a ‘public’ conversation after all 🙂 xx

  • Karen@WaistingTime
    February 18, 2012

    Twitter is not much of a draw for me, honestly. I have to remind myself to even get on there! Same with my blog’s facebook page. My personal facebook I check periodically because it is a great way to keep up with my kids. I haven’t worked in years and when I did, the internet was just in its infancy. I can’t imagine having a job now and feeling myself pulled away, wanting to read my personal emails or check out blogs. I have an old phone so do nothing on there.

    • Debbish
      February 18, 2012

      Karen, I’m in a job I don’t mind at the moment, but have to confess I get SO much more joy/fulfilment out of my blogging than I do from work! In reality – as I said to (other) Karen, the blog-reading is probably the most time-consuming thing I do! I find I get a bit anxious every time I open Google Reader and have another 30+ posts to read and possibly comment on. It’s strange, because I enjoy reading them, but worry about keeping up!

  • KCLAnderson (Karen)
    February 18, 2012

    Yep, my name is Karen and I am addicted to the Internet. 😉 I’ve been using it since 1994 and it’s how I met my amazing husband! I’ve also made some wonderful friends over the years.

    These days I’m more of a Facebook and blog junkie than Twitter…Twitter overwhelms me so I just do what I can when I feel like it. I honestly think people understand that Twitter is fleeting…and I guess that’s why I find it much easier to have conversations on FB!

    And I think all the sitting/keyboarding exacerbates some of my back issues. Because I work at home I don’t have to use my phone to keep up…if I did, it wouldn’t be as attractive to me. And I also think that I use the internet to avoid feeling some stuff…like I used to use food to avoid feeling stuff.

    • Debbish
      February 18, 2012

      Karen, I was just commenting to (other) Karen that my blog reading / writing is probably the most time-consuming thing I do online. And I enjoy it, but often feel overwhelmed. I always have these great plans to engage more with other bloggers via Twitter and join in their conversations, but just can’t keep up when I’m only checking intermittently!

      I don’t know that I use the internet to avoid feeling stuff, but possibly I write rather than talk about things. When my dad passed away (late at night) I came downstairs first thing the next morning and wrote a blog post about it and how I was feeling. My mum was here and we were talking about our feelings but I probably wouldn’t have gotten on the phone and talked to a friend about them. Writing is far more cathartic for me!

      PS. It’s hard to imagine life now WITHOUT the internet. Egad!


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