When I first started tweeting, it was just a sort of experiment to see what all the hoop-lah was about. I'm on the Faceplace all the time, I can update my status as my day progresses, many of my close friends check in there throughout the day and it's a fun place to be. Isn't that enough?
Twitter at first just seemed to be a place for people to spew out every little thing they think and do all day long, in 140-character snipets, and it seemed absurd. But then I started following a lot of my favorite bloggers, and suddenly there was all of this added context for the posts I was reading. I felt like I was getting the inside scoop, hearing about the puppies nipping their ankles and the kids screaming as they wrote blog posts that I would then go read, and it added a whole new layer of richness to the experience. I'd follow designers waiting for the mail to see samples of fabric or sewing patterns that I'd then buy, or authors slogging through work on books that I'd go on to read. I'm right there with them, and all of the little daily trials and tribulations and joys become part of this larger, more organic web of context and sharing and experience.
Blog posts can be very personal, and often very off-the-cuff, but there is understandably quite a bit of editing behind the scenes. Good bloggers write with focus and edit well, while still allowing for their own personality and style to shine through. Over in Twitter-land, though, no one asks for focus or editing. Just spit it out and move on, typos be damned (or even required, to squeeze your thought into 140 char). And I can tweavesdrop on exchanges between other people, often very funny people, which is very appealing to my voyeuristic tendencies.
I've been hooked for a while. But then last weekend I had this very small, but wonderful experience. We were having a dinner on Saturday night with a few friends from our temple, all of our kids, and the family of our brand-new rabbi. We would be doing the Havdalah ceremony (to non-Jews: Havdalah is the weekly observence of the end of the Sabbath, or Shabbat, or Shabbos, at sunset on Saturday). That afternoon, my friend who was hosting the dinner texted me and asked if I had a Havdalah candle that I could bring. I texted back that no I did not, and I also didn't have the box of spices we'd need. And she was all hello? Box of spices? And we both panicked.
And then I thought: Twitter can help me! I follow several rabbis, rabbinical students and knowledgeable Jews. I sent out a plea for help from my phone as I was out running errands, and within minutes I had the info I needed for what the necessities for the ceremony were, what we could use that we already had at home, and we were all set. (Thanks again @heidihoover and @imachai!!!) Jews save the day!
I called my friend and gave her the scoop, and told her I'd heard it from "my rabbi friends on Twitter." I might have felt a little bit like I was very cool and fancy. And she might have chuckled mockingly a little bit. And that summed up why I love Twitter, the immediacy of connecting with all of these people all over the world. It's like IMing with scads of people simultaneously. It makes me happy.