Friday, April 5, 2013

My happy Catholic Twitter-verse

I've had a Twitter account for a few years now, but I've rarely used it until recently. With Benedict XVI's resignation and the Conclave looming this past February and March, I decided to try it out again since I knew that you could easily connect with other people talking about the same subject. I also knew that some of the Catholic podcasters that I listen to are on Twitter, and I knew their handles, so I figured I'd go in and give it another try.

Well. I didn't expect it, but I really liked it. MUCH better than Facebook.

Is there anybody else who feels like Facebook has fallen off of it's pedestal a bit of late? I'm just going to name a few of my gripes, and then we can move on with our lives, but here they are:

(1) Frequent changes. There is nothing that I hate more than change. #oldfashionedbunheadlibrarian
But it feels like Facebook often changes their interface, how you interact with your friends, and how their sponsored ads work. I feel like your friends "see" more now of what you do. As in, *everything*. Pages that you like, comments that you make on posts or photos made by people with no relationship to your other friends. I just don't need all of Facebook seeing my business, kwim? Makes me feel like I'm walking around in my underwear.

(2) The "pressure" of friend requests. I know that I don't *have* to accept anyone's friend request. But I often feel like I will hurt the feelings of the person in question if I don't. Facebook just feels like much more of a commitment than Twitter (more on that in a moment). And I also know that I can later "unfriend" somebody, but then I feel like a mean, insensitive person. Who else is with me?! Whenever I unfriend somebody, I find myself with my mouse hovering over the "Friends" indication next to their name, talking to my computer screen.

"It's not that I don't like you. I just...don't want you on my Newsfeed. Please don't feel bad."

I know that I can change my Newsfeed settings for specific people, been there, done that. Sometimes that just isn't enough. I just want them out of my Facebook life. Which leads us to...

(3) People seem to feel free to be obnoxious on Facebook. I don't know what it is, but Facebook's venue seems to let people know that they can feel free to speak their mind and then not listen to anybody else's contrary opinion and/or ridicule aforementioned contrary opinion. They also feel free to comment on others' fairly innocuous "Happy Easter!" or "Merry Christmas, everybody!" posts with nasty monologues on how any person who could call themselves a Christian should be ashamed of themselves, and that religion in general is medieval, superstitious mumbo-jumbo out to subjugate women.

Really? Would you say that to somebody's face? Maybe you would, in which case you are not very nice and I'm unlikely to be friends with you either on or off of Facebook. But if you wouldn't say something in a dinner conversation, don't say it at all!!

I've thought for some time that the reason I keep my Facebook account is for (a) the pictures and (nice) updates from friends and family who live far away from me and who otherwise I would rarely get to talk to, let alone see pictures of their kids and dogs. I really love that; (b) my belly dance community. It's wonderful, and we communicate exclusively via Facebook.

So I stay. But I'm not always happy about it.

But let's circle back to Twitter. I reignite my presence over there right before the Conclave starts. I begin to follow a bunch of Catholic organizations, publications, news agencies, and people. I get lots of quick, up-to-the-minute bits of information. I am delighted by the @conclavechimney/@conclaveseagull episode. I get quick clarification of the who the new pope is and what name he took (my confidence in my ability to understand Latin? WAY OVERRATED.)

I find that I love Twitter.

I write and retweet what I want over there, I feel free to be as Catholic as my little heart desires. And you know what? Nobody makes nasty comments. Following somebody on Twitter does not require their consent, so you can follow or stop following somebody on a whim. And you know what? Nobody will know or care. I have very few followers, but if the number goes up or down by a few in a day, I really can't tell. And if I do notice that the number has changed, I couldn't tell you who is new and who left. And yeah, I also don't care. :)

It's not nearly as personal in that way as Facebook. If I do notice on Facebook that somebody has unfriended me, I can't help but wonder why and feel somewhat slighted. It's most likely because I used to interact with that person in real life, no longer do, and don't necessarily have a pressing reason to keep in touch with them, but all the same, you feel a bit wounded. "Gee, that belly dancer took me off her friends list. Did she just not care to keep up with me? Or did I do something to offend her?!" On Twitter? I rarely even go to the list of who is following me. If I lose a follower I just assume it's because what I Tweet about didn't turn out to be what he or she was looking for. Easy come, easy go.

I feel very free to be me over at Twitter, very much the way I feel on this blog. And that is a good thing.

So, I've been continuing to Tweet and am loving it. I'm not going to list my Twitter handle here, simply because it incorporates my last name (why did I do that?! sigh). But if you'd like to follow me, leave a comment with your email address (which I will not publish) and I'll send it to you. And if you don't want to follow me, I'm totally not offended. :)

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