Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

I like you on Twitter, but I would like you even more in real life

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I am on my second Twitter account. The first was deleted after over a year of mostly inactivity. I didn’t get it, so I didn’t do much with it. People would follow me anyway and it made me feel bad so I deleted my profile and decided Facebook is where it’s at.

A few days later, something clicked. In a moment of clarity I understood what Twitter is all about. I got back on and started following people, and tweeting.

Notice how I said I started following people before I started tweeting? See, that was one of the things I didn’t get before.

My biggest “aha moment” with Twitter was that it’s about connecting. It’s about listening to what other people are saying and responding to them, or sharing their information. It’s about having a genuine interest in other people.

It’s up to you who those other people are. For me, one important group of people I follow are other writers, particularly local ones – poets, journalists, and novelists.

There are a lot of times when I’ve wondered if I’m connected enough to the local writing community here. Going back ten or eleven years, I used to attend a writers’ group every other Sunday in Parkdale. Everyone was working on different projects: some people were trying to write poetry, others were polishing chapters of their novels, and some were even launching zines and magazines.

We would spend part of our meetups sharing our work, providing feedback, and sharing ideas, and we would spend the rest of our time just talking and getting to know each other. Some people in the group were already close friends, but there were those of us, like me, who weren’t part of smaller circles within the fold.

Even though none of the projects I worked on during that period went anywhere, I’ve always looked back on my time with that writers’ group as something special. I’d gone in as a stranger and found a warm place to connect, to talk to people I never would have known otherwise in a safe, reliable outlet.

I see Twitter and other social media, like blogs, as having the same potential, sometimes providing some of the same warm-and-fuzzies I felt when I participated in a writers’ group. For me, a good day on Twitter is being inspired by something someone shared, learning something new, or interacting with someone I’ve never met before. I don’t worry about how many followers I have or how many tweets I crank out in a day.

This year, I’ve had the chance to connect with a lot of great people through Twitter who I might have not have connected with otherwise, or who I might not have connected with yet.

But I feel like those connections could stand to go deeper. Tweets are so brief, so ephemeral, like a passing comment on the street. I want to have a conversation. I want to sit down and drink with you, buzz out on coffee with you.

I want to get to know you.

Twitter can be a gateway to deeper connections, if we want it to be. It’s a fine tool as it is to keep us skimming the surface, but what happens when we’re not satisfied anymore with just dipping our toe into the pool – what if we’re waiting to become immersed?

Of course, this leads to me to one of my major dilemmas, something that’s been nagging at me all year, something that’s best saved for the next blog post as it’s a whole other topic on its own.

For now, I want to know you’re out there. Have we connected on Twitter? Find me at @LizWorthXO if you agree that it’s a good place to start, and let me know where I can find you.

After that, we’ll see where we can go from there.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Liz Worth 2011

Liz Worth is the Toronto-based author of Amphetamine Heart (Guernica Editions, 2011), Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond 1977-1981 (Bongo Beat/ECW, 2011) and Eleven: Eleven (Trainwreck Press, 2008), a shot of surreal punk fiction.

Go to Liz Worth 2011’s Author Page