Twitter is vacuous, superficial, shallow crap. Right?
Twitter is a bit like life. It depends who you choose to surround yourself with.
I ventured nervously on to twitter a couple of years ago. I was trying to sell my book, a memoir about adoption. There had been a few ‘near misses’ and the message coming back from publishers was ‘it’s great but not commercial enough’. Adoption, infertility, raising children a bit differently, education are very much minority issues, I was told. I wondered if they were right. My agent was certain they weren’t and told me to get on and prove them wrong. ‘And start blogging’ she said. ‘How?’ I asked. ‘I’ve no idea’ she replied. (But that’s a whole other story.)
Within a few weeks of nervously tip-toeing around twitter I started to find a community of adopters, adoptees, foster carers, social workers, academics, charities, parents and others.
I followed them. They followed me back.
Conversations developed around all sorts of issues, some silly, some funny, some serious. I gradually found that I could share some of the day-to-day realities of raising children with early trauma (realities that I find hard to share face-to-face) and that there was always someone around who understood. Where I had found message boards to be cumbersome, lengthy and sometimes depressing, I found twitter to be quick, reactive, sparky and uplifting. There are of course some who wish to cause trouble and offence on twitter, as in life, and for them there is the ‘block’ button.
Those of us raising children who have had a less than ideal start, do not live glamorous lives and many of us parent at the extreme end of the scale. It can be isolating. Tweeting ‘I’ve just found another shit in the garden’ or reading ‘OK, so who’s bent all the spoons?’ is liberating and therapeutic and can turn desperation into laughter. ‘It’s not just me’ is a wonderful realisation.
I did eventually connect via twitter with Stephen Jones of Jessica Kingsley Publishers who commissioned my book No Matter What, which will published in July of this year. Although it met with my original intention, twitter is no longer about trying to find a readership, it is about connecting and feeling part of a community and learning and supporting.
I consider my twitter friends to be just that, friends. We have ranted and joked and laughed together though the best and worst of times and I wouldn’t be without them.ly