I’m not sure of my reason for this, but in December 2013 I set up a Twitter account. Previously, I might have looked and thought that’s something for the future, perhaps even when I retire. Curiosity got the better of me this time and, I’m hooked. I know that previously I’d rather enjoyed a sense of anonymity, even invisibility in the social media world, no Facebook or LinkedIn. But now my Twitter self is real and out there in the Twittersphere. It makes me feel a little crazy as this is not what I do!
However, as you can see I am not only learning to walk and talk in the Twittersphere I’m also ‘cruising’ the blogging galaxy. In the way that infants move around upright while holding onto furniture as they’re learning to walk, I’m holding onto my paper and pen. I am at the playing and enjoying stage, but is there, or should there be anything else? I am already beginning to feel that there might be, and that I will soon want to exchange my large, bright building blocks for jigsaws, Lego or even discover their online equivalents.
As I discover more about Twitter and my Twitter self, I’ve begun a period of reflection. Parten’s stages of play have been useful in helping me structure my thoughts as they uncannily mirror how I’ve approached and enacted my Twitter self. The initial 4 stages (unoccupied, solitary, onlooker and parallel) focus upon solitary, individual play, whilst the following 2 stages describe developments of socially aware and mature play. I feel that my Twitter self is working through the initial 4 stages and, it’s spooky as it’s almost as if Mildred Parten is sitting on the sofa beside me, describing my actions. As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of the ghostly presence of Elspeth in Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’, a presence that communicates by writing in dust, but that’s for another time.
Parten would be able to see my infrequent, random, unfocussed activities searching for Twitterings, asking a librarian to advise on good ’How to….’ books. I became a bit of a Twitter voyeur, which reminds me of James Stewart’s wheelchair bound photographer in Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’. I lost hours to this activity and, as cats are sensitive to their servants being preoccupied with other things, my lioness size Maine Coon, would sneak up and leap onto my lap, knocking everything off balance, including my toys.
I now spend some of my Twitter time in ‘Parallel’ play, as I’ve retweeted, favoured and crafted a few personal tweets and, made a few mistakes.I can’t wait to move onto Parten’s final 2 stages of cooperative and associative play, described as characteristics of a socially mature child. My son says that I’m displaying signs of a true Tweeter, as I told him I was thinking of tweeting Commander Hadfield about the metallised thermal socks advertised as based on those developed for NASA astronauts. I haven’t twittered as yet as I’m still playing in a solitary way!