Twitter is an online platform where I find myself being how I want to be when I want to be. It's a social media environment where I happily interact with hundreds of unseen followers and online friends. For many of my friends (my real life friends who I personally know), Twitter is an anathema to them. They do not understand the possibilities that Twitter can hold for meaningful, relevant and hugely enjoyable human interaction. I do not criticise them for their mistrust of this method of communication because we come from an age where friendships are borne out of face to face interaction.
I joined Twitter in 2008, primarily to promote the Sea Glass jewellery I was making at the time. I quickly found myself immersed in the quick-fire style of communicating with the realisation that it was easy to express my thoughts and feelings openly and honestly to a wider world, who were generally open to these in a supportive and sympathetic way. I also discovered that we are inherently interested in each other. We are fascinated by the lives that others lead and equally, we gain much from the interest that others show in us. Well, this is true for me.
I steer away from politics and matters of controversy on my Twitter timeline. I enjoy a wide following from folks with a wide range of view points and beliefs. While I don't agree with many, I respect the frames of reference that they have. I sometimes cringe when I read what some folks post and there have been times when my fingers have hovered over my keyboard as I tussle over whether to respond or not. I generally take a step back and do not wade into hotly contested debates, such as they are on Twitter. Only when I may have been probed by someone who has managed to press my buttons do I reply with a carefully balanced and hopefully reasonable response. I definitely steer clear of personal criticism. It's the point of view I hope I challenge.
My Twitter name is "LifeAfloat" and through my feed I share as much of my life living on a yacht in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull as I feel comfortable with. I focus on my sea kayaking exploits, generalities about life aboard, island life, simple living and of course sharing the beauty of my surroundings through countless photographs. Sometimes I may talk of concerns I have about the environment and the disconnect humanity has with Nature. I will rarely write about political matters only choosing to do so when I'm outraged by decisions to go to war or glaring political incompetence.
Recently I've come to notice that my tweeting demeanour has taken on an air of a "Grumpy Old Man". This is both rather funny and rather alarming. Funny because I am becoming the grump I often joke about and alarming because in being grumpy, I lose perspective of the realities. The latter is a Tweeting position I do not want to adopt - at all. I hate to think that I've become what I find distasteful in Twitter - opinionated ranting.
I guess I'm simply expressing a personal point of view which I'm perfectly entitled to do. Somehow though, I feel that in tweeting a rant like post, I'm inviting people to align with me and join in with the ranting and the sense of indignation. I do not offer a solution and neither do I follow these tweets up with a reasoned explanation. I put them out there and sit back, initially with a sense of self-satisfaction and then a growing despair when my unjustified grumpiness dawns on me.
Below are two recent examples of grumpy tweets which I blurted out. It's interesting to note that they both garnered a fair response in 'likes', 'replies' and 'retweets'. These levels of responses are more normally reserved for my tweets where I've shared lovely photos
I seem to have touched a nerve with many folks with these tweets and certainly, most of the responses I received echoed my points of view. There were just a few who disagreed with me and offered a different way of looking at these matters. I was both pleased by the attention these tweets received and shocked that I could be so outspoken. In the grand scheme of things, what I wrote was neither earth shattering or of any great importance, so there really isn't much use in me worrying about this. However, I do worry that emboldened by the attention these types of Tweets receive, I might find myself increasingly Tweeting erratic judgemental ramblings and have some of my loyal followers shaking their heads in bemusement and sadness.
I certainly would if it were me!