Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

It is grand to be able to spend every lunch hour on the back porch eating our sandwiches and enjoying Mother Nature’s show in our back yard. Squirrels are doing sophisticated Chinese acrobatic moves while attacking the hanging bird feeder. Our birds—the bluebirds are back this year, a huge Robin Red Breast, an even larger Raven, (not a blackbird or even a crow), a lone dove, (lonesome, perhaps, lol ), a Mockingbird, and three unidentified large brown B52 bomber birds. They play and sing in harmonious tweets and twitters; the same that wake me each morning. I love birds and I love their tweets and twitters. I do not, however, Tweet myself. Nor do I “Twitter.” Do you? As much as I hear about this activity, I have never felt an urge to add that to my social media “platform.”
I admit that I love Facebook; I use Instagram, and I have had a long relationship with Pinterest, just haven’t had much time to spend with her lately (I have 593 new ideas waiting). I cannot imagine how folks can “follow” all those hashtags—whatever—posted out there by celebrities and politicians, much less by a huge stable of friends and family. My granddaughter Erin says she doesn’t use Twitter, but when I asked how many friends she had who did (maybe 200!) and when she was most likely to Tweet, if she ever did, she said nighttime. She is 17. Bill, who is much older said he had no idea how Twitter even worked (and didn’t care).
The most popular time for Twitter users is 3 p.m. Who knows why? Anyway, my grandson Carter who is almost 21 and a sophomore at Ga Tech said he only uses Instagram (mostly to keep up with his girlfriend in college in South Georgia ). Never uses Twitter. My daughter, his mom, a bit older than the Millenniums, ehhum, does not do Twitter either. In fact it is those 25 and younger who dominate Twitter feeds. Twenty-four percent of users are women, 23 are men. Close. Forty-one percent of women enjoy Pinterest, while only 16 percent of men have discovered how great that App is!
Who has time for all this Social Media App stuff anyway? We all know that if we just go to Facebook to look at a new posting of our great niece’s new baby, time will fly by and before we know it we are following a travelogue of our friend Jim’s vacation to Peru! And then I am late, for something! I am always late for something.
The guys, while not as addicted to Pinterest, are hanging out on YouTube (75 percent of users are men, vs 72 of women). I enjoy that as well. You can go to YouTube to learn to do just about anything, from dancing the Foxtrot to building a shed for the back yard. I love Ted Talks; they are just the best. Amazing lectures on anything imaginable and motivational talks, too. Do try those.
A recent Pew Research Survey showed a number of interesting facts about Twitter users. First, five hundred million Tweets are sent daily. Yep. Five Hundred Million! But 80 percent of those do not come from America. Do the math, then. Is that 20 million for Americans…every day? I’m a little rusty. Most of those 20 million are concerned with Sports and Entertainment, not Politics or Current Events.
Paige Cooper is a writer for the Hootsuite Blog site (cute name, isn’t it…remember the game Tootsweet, played with real Tootsie rolls). She shared much of the information above and also tells us that the Laugh/Cry Face is the Most Popular Emoji used in Tweets, second place is that weird one with two big ole hearts for eyes! Information I’m sure you have been longing to hear. She also writes that there has been a 50 percent increase in ad “engagements” between 2017 and 2018. Oh no! Seems like that is true for every site you visit. Most are the result of “Bot” Accounts saturating your computer with ads for things they “Know You Will Just Love” because they KNOW what you have queried or have shopped for. Spooky. An invasion is underway; our privacy is nonexistent.
While polls say Twitter is preferred over Facebook…get your news faster, like RightNow! FB is a more intimate way of sharing, and while the news feeds are slower on FB, and not as “up to the minute,” they are more in depth. The “microblogging services” like Twitter provide a new way for scholars to interact with each other and to educate the public. An example of this was how Twitter was used in the Flint water crisis in Michigan (Zhao D. Rosson MB). OK. So, I guess I might get a Twitter account if we ever have some kind of crisis that requires up to the minute news that I am unable to get on TV, still my favorite source of news and information. How To shows feed my imagination and my desire to connect with other more talented people than I am and who I can learn from. Renovation shows like “Home Town” is a perfect example.
Unlike Twitter, or FaceBook or even YouTube, the most wonderful thing about TV is that if it is turned down really low and the folks on the screen are rebuilding what should have been a teardown, you can nap right through it. I always used to love to go to sleep to the voices of my mom and dad discussing whatever it was they discussed back then. Didn’t you? Such a feeling of security, serenity, and with nothing required of me. Sigh. Takes me back. Sweet.
The findings from stats on Pew Research also suggest that this generation in particular are so immersed, so dependent on Social Media for “personal” contact that they are in danger of losing all those communication skills necessary for positive human relationships. Would not surprise me to see the next generation with iPhone models imbedded in the palm of their hands. Science Fiction? Hope so.