Twitter & Texting – The Next Best Thing to ESP
by Pattie Roberts |
It is my pleasure to introduce my first guest blogger, Pattie Roberts. She is a freelance writer specializing in marketing. Yet in this article she reveals an insight on people-skills and technology that I just had to feature here. Pattie and I welcome your comments below and directly to email. Kate Nasser
When I was ten I realized that many people were not telepathic and it broke my heart. In that one moment of epiphany I knew that I, like most of this planet, would live and die in profound isolation. I would never really know anyone else’s thoughts or feelings, nor would they know mine. This sober knowledge informed and drove everything I did from that moment on. Which is why, amid all of the lamentation about how technology is killing personal interaction, I say bring it on.
Two functionalities in particular – Twitter and texting – have been incredibly valuable in expressing grief. Twitter and texting are so valuable to knowing others and being known in times of grief that it is almost too sad to recall old pain experienced without these tools.
We all know the studies claiming the number one fear, worldwide, is public speaking. People would rather die than be embarrassed. Showing weakness can be embarrassing. Expressing a deep sense of desolation at the loss of someone dear can also be seen as weakness. Can’t have that! When I lost my mother, then my daughter, then my father, I “held up.” We all do it. Be strong for others; cry alone. For me, all that big grief was contained in a small circle of family and friends until this past January when everything changed. Twitter and texting entered my world.
One of my dearest friends, Lezlie, a sister of the heart, lost her father on January 27. His name was C. Berry Carter. We all called him Daddy Bear and he was my surrogate father for more than 20 years after my own parents died. Daddy Bear started not feeling right at Thanksgiving of 2008 and by January he was gravely ill with liver cancer. Lezlie was understandably frantic with worry and close to despair. I had been through this many times but she, never. I felt both her pain and my own.
You wonder how you can feel that much pain and still live. And it doesn’t keep convenient hours. At 3:00 am I was still awake, too tired from weeping to sleep and so was she. It all felt horribly familiar except this time, I had the next best thing to ESP with my friend. I had Twitter and texting.
U awake? Yes. Crying? Yes. Me too.
It was so strange and so comforting. We could be together at any hour, from any location, without actually speaking. Short bursts of instantaneous thought and feeling without the constraints of normal conversation were a godsend. You can cry while you are texting without having to “hold up.” The soft ping of a tweet or a text doesn’t intrude like the screech of a phone ring.
I texted her funny quotes and photos of my dogs doing goofy dog things. We were in closer contact than we ever could have been had we driven to each other’s houses or called and left messages. We kept right on with the demands of our separate lives and saw each other whenever we could. But with Twitter and texting, we never left each other’s side.
After the service, I wanted to shout to the world that a great man had passed. I wasn’t able to do this when my own dear ones left. There were obituaries, of course, but traditional media are limited in scope and reach. But now, cold, impersonal technology made the comfort of strangers possible. I tweeted my sorrow and loss out to the Twitterverse. I have no idea how many people may have read it but I felt connected to billions and it was a comfort unlike any I had known before.
This past weekend I saw a post on LinkedIn by a man who had just buried his mother. He wanted to salute her since it was so near Mother’s Day. I felt for him — still not ESP, but the next best thing.
About the Author
Pattie Roberts is a freelance writer and researcher specializing in marketing-related writing. Her analytic side loves to do the research to market your business. Her expressive side comes out in the marketing plans, briefings, and presentations she writes for you. She is currently writing grant applications for non-profits and is taking on new customers. Pattie lives in Annapolis, MD, with her husband, the musician Hugh Feeley, and their two rescue Yorkies. When she is not working on research for your business, Pattie fusses over her roses, writes loooong letters to her stepdaughter in the Marines stationed in Japan (ooh rah!), and thinks of faster ways to finish projects around the house and tweet those ideas. You can Tweet her at http://twitter.com/pavroberts or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.