For a while I’ve been bouncing between different writing projects including this blog, Twitter and, well, my job. I’m still in the metaphysical tweeting-about-tweeting phase, much like the nascent blogosphere of the early 00’s was filled with navel-gazing posts about what it meant to be a blogger and the future of journalism. And for a while I’ve been trying to be freer in the things that I put on my blog, to avoid writing essays every time I post. So here we go: instead of Tweeting about Tweeting, I’m blogging about Tweeting.
I initially had this idea of Tweeting about the process of meditation. So I tried it out on Twitter, and it seemed kinda cool. Just the sheer 21st century absurdity of it seemed so appealing to me, the marriage of absolutely irreconcilable opposites. And it reinforced the idea that, yes, Tweeting really can be a cool repository for stray thoughts I don’t have much else to do with. Maybe someone else will appreciate them.
And then there’s the idea of creating your digital space, which bloggers have pretty well figured out. Back in the day (I mean way back, when the famous Talking Points Memo was one guy in DC coding HTML and reading wire stories) blogs were for the most either glorified journals or hyper-political commentary forums. It didn’t take long before people found their niche, such that now you can find blogs out there on just about any subject, country, dispute or cause a person could think of. The nice thing is this is actually much more valuable than everybody repeating the same things over and over again.
My point. I’m getting there.
When I started trying to take Tweeting seriously, I saw this space for a guy who could tweet about how meditation is this truly practical, functional thing people can improve their mood, get more done, be more focused and enjoy things more. And of course the very forum of Twitter makes it logical to do this live. AND – there’s nobody else out there doing this. As far as I can tell. Most of the meditation related tweets I find are people repeating passages by spiritual gurus ranging from Sai Baba to Buddha, or heartfelt messages about discovering inner peace (in 140 characters). And there’s actually quite a bit of Bhudda and spirituality linked commerce that enters the picture, but I won’t get into that.
I wanted a narrative about the experience of these things. Because I do come across thoughts during the day related to the practice of meditation that I’d like to be able to publish. Of course I’d love to be able to debate about all manner of things – the US debt crisis, fossil fuels, alternative energy, monetary policy, the future of Brazil – but I just can’t sit here and tell you what I really think about the things that matter. That’s a no-no for reporters in today’s digital culture – just ask Octavia Nasr what a careless Tweet can mean for a career.
But it turns out my career does allow me to talk about meditation. And the whole point of Twitter is that you stir of interactions and create connections and build communities by sending out messages about the things that are important to you. So I had envisioned something of a gym locker room for people trying to get their own brains in order, or to build up their concentration level. A set of meditation mechanics collectively kicking the tires of Mindfulness (or maybe #mindfulness). I haven’t gotten that because I’m not seeing people out there with the same concept.
And, yes, it was harder than I thought. It turns out that Tweeting – surprise! – actually does distract from meditation. I found myself, at times when I wanted to be winding down, thinking of ways of Tweeting without saying the same things over and over again. So, I was breathing and concentrating, and I forgot about other stuff #meditation. Or maybe Wow, it’s really hard to #meditate after work. It was like a reporter trying to keep a dying story alive, trying to turn nothing into news long just long enough for something to happen. And it got to be another *project* of which I already have too many, and even more that were once projects that I’ve walked away from, leaving me unable to focus, which was the point of the exercise to begin with.
And I was getting a few concerned messages from college friends that went something to the effect of “Dude, you OK over there? Not going off the spiritual deep end, are you?” And I can’t really explain this level of detail on my @brianpablo10 account (that’s why we’ve got Off the Wire). The imminently public nature of Twitter makes it very, um, public.
So I crawled away from the idea of being the enlightened BuddhaTweeter, and told 49 followers I wasn’t gonna do it anymore. But I actually feel like I don’t want to give up on it yet. Granted the experiment is only three days old. I’m just holding out that there is some way to dump stray thoughts out into the world in a productive way, that could eventually be useful either for me or for someone else out there. And because unlike kids today I can’t just float right into new technology, dinosaurs like me I need some kind of gimmick to plug ourselves in. I thought this would be the one. We’ll see. And so will my 49 followers, who are waiting with baited breath.