Despite masquerading as a fully paid-up participant of this club we call adulthood, there are times when I seem to mislay my membership card. The simplest things can prompt my regression: I spend a day with my family and revert to the role of truculent teenager; catch a glimpse of Take That from the 90’s and am reduced to tears as I mourn my relationship with Gary Barlow. (If only he realised how perfect we could have been together). I can now proudly add into this mix my latest retrogressive cue – Twitter. Having joined 9 months ago in the name of promoting the Bookaholic brand (if that doesn’t sound smugly adult, I don’t know what does) I find myself now exceptionally torn by my conflicting experiences so far. Does tweeting enhance my literary life? I really can’t decide.
There is something exceptionally cliquey about this particular form of social media that smacks just a little too much of being back at school. Having decided to follow swathes of other book bloggers to fill my feed with recommendations and reviews, I find myself isolated on the edge of a well-established group who all interact on what appears to be an hourly basis. I may seem like someone who is outgoing and even extroverted but having made brief attempts to infiltrate, I quickly gave up when I realised I am unable to commit to the constant communication. I was never one of the cool kids at school (ok, that’s a massive understatement) and I find myself once again watching from the sidelines feeling distinctly left out. Whilst I have drawn the line at stomping up to my bedroom to burn scented candles and listen to A Million Love Songs on repeat, I can’t help feeling it’s only a matter of time.
On the other hand, there have also been some incredible positives to joining the Twitter community, not least that I now get approached to review books in return for a free copy of the novel in question. (“Free books” may literally be my definition of “living the dream”). Then there are the connections with authors I admire which I would never have made in the real world, where “following” them would have more likely led to a restraining order. Nothing beats the excitement of engaging in electronic conversation with a writer whose work you truly adore and it’s an addictive Bookaholic buzz. One individual even sent me a copy of a limited signed edition as a random act of kindness that has honestly made my year. Moments like these truly lift my heart and make me think it isn’t so bad after all.
For now I will probably continue falling in and out of love with Twitter on a daily basis, making and breaking connections until I find the right community where I feel at home. (I’m sure there is a support group somewhere for those whose hearts Gary broke). In the meantime if anyone needs me I’ll be locked in my bedroom writing angst-ridden poetry. It’s what teenage Becky would want, after all.