Saturday, 5 July 2014

Digital Friendships with Heroes

Just over two years ago, I decided that I needed to get my butt in gear and to tackle this beast called Twitter. It was a bit of a rough start but I seem to have rallied and am doing alright in the Twitter-sphere. I know words like "Twitter-sphere" and "tweeps"; I know to say "I tweet", not "I twitter"; and I know a RT from a #FF. I even started a hashtag project. Granted, it had minimal success, but I learned a lot. Generally, I would say that I am entirely proficient at Twitter.

I've stopped keeping track of my followers, which has done wonders for my digital self-esteem. But I still worry about what to tweet. In fact, I worry more now than I ever have before. And for this, I blame Amy Tan. Yes, Amy Tan of The Joy Luck Club fame.



You see, for my first Twitter year, I was blissfully tweeting. Gaining and losing followers. Finding my way through the Twitterverse like a possum that's wandered into a basement. It's not quite sure where it is, but it's warm and there's the distinct promise of food. Now there's another possum in the basement with me and I'm not quite sure if she wants me out or if she's watching. But I know she knows I'm here. What's all this nonsense about possums? Amy Tan. Stay with me. Amy Tan is the other possum. She went and followed me on Twitter!

I promptly fell over. Hyperventilated. Emailed everyone I knew. Hyperventilated again. Fell over again. And stopped tweeting. I mean, I don't want to tweet something stupid to Amy Tan. She's...well, she's Amy Tan!

I'm not exactly a celebrity nut so this was a bit of a surprise to me. I gave Paris Hilton a proper piece of my mind when she practically ran into me that time in Vegas - I'm sure she hasn't forgotten. I stayed cool when Ronan Keating was sitting behind us at a show. I didn't even recognise the entire Patriots American football team when I served them all night at a bar in Boston. Even Tom Brady. I thought I was a cool cucumber.

I'm not. I apparently lose it when it comes to authors I admire.

I was slightly less than cool when I met Margaret Atwood (twice) and I fell apart when Amy Tan followed me on Twitter and now. Now. I thought I was getting better. I thought I was handling myself and that I would not have a fan-girl moment again.

But the other day Tom McCaughren followed me! Tom. McCaughren. :-D Nothing but an emoticon can come close to expressing how big my smile is right now. You don't know who Tom McCaughren is? Only the reason I want to be a writer. He's an Irish author who wrote a series of children's books, beginning with Run with the Wild, about foxes. One of the foxes was named Sinéad. Awesome.

I promptly fell over. Hyperventilated. Emailed everyone I knew. Hyperventilated again. Fell over again. And stopped tweeting. I mean, I don't want to tweet something stupid to Tom McCaughren. He's...well, he's Tom McCaughren!

The recovery time has been better on this one. I've had a full conversation about homemade poutine today - not my finest literary Twitter hour. But it's still just thrilling to have a writer that I admire follow me. And terrifying. I know we're not really friends. I know. But we are tweeps.

I may be improving on the whole, but if Amy or Tom (we're on a first name basis, now) unfollow me, I'll probably be back in the depths of digital angst again in no time. Because that's perfectly reasonable.




Just in case you want in on my insanity...
@tommccaughren
@AmyTan

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