I decided for unknown reasons that I should complicate my online life by becoming a tweeter. In case you’re reading this blog because of the “almost virgin” part of the headline, let me explain! I tweeted once in 2009 so I could say I’d done it, but never went back until now. My handle @schneiks was still there waiting for me.

As is my style, I did serious research including reading several books on twitter from Bookshare and taking a Hadley class on social media. Then I dove in and followed 70 organizations and individuals in the first week.

Hadley School for the Blind (www.hadley.edu) is a free correspondence school for blind students worldwide. Since they didn’t have my records from when I took German 2 from them fifty years ago, I had to re-register and prove I was blind. My guide dog’s picture wouldn’t do, so I had my friend who is the disability services director on campus write a note (on letterhead) saying that to the best of her knowledge I was blind. The course is a three lesson overview of social media with emphasis on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I found myself arguing about a multiple choice question (some things never change)! I did get some good info from the instructor. It also gave me that push to research and think about what role Twitter should play in my social media portfolio.

At first I’m just reading/lurking and occasionally re-tweeting. Somehow it’s easier to say more, as on Facebook, than to limit oneself to 140 characters. I’ve picked up a few followers from disability connections and friends. The majority of my followers are folks selling something from “a younger you” to porn to strange kinds of healing. Apparently if one doesn’t follow them back, they’ll eventually go away. I have used a couple tweets to start Facebook discussions like the fact that August 9th was booklovers’ day.

According to an author on Spokal for business owners, businesses (and presumably nonprofits as well) should: Blog 2x a week, Facebook 3x a week, and Tweet 5x a day. Huffington Post and the New York Times are definitely doing this and more in their tweets. Since I want to have an off-line life too, I reluctantly un-followed them after a day.

The sighted gal who reads to me easily set up my account, choosing a theme, importing a picture, etc. The only disappointment was the background of crows she thought she could choose just wouldn’t stay chosen. Just because you’re twenty-something doesn’t always mean technology works perfectly for you!

In my search for organizations to follow, I looked for blindness/disability groups, writers I like to see how much working writers tweet, and aging gracefully individuals. I also looked for tweeters who took their religion and/or their disabilities lightly. The picks so far in the humor category are @blindonion and @unvirtuousabbey. Your recommendations are welcome! Finding good stuff on Twitter seems like drinking from a fire hose; lots there, but you could drown. One thing I’d change if I were Queen of Twitter, I’d not let people tweet the same thing every two hours. Apparently people glance at their twitter feed, so the hard-core tweeters want to be sure you see their tweets in a glance so they keep rebroadcasting them.

I’ll leave you with a few favorite tweets I’ve found so far from @inspire_us:
“If the whole world was blind, how many people would you impress?”
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right for you’ll be criticized anyway”—Eleanor Roosevelt
“We are all lying in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.”—Oscar Wilde “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”– Dolly Parton