Monday, October 25, 2010

What I Learned Late Night at the Twitter Party or: How I Am Learning to Love Technology, Slowly

Although I blog often, I rarely tweet. And a year ago, I was a staunch techno-phobe. So what changed?
Perhaps I am a realist and it's been clear for a decade or so that on-line communication is here to stay. No one ever said I was a trend setter. 

So I was surprised and pleased and a little scared when poet Deb Ager of 32 Poems contacted me to be part of the twitter party along with Kelli Agodon, Amiee Nez, Colin Kelly, D. A. Powell,  and January O'Neil.

Kelli blogged this morning on what she learned and you can read her comments here. I agree with her insights and thought I would add some of my own.

I am not a party girl, but I do love  a long and rambling conversation. Usually, if I  make it out to a "gathering" then you can find me in the kitchen washing paper plates. Therefore,  the words twitter + party together were rather intimidating ---but since I was invited and am in to having new experiences, I said yes. I'm so glad I did. It's as if I've become a pioneer, exploring the open west.

1. How is a twitter party like a face to face party?

I met new people. Over virtual cocktails I chatted with a woman interested in putting her manuscript together. I suggested she look at Ordering the Storm - an anthology of essays about putting a book together. She seemed interested. Other folks kept dropping by and added to the conversation. I learned that Colin Kelly and I like many of the same movies. I learned January O'Neil and I share a love of Elizabeth Bishop. All of this made me happy.

2. In what ways is a twitter party perhaps better than a Halloween Party? 

No need to dress up! No worries that you will be judged by the way you look or because you've got a sore throat and sound like a camel jockey. It's what you say that's important - and perhaps how fast you type and if you remember to put the "hash tag" at the end of the tweet.

3. How was it structured?

Deborah Ager contacted each of us and asked if we'd be interested in an on-line experiment. She prepared questions for us that she released into the party at different times -- sort of the equivalent of changing albums on a stereo. Anyone else at the party could also ask a question such as, "Do you write first in notebooks or directly on the computer" or "Have you any advice for putting a manuscript together"? Here is a transcript of the entire hour right here.

4. What might make this new experience one that will remain in the culture?

I love how democratic the party was. Anyone was welcome to join us who heard about it via one of our blogs or even at The Rumpus where a small article went up Sunday. There was a sense that anything could happen as the conversations started to fly. Best of all was D. A. Powell's project that allowed for a creative performance aspect to our event. As Kelli Agodon states in her post, perhaps using twitter parties as a way to do collaborative writing is what I found most exciting. It reminds me of the automatic writing exercises of the surrealists --- only with more possibilities.

Stay tuned for more parties ...


  1. I should admit that I have tweeted a number of your blogposts, before discovering your twitter handle. You might want to add to your blog's sideblog a Twitter icon.

    I lurked a bit last night, as time allowed, to find out what kind of #poetparty it was. I found some new poets to follow on Twitter, which always pleases me.

  2. @ Maureen, Add my sidehandle to my blog? Is that what you mean? I can do that!