A Sound Bite World

By Karel Murray

Took a trip on Twitter…a virtual vacation for the purpose of learning as much as possible about this communication venue.  The process of sending an update to people who chose to follow your “streaming thoughts” is called Tweeting.  The first thing I thought when I heard the term Twitter was what people did on the long train ride as a scene in “The Music Man” written by Meredith Willson. Talk a lot, cheep, cheep cheep.  The passengers exchange information and gossip at an astounding rate as the train barrels forward to its destination.

I’m not far off base for understanding the intent of this social network.   Small bits of information tossed out to the virtual world and if you’re lucky, someone grabs onto the sound bite and decides to follow your comments.  It is internet blogging in short hand.

Reading a few of the tweets makes me realize exactly how old I am.  It truly is a brave new world out there and as a solidly placed baby boomer, I’m trying to adapt with as little personal anxiety as possible.

The first hurdle to get over…why would anyone care what I am doing at a particular moment?  My husband only checks in on me once a day, much less several times in a 10 hour period.  And in that single conversation with Rick, we cover all of the interesting and bland things that occurred during the day while enjoying a hot meal.  Glasses are clinked, jokes are exchanged and personal observations enjoyed.  Total time – 30 minutes.  How do I write about that in 140 characters?

The art of conversation, to me, is digging deep for the resonance of the relationship, not skittering across the surface like a water bug.  How can I best represent my thoughts on such a venue as Twitter without having the opportunity to develop a concept to its fullest?  I’ve received some interesting direct communications from people who have chosen to follow my Twitter entries and it is obvious they are aggressively looking to create a virtual relationship.

But, I don’t know them… another mental block I’m trying to get over.

Having been raised in an environment where you walk up to a person, shake their hand and look them in the eye while reading the body language is totally missing from the internet chatter.  I fully am aware that what is written on-line may be a total fabrication… or, it could represent exactly who that person is and sometimes I’m concerned about the other party’s mental stability.  Worse yet, shouldn’t they be concerned about mine?

Context and contact are the foundation on which solid relationships are built and I believe that is possible to do within the confines of Twitter and any other social network.  As a professional and a human being, we often harbor thoughts that we would never express to someone face to face.  Anonymity of the virtual world can actually set us free to share our true feelings and opinions.  Perhaps that is why more and more people are connecting online first before ever meeting.  Reading between the lines will become an art form and it is one I’m determined to master.

Our younger generation has not lost the ability to chat or hold a conversation.  They just do it with their thumbs on a smart device – sound bites of information delivered at lightning speed.  I’ve expanded my communication to my 30 year old son to texting and quite frankly, I feel closer.  Funny thing, I know he is on his phone and I can just call him, but there is something exciting about waiting for the “you got mail” bing on my phone.

Twitter and other networks will continue to evolve and I don’t plan on being left behind.  So, reach out and touch someone.  Here is a 139 character Twitter entry that sums up this entire article.

Twitter set us free to exchange ideas, concepts and recommendations in a quick and effective manner.  Sound bites to connect with purpose.

Huh.  I think The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly in the Plains! Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady would be proud of me. 

Karel Murray is a Certified Speaking Professional, author of “Hitting Our Stride: Women, Work and What Matters” and business trainer who helps women entrepreneurs and executives resolve interpersonal issues and balance their work/personal lives. Now, you can listen to her exciting, free interviews that will help you maintain and sustain a healthy business and a healthy lifestyle at https://www.JustForAMomentPodcast.com


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