It started with this Far Side cartoon, about “luposlipaphobia” which has always been one of my favorites. In case you can’t read the below, luposlipaphobia is defined as : The fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table whilst wearing socks on a newly waxed floor. Obvious right? I mean, we’ll ALL had it at one time or another.
I’m not sure the date of this, but it must be early 80’s because I still have a hand written letter (in orange felt pen from a science classroom) from my friend high school Alison, wherein she enumerates several other phobias. Sadly, in the post hurricane/earthquake/tsunami/apocalypse/dystopian-televised-teen-death-match/magic-battle-between-good-and-evil that I call my office, I can’t find it. BUT, I do remember at least one of the brilliant ripostes that I came up with. I remember it, because it’s a real thing and I use it often: perspectotripophobia – the fear of new glasses.
Later on, Gary Larson expanded on this meme (before the idea of memes was even invented I think) with this: Anatidaephobia – The fear that somewhere, some how, a duck is watching you
Anyway, yesterday I noticed I was on Twitter at the same time that one of my idols, Margaret Atwood was tweeting. I felt all tingly inside, and tweeted how I liked it, referring to her @MargaretAtwood. Then I got nervous because my tweet was pretty uninspiring. So I obsessed about it for awhile and came back with this tweet: “Caniconigenitweetophobia: the fear that somewhere, somehow, @MargaretAtwood is reading your tweets”
Well, imagine my excitement (and my enjoyment of the irony) when @MargaretAtwood retweeted my tweet to over 300,000 followers. And many of her followers retweeted or favorited too. Now this didn’t cause any huge landslide of followers or anything, nor did it secure me a book deal, an interview with Ellen, an Oprah special or an invitation to Perez Hilton’s birthday party (all of which I deserve BTW), but it was a bit of a thrill, from someone’s whose one and only in person meeting with Ms. Atwood was a dismal failure (on my part).
Anyway, again, it got me thinking of all the good reasons everyone, but especially aspiring or up and coming authors should tweet writers they admire.
1. It’s fun!
2. It’s a great way to keep track of what you’ve read. My book tweets are something I can look back on to remember what I’ve read and what I thought of it.
3. They tweet back or retweet you which is exciting and fun, but also helps to build your profile.
4. Finally, and most importantly, it makes THEM feel good. It’s very easy to assume that Margaret Atwood and her few equals are always confident and self assured about their work. After all they have millions, best sellers, movies and prizes. How could they doubt themselves? Well, I’m pretty sure Ms. Atwood is a human being, and we all know she is the epitome of a writer. Ergo, she has some bad days, I’m almost certain. Maybe she won’t read every “I LOVED HANDMAID’S TALE SO MUCH I COULD VOMIT” tweet, but then again, maybe a tweet like that will make her day when she’s feeling, you know, that writer thing we all feel once in a while.
I’m a recent convert to Twitter. The absence of pointless games is one thing that puts it ahead of Facebook for me. It’s also given me a chance to focus Twitter on my professional life, while Facebook is for my personal life. I like the constraints of 140 characters. As a sometimes poet, and screenwriter, conciseness pleases me.
Tweet on people. Follow me. No, really, follow me; I have the key to the headmaster’s liquor cabinet.
Who have YOU tweeted?