Taking Up Twitter for Lent

twitter-large-imageI’ve written about it before. My total contempt for technology. Brandon has always tried to get me to understand its value and benefits while I have always focused on the damage it does.

He can’t blame me too much. I was in college when social media started making the move from AOL Instant Messenger to Facebook. Texting was just picking up speed, too. Then I went to working with undocumented immigrants where I saw that U.S. consumerism was convincing some of them to spend money on useless extravagances like fancy phones with data plans instead of sending the money back to their families or saving it. Then I went on to working with high schoolers where I come to find out that most teenagers consider texting a hobby and spend hours a day doing it. And don’t even get me started on parents letting their kids have phones with unrestricted access to the Internet. Paired with people who text or answer phone calls in the middle of face-to-face conversations, it’s not hard to understand my aversion to gadgets and social media.

I have known my husband for almost a decade, and in that time we have argued about technology a lot. He is always on the cutting edge of the latest and greatest while I wish my phone didn’t text or have a camera. His Twitter username is @Kraft. I mean, he was so early to that party that he even beat out Kraft Foods, which had to take @kraftfoods because @Kraft was already taken.

Now our kids are on his side. They love playing with grandpa’s iPad, and if they could play Fruit Ninja all day they would.

I keep fighting the uphill battle trying to shelter my family from this stuff and pretty much denying that it exists. This results in two very bad things: #1 My kids love gadgets even more because it is such a treat (kind of like if your mom never let you eat one bit of candy, when you go to a friend’s house with candy you totally OD on it), and #2 I become very resentful of Brandon any time I catch him on Twitter or Facebook or other social media website. It is producing some unhealthy things in our household.

While I was contemplating these problems in our family, a friend wrote a post about children and social media. Basically, you have to teach your children how to use technology and social media, otherwise they won’t have a fighting chance at having a healthy relationship with it. Social media isn’t going to go away. There is no way that the world will go back to the 1990s when no one wanted phones/pagers because it meant you were either a drug dealer or Zach Morris.

Long story short, I joined Twitter (@LaLuped). Brandon was almost giddy as he set me up with an account. He explained “twitter speak” to me so all these @ signs make sense. When you sign up Twitter forces you to “follow” 10 people. My 10 were mostly @Pontifex, the Austin newspaper, and such. All in all it’s going well. It’s difficult getting used to the pressure of being witty in so few characters. We are actually communicating better. This weekend I went to the farmer’s market with little Lina. Lina and I bought a doughnut to split but I didn’t tell Brandon since we didn’t buy him or Olivia one. I tweeted about it. Then from the other room I hear Brandon say “Hey! You got a doughnut?!” I guess that’s the end of online secrets.

The plan right now is only to tweet for Lent. I’m hoping this helps me understand my husband better and helps me understand the world of social media better. But don’t worry, I’m not completely changing. Our girls are not getting iPads tomorrow, but I have to be somewhat “of the world” if I’m going to teach my girls how to be part of it.

So here goes nothing. I’ll report back after Easter to see how things turned out.


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