in 2009, after spending much time auditioning many, many web tools, i learned and put into use hootsuite, evernote, dropbox, amazon s3, skype, delicious library, things for task management, scrivener for writing, process for outlining and braindancing projects. i rejoined facebook, set up a flickr account, learned how to create and post a video via vimeo. i researched, learned, and began to use these and many other web tools, but hands-down the best web tool of 2009 is twitter.

far from being a top gun or even a squirt gun on twitter, i am learning my way around and have made some good friends – some very good friends – there. in one of our getting-to-know-each-other email conversations, karen introduced me to havi and her post on finding your right people. my right people are on twitter – i’m sure of it – and to think that i would not know my tribe had i thought myself out of participating in gwen bell’s best of 09 blog challenge.

twitter folks are some of the most encouraging and supportive people i’ve ever happened to come across. so many seem to enjoy learning and sharing bits they find intriguing, interesting, informative. though i’m still learning twitter etiquette (i’m up to question #2768 to my manchild), i am mightily impressed with the good manners that prevail even in a world of 140 characters. “thank you” tweets come across my screen with delicious frequency, and every time i see one, i pause and think of somebody i can thank on twitter or off.

i enjoy the easy, non-obligatory rhythm of twitter – need to miss a few hours or days? no pressure. just rejoin when ready and pick up where you left off without feeling the need to go back and catch up on everything you missed. there’s no getting behind on twitter, and that’s a big relief.

i especially like the way twitter is shaping my thinking skills, helping me think crisply, with brevity, succinctly distilling my thoughts down to the essential. i have, however, read so many blog posts about how twitterers will not waste their time with anything but witty, sharp repartee, i do have a tendency to think myself into silence, even though these same folks also say they will not follow anybody who doesn’t post with regularity. “just listen to that smartass inner voice i know you have,” my manchild kipp (@lloyddobbler on twitter) tells me, “and take dictation.”

even having said that, twitter gives me 24/7 opportunities to take risks – to have my say and walk away without growing wrinkles and gray hair worrying too much about how my 140 strung-together characters will be received . . . something that is, of course, made easier given the small, miniscule number of followers i currently have. and while we’re talking about followers and following, a question: what is an acceptable discrepancy between the two? because i fear looking pathetic if i follow more than 32 times the number of followers i have at any given time, i’ve created a wait list of people i want to follow. i pick up a few followers, i follow a few more. that’s my system.

even though i know everybody has their own reasons for being on twitter, i sure do like the fact that so few people come across as hard-core, pushy, it’s-all-about-me sales people . . . even though i have noticed that some people have a tendency to send their own self-promotional tweets out several times an hour. but so few people do that, i just turn it into a game and make bets with myself about how many times those who do will post the same tweet in any given hour.

so, you see, twitter is more than distracting, clock-eating, short bursts of communication. yes, it’s so much, much more, and that’s why had i a red carpet and little gold statue (or a heavily-decorated cake with candles like the one in the picture) to award, it would go to – ta-da – twitter. (i would keep the goodie basket, though.) (i’m just sayin’.)

the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge

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