alycewilson (alycewilson) wrote,

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Motherhood and Microblogging

An old friend of mine has often questioned the relevance of microblogging: posting status updates on Facebook or tweets on Twitter. I spent a lot of time trying to explain to him the appeal of a fly-by way of expressing quick thoughts, but he remained unimpressed. Now that I'm the mom of a very active toddler, I have some new thoughts on the subject.

First, I should emphasize that I'm not trying to convert anyone to be a more frequent Facebook poster or Twitter user (where I'm @alycewilson). If the platforms don't appeal to you, or if you're annoyed by the constantly changing Facebook interface, by all means stay away. But lately, I've found that Facebook and Twitter help me maintain my otherwise wilting relationships with both online and offline friends.

Life was relatively easy when my Kung Fu Panda was just a little cub, curling up on my chest for hours at a time. I could set my laptop on a tray table and type away while he snored. As soon as he started moving around, there were new considerations. While he can happily occupy himself for a considerable period of time by playing with his trucks or "reading" aloud his board books in Baby Babble, he may take a tumble, whine for an unreachable toy, or even try to climb into my lap where, instead of cuddling quietly, he twists around, tries to climb me, or hits buttons on my keyboard. Definitely an obstacle to lengthy posts!

On a good day, once you subtract the time it takes for my thrice weekly exercise classes, running errands, mealtimes, naptimes, and housework, I usually get only about two hours to focus on writing projects and social networking. Those two hours, of course, are oft interrupted by my Junior Explorer. If I have a paying writing assignment due that day, or a writing assignment for the playwriting class I've been taking lately, I don't have time for a typical blog post. What's more, I definitely don't have time to read through my Friends page to find out what everyone else is up to.

I do, however, have time to drop a bon mot (or deux) on Facebook. In addition, I can ask friends for feedback on article ideas, sound them out about parenting difficulties, and share a super-abbreviated update on what I'm doing. If it takes me nearly my entire two-hour window (which it often does, thanks to KFP) to complete a writing project, I can still skim my Facebook Wall or look at my Twitter feed, find out what my friends are up to, and share my thoughts with them.

Lately, I only manage to read my F-list about once a week, usually while my husband is driving and we're going somewhere together. Now that I have an HTC Inspire Android phone, I can check Livejournal, Facebook and Twitter on the fly. What's more, in both platforms you can tag a certain friend to be certain they are notified about a given post. But while I've found that many F-list friends are miffed if people don't read and respond regularly (I'm sure I've been defriended by some, but I have that notification turned off: no need to make myself feel worse!), there is no expectation on Facebook and Twitter that you read every word. It's a lot easier to deal with those lower expectations than it is to constantly feel like a slacker of a friend.

My position is unique in that I make my main money doing transcription work in the evening, while my husband, The Gryphon, watches KFP. While other SAHMs can look forward to a little downtime at night while their toddlers sleep, I am working or sleeping during those blissful quiet hours.

While I plan to start building my CV to gradually reenter the academic world as a writing instructor, for the next several years at least, I'm going to have a similar schedule. And since I intend to try to pursue more writing opportunities, my time for blogging is going to remain somewhat limited. I may start writing mini-posts, where I share just a couple paragraphs on whatever comes to mind. I may also start using the "drive-by" approach to my F-list, where I check in when the moment presents itself and read whatever I have time to read (my apologies to all the rest). By all means, if you've had some major life developments going on or a recent post you'd like to share, please let me know in the comments.

The truth is, I miss those heady LJ days, when my mailbox was filled with responses to things I'd written or comments I'd made, when connections with friends I'd met online made the world seem smaller, more friendly. I certainly haven't, and won't, forget you all, but I hope you'll forgive me for being a bit scattered for a while.

Lengthy blog posts are a great way to get your toddler to climb you like Mt. Mommy.

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Tags: blogging, kung fu panda, parenting, writing

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