Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rather Than Tweet, Record Memories By Hand

Dear Tazi:

My Mom recently retired and has been bored around the house, so I made the mistake of introducing her to Twitter. Now, nothing is sacred. Everything anyone says or does makes it up onto her Twitter feed. Every moment - once special and meaningful - is grounds for a tweet. Examples?

While reading my daughter a bedtime story, Mom decided to stop midway and tweet about it.

While making Sunday dinner, Mom decided to tweet about a memory of how I burned the mashed potatoes the first time I helped make Sunday dinner.

While watching TV during an evening visit, Mom tweeted about how glad she was to have us all there around her.

I realize these moments are special to her and she is trying to make us feel special by sharing them with the world, but by doing that - pausing to put us on hold - she is making them less special, and the rest of us resentful of Twitter. Can you think of any way we can approach her on this without hurting her feelings?

Tweeted Out

Dear Tweeted Out:

Some people tweet every detail of their lives - "can't sleep"..."going to the bathroom brb"....and "my son's mother is evil and will never get away with this" are all tweets I randomly found while perusing the twittersphere for inspiration on how to respond to your letter. While the first is benign, the second a little too personal, and the third downright unnerving I am inclined to believe that your Mom's tweets fall somewhere within the gray areas of  "would be slightly embarrassing if anyone actually cared". Am I right?

You need to ask yourself why her tweets upset you so much. Was your daughter asleep when your mother decided to stop and tweet or was the tweet an interruption to the story? Is your Mom now the one burning the mashed potatoes as she tweets about your long ago mishap? Are your evening visits to Mom something of a secret? Or are you just a very private person?

For your Mom, Twitter has become an online memory book of sorts. I suggest rather than discourage these memories, you encourage them - but ask her to write them in a Memory Book rather than broadcast them online. I suggest you provide your mother with a nice hardcover, lined paper journal (aka a blank book) and ask her to record her tweets on paper. Each entry can be around 140 characters, but unlike Twitter she will be allowed to go over the 140 limit. Dedicate a time each week to review her "paper tweets" and discuss what each one means to both your mother and those involved. I am certain that many happy memories will be revived, rediscovered, and created as you, your Mom, and your daughter and other loved ones share these important thoughts.

Years from now, when Twitter is long forgotten, this book - or books, should the idea appeal to your Mom as much as Twitter - will become a cherished heirloom, written in your mother's gentle hand. It is a gift that will be treasured for generations to come.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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