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Things Biz Stone Told Me (Part One)

I didn’t actually sit down and have a conversation with Biz Stone, but I read his book Things a Little Bird Told Me.  I’ve been chewing over a bunch of ideas I read in the book, and I want to share three of them with all of you so you can chew on this wad, too.  My G-d.  That sounded really gross.

So, the first thought that grabbed me came on page 118:

We all have many different options for contacting people electronically: email, text, IMs, Tweets.  There is a time and a place for each.  When a plane lands in the Hudson in front of you, that’s a Tweet.  That’s the ultimate Tweet.  You don’t email a friend that.  You tweet it.

He’s referring to a Tweet sent by a man who was on the ferry the day the plane crashed in the Hudson River.  He was up close, and took a photo of the people standing on the wing of the downed plane.

So I read those lines in Stone’s book and then thought, “I wouldn’t have emailed it or tweeted it.”


Image: Twitter via Flickr

It’s not just which medium you choose to share information or images: do you blog it or email it or Tweet it?  It’s what you curate to appear online and what you leave behind in your brain.  Because there are millions of things that don’t end up… anywhere.  Not in a blog post or a Tweet or a Facebook update.  I don’t email it or text it.

Sometimes I don’t put it down anywhere because I know it’s mundane.  I don’t think anyone else cares that I’m doing a load of laundry.  I don’t think any of you care to know about even the more exciting loads of laundry; like the ones where I mistakenly put in something that bleeds dye all over the rest of the clothes.  I may be wrong.  You may have been waiting for a laundry tweet for years.  But I’m willing to risk that.

Sometimes I don’t put it down… even though I could?  Because it’s interesting enough?  Interesting stuff happens here.  We have dinner with authors you probably know or we go to cool places.  And those sorts of things make interesting stories and interesting images.  And yet… I don’t know.  I just don’t do anything with them.  I don’t blog it.  I don’t Tweet it.  I just… don’t use it.  And I don’t really think about it.  It just doesn’t occur to me to put the story or image out there.

I sense from the book that I may be a bit of a letdown for Biz Stone.

Back when I wrote my college essays, I curated out the most interesting things that had happened to me before the age of seventeen.  And I wrote passionate essays about my life up until that point.  But curation now takes place in real time.  As I’ve said before, blogging is writing your memoir in real time.  I’m trying not to bore you AND I’m trying not to put anything online that I could regret in the future.  I’m not even talking about regret in the embarrassing sense of the word.  I’m talking about having regrets over giving too much of myself away and not retaining enough of myself just for myself.

Is there any sense to what you share or don’t share?  And is your instinct usually to aim wide with Twitter or to hold moments close, sharing them via text or an email?


1 a { 09.09.14 at 10:03 am }

I don’t share much. And I usually prefer to target my audience directly through email or text. Or blog comments.

Biz Stone would find me to be utterly incomprehensible. My friends, however, find me useful because they can confide in me and I will either forget it immediately or keep it to myself and not share it anywhere else.

2 Living the Dream { 09.09.14 at 3:29 pm }

I enjoy putting my self out there through blogging. It helps me thin out the overcrowding of my thoughts. I’ve learned through writing, the more of myself I share on my blog, the better I understand myself and the braver I become in being my truer self in real life. Excellent food for thought post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

3 charlotte { 09.09.14 at 4:06 pm }

Lol…”chew on this wad” When I read it I was like oh, Ewww.

4 Queenie { 09.09.14 at 9:06 pm }

I love your last few sentences–totally agree.

I like Twitter, but I’m not using it right now. I miss getting breaking news via Twitter, but I don’t at all miss Tweeting. I still use FB and blog, but I mostly use FB to catch up on what OTHER people are doing, rather than post things myself. I blog about the mundane, because I need to process it, and that works for me. And the most interesting things in my life, the ones people would probably like to read? I don’t post them publicly, pretty much ever. I kind of feel like the whole point of FB is to create a highly curated highlight reel for the sake of other people: look at my beautiful house/children/husband/vacation/etc/blah blah/etc. I can’t be bothered. I did some work with a famous political figure recently, and have some photos of the event. I have to say, in the shots of us together, we look pretty fabulous. I emailed them to my parents, because I thought they’d get a kick out of them, but that was it. Because, why do anything else, really? I know for some people, they would be all over Twitter and FB immediately, but it’s not exactly like I’M important because I’m standing next to someone famous or important. And it was work, so it wasn’t like it was special for me on a personal level.

Which is all to say, Biz Stone wouldn’t get me, either.

5 Persnickety { 09.10.14 at 2:11 am }

I tweet things sometimes, but I don’t often look at my twitter feed, so I am a bad twitter user. I rarely use facebook, or google plus. Mostly if I am using them it is because I have an interesting picture/thought I want to share, but i don’t want to text it to five people, so I tweet instead. Or ( and this is the primary one) I am out with y husband and he is madly social media-ing and making hurty face that I am not reciprocating. You can track my leisure activities through his social media, but not vice versa

6 Turia { 09.10.14 at 6:56 am }

Wow. It wouldn’t even have occurred to me to take a picture of that plane, let alone Tweet it. It would have felt like a violation of the people who were in that life-threatening emergency situation.

So I am not on Twitter. And I am on Facebook, but 95% of the time I go only for my birth club (where I am trying to be more conscious of what I post because it is still f/b, even though it feels like 60 women having a gab over wine/coffee.)

With blogging I tend to use it as a dumping ground for things I need to process/work through (usually PhD or family building related) as well as a place to preserve funny things that happen with E. But I am always thinking about his privacy too, and there are a lot of things in our lives that never get mentioned anywhere on the Internet.

I am (under my real first name) part of a group of blogger for a parenting site and I am a bad bad blogger there because I keep getting paralyzed when I try to find the balance between blogging enough about myself (and E.) to keep it interesting, but not giving away so much I’ve exposed his life to the world when he can’t yet tell me what he doesn’t want me to share.

7 A. { 09.10.14 at 4:47 pm }

The way I see it, we live in a culture (America) where there is a pressure to be positive, positive, POSITIVE all the freakin time. Acknowledging the sh*tty side of life is a quick way to become a pariah, so that stuff’s not wise to share. However, if you filter your experiences to only post the cool/good stuff, then you look like a braggart. If you post content that smacks of having an opinion, then you’re a loudmouth. It’s such a catch 22 to me such that the safest thing is to share nothing at all, yet I have so many people who have moved away from ‘home,’ making social networking a place to stay more connected. I throw my hands up and try to care less about what people think, but that begs the question why I don’t delete 80% of my “friends.”

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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