We are in the last days of summer, or so it seems. Even though the equinox isn’t until late September, and Labor Day is three weeks away, It feels as if the relative slow pace we’ve been in is quickening. The kids start school in four days, and all the new college students roll into town on Monday for orientation.
As I’m preparing for classes, I’ve been thinking more and more about the way social media has affected our communication habits (not to mention our grammar–I had to stop just now and decide whether to treat the concept of “social media” as singular or plural. I chose singular, based on this interesting logic). Part of what made me think about this was my reflection on my blogging activity over the past year, and especially this summer.
I always post more over the summer months than I do during the school year. For one thing, there is usually more time, and it has also been my way of engaging with others, whether to share kid stories (which remain my most popular posts–grandparents apparently DO know how to use the internet) or to comment on what I’m reading and viewing.
I still do that, but this summer I’ve noticed a shift in my habits. I’m now more likely to take a break during the day and check out my Twitter or Facebook feeds than I am to do what I’m doing right now–composing paragraphs, albeit short ones. I think the impetus for this comes from the desire for conversation; I love catching up with friends who live in other states and that I haven’t seen in some time. That’s where Facebook comes in. I ignore the ads for sculpted abs in six weeks and focus instead on the odd and interesting posts that come down the line. And the pet pictures.
With Twitter, my love of the epigram kicks in. I have to think that if Ben Jonson and Alexander Pope were alive, they’d be tweeting, and they’d be following Steve Martin and Albert Brooks. While I agree that browsing the web can be like mental snorkeling–skimming the surface but not diving below–there is also something challenging about distilling a complex thought into 140 characters. So I try to steer clear of Twitter as a PR tool (though I recognize its value as such) and instead try to find people who are actually saying something I want to respond to.
So I’ve been quipping and chatting and “liking” and updating my status. But I also feel the draw to write here, where I can move out of the central current and splash around in the tidal pools of thought and whimsy.