Given that I’m a writer, and on a laptop every day, some folks may be surprised to learn that I used to have zero interest in social media.
The fact of the matter is that I was blissfully happy without any of it.
Well into the 1990s, I read newspapers to see what was going on around the world. For work, I carried around a narrow reporter’s notebook, and did my research at libraries, where I scrounged through reference books, microfiche
I didn’t learn how to email until 1998, when I accepted a job where the task was forced on me. I immediately took to it.
I loved email. I no longer needed to send a letter to make contact, or even pick up a phone to communicate. I no longer worried about time differences. Best of all, I could do interviews this way, which gave my subject time to formulate thoughtful responses to my questions
Still, old ways die hard.
Maybe that’s why I didn’t join Facebook until more than a decade later.
Even then, the site seemed to be a massive time thief; who cared about the cutest kitten, or how to make easy pizza crust? But during one week in 2009, five folks I knew sent me invites to “friend” them.
I took that as a sign, and took the plunge.
Quickly, I figured out that Facebook was another way to not only do research, but to find new stories and clients. I was also able to reconnect with folks from my past—a sixth grade classmate who always sat in the back of the room, where he incessantly sketched hot rods; a dear friend who helped me navigate New York City, and relatives I hadn’t seen in decades.
Almost as an afterthought, it also became a platform for trading opinions and links with like-minded people.
Yet, I only got on Twitter three years ago.
There was just one reason to do so: it was a way to promote this writing blog. It still is, but also, I could “follow” folks whose opinions and expertise are those that I trust and admire.
These persons—John Dean, Maggie Haberman and Michael Avenatti among them—have the background, resources and experience which, every day, are helping me navigate our troubling times.
Their tweets often make me angry and sad, but sometimes, hopeful. That’s all okay, because I also see that millions of others feel the same, and like me, are working hard to effect change. Just knowing this keeps me sane.
Right now, I don’t feel the need to join Instagram or Snapchat, sites that my 20-year-old daughter prefers.
Maybe it’s because there’s enough information on Facebook and Twitter to keep me determined to fight as hard as I can for our country.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’d love to get back to writing posts about puppies and recipes and vacations (and occasionally, I still do). For now, though, I will keep up with news that, in these astonishing times, is often difficult to comprehend. I’ll also continue to share and retweet important information, because the bottom line is that it’s my duty as
Thanks to social media, my activism has soared.
For this, I am grateful.