My Twitter Relationship

Michele Pettis—I was perfectly content with my relationship with Facebook until Twitter came along. It’s like when there is suddenly a new kid in your class and you can’t take your eyes of him/her. Your current friends are great and all, but this new person represents so much mystery and intrigue.

I joined Twitter in November of 2009 because I was curious. I’ll admit that my first interactions with the new kid were a bit awkward. I found 140 characters to be very limiting (you may have noticed I’m a bit long-winded), and I felt like I was just sending words out into the ether of cyberspace and no one was listening. But when I started following groups I was interested in (anything about the Red Sox, New Zealand, or writing), I felt more connected. I even started to get followed back by people just like me.

Twitter and my friendship was growing nicely. I thought of Twitter as social media only and didn’t consider the news aspect of it until Tiger Woods had his infamous car accident. It was actually the New Zealand Herald’s tweet that I saw first.

But Twitter and I hit a rough patch during the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt. Twitter seemed to fulfill my want for information about this terrible situation, but for every informative tweet there were dozens more that were pure speculation or opinion. On Friday of that week I happened to wake up around 4:30 and glance at my phone. I was sucked into the manhunt for the rest of the day. In between classes I was checking the situation. They had locked down basically the entire city of Boston and some of the surrounding areas. It felt like they must be on the verge of capturing someone at any moment. But they didn’t and the hunt dragged on and on. I got so burned out by reading tweet after tweet about what might be happening that I gave up. I almost didn’t even watch the news when they finally did apprehend the suspect. It had gotten to be too much for me.

In the days that followed I spent less time with Twitter. We didn’t officially break up or anything. It wasn’t really Twitter’s fault that someone had tried to hurt the city that I love. But I just needed some space.

This morning I woke up with a burning question: does my parking permit work during the summer session? I poured over Parking and Transportation’s website. No answer was to be found. I send them an email, but who knew how long that would take to be answered, if it was ever answered at all. But then I had a lightbulb moment. This might just be a job for my friend Twitter. I tweeted my question to @BportParking and, sure enough, I had my answer in less than five minutes.

Twitter and I are on good terms again. Just like any form of social media, you have to know the pros and the cons and you can’t let it take over your life.

Now the question remains: what to do with my old pal Facebook?

(For the record, Parking and Transportation answered my email in 57 minutes which isn’t too bad considering I wrote to them before 8am.)

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