February 9, 2012 in Washington Voices

Front Porch: Tweeter atwitter over notoriety

By Correspondent

When Spokesman-Review columnist/blogger Dave Oliveria started bugging me about Twitter, I scoffed at the notion that I needed any more social media in my life. Facebook already ate up too much of my time.

Oliveria insisted that Twitter is far more valuable than Facebook when it comes to tracking and reporting breaking news.

However, the only breaking news I usually cover is when I break a fingernail. Yet as more and more of my media friends started jumping on the Twitter-wagon, I wondered if I might be missing out.

So, in October, I grudgingly took the plunge. The hardest part of setting up my account involved describing who I am and what I do, in 160 characters or less, for my Twitter bio. And the bio space allows for 20 more characters than a tweet. This medium is all about brevity, and I’m rather fond of words.

Flash forward three months and suddenly yours truly is an award-winning, title-bearing, celebrity-noticed twit. Or tweep. I still haven’t mastered the lingo.

How did this happen to a novice, you may ask? Well, I’m not exactly sure. It certainly isn’t my capacity for following or reporting breaking news. The Twitterverse moves at hyper speed, and I’m definitely a tortoise in this world.

All I know, is I gave up trying to be relevant and stuck with what works for me: irrelevance with a dash of irreverent. I tweeted about my cats, my kids, football, writing, the weather and other “fascinating” topics. I studiously avoided trending stories or people.

And then it happened. I got a tweet from local radio station, Coyote Country, saying, “We love your tweets and we’d like to give you free Dutch Bros coffee.”

My first MAJOR AWARD. Temporarily rendered speechless, I basked in the glory of this mention, and then hastily composed an acceptance speech. It’s very hard to thank your agent, your cats, your spouse and God in 140 characters or less. But I persevered – even though it took six tweets to get it all out.

Within days, I received a coffee gift card from the station along with a postcard proclaiming “You Are A Winner.” How’s that for validation?

Then Matthew Modine came to town. You’d have to live under a rock to not have heard about Modine’s visit. The “Vision Quest” actor came for the Spokane International Film Festival and to help raise funds for the Milk Bottle and Ferguson’s Cafe, two Spokane landmarks badly damaged in a September blaze. Both locations were featured in the 1985 movie.

Media outlets buzzed with Modine sightings and I couldn’t resist buzzing right along with them. In the Twitterverse, if you especially like what someone has to say, you can mark it as a favorite. This affirmation shows up on your newsfeed complete with a gold star. Wouldn’t you know it? Modine favorited one of my tweets.

Of course, I immediately shared the “breaking news” via Twitter. And from there the tweet-love blossomed, as Modine favorited more and more of my tweets, prompting me to mull giving up journalism altogether to pursue a career in celebrity tweeting.

Sadly, Modine had to leave town and I didn’t even get to meet him. But he did agree to have waffles on me (but not necessarily ON me) when next he comes to Spokane.

I didn’t have much time to mourn his departure, because another local radio station, Rock 94 1/2, named me Miss Twitterpated 2012. I finally have a title to go with my tiara! I’m not yet sure what the duties of my office will entail, but I’ve vowed to uphold them with the honor and the dignity they deserve.

Obviously, my use of Twitter isn’t quite what Oliveria had in mind when he urged me to explore this brave new world. But then again, he hasn’t garnered a title through tweeting, and I doubt that he’ll be having waffles with Matthew Modine any time soon.

Contact Cindy Hval at dchval@juno.com. Her previous columns are available online at www.spokesman.com/columnists. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/#!/cindyhval.

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