Lebanon Reporter

May 6, 2013

Understanding bird calls over lunch with a friend

By Dick Wolfsie
Reporter columnist

— One afternoon in 2011, my friend Eric spent a couple of hours over lunch explaining Twitter to me and I thought I understood it all, but as you’ll see from my first few tweets, I wasn’t very confident:

Is anyone getting this?

Todd, are you the only one who got this or did everyone get it?

THIS IS A TEST

If someone is actually reading this could you call me on my phone and tell me?

THIS IS ANOTHER TEST

I’m still trying to understand how this whole process works. If John McCain and Mitch McConnell can tweet, how tough can it be? My wife says there are courses on social networking, but I don’t have a great record learning stuff in a classroom.  I still can’t speak Spanish or do long division.

This past Sunday, I decided to take advantage of the great breadth of knowledge and experience that exists among our church’s congregation. At the end of the service each week, we all stand in a circle holding hands (unless there’s a flu epidemic) and ask our fellow Unitarians to express any recent joys or concerns. A lot of people waste this valuable time to lament about their ailing aunt or to brag about their niece who got a Rhodes Scholarship. I took the opportunity to see if anyone could explain to me how to tweet.   In order to minimize the total humiliation I might experience, I did request that my tutor not be under 8 or over 80.

In true community spirit, many congregants approached me after the service with an offer to assist. Based on some of these comments, I was still a bit uneasy:

“I never fully understood that hashtag thing either, Dick.”

“I don’t think you can end a sentence with @”

“I don’t trust Direct Messaging. My boss now knows I hate him.”

 “I don’t tweet. It creeps me out when people follow me.”

The real problem now was coming up with twitter-worthy material. Last Wednesday after walking my dog at a nearby park, I sped out of the parking area without securing the hatchback on my SUV. Apparently, as I made my way home, an entire case of expensive prescription dog food and 30 copies of my latest book slid out the back and onto the street. After discovering this, I quickly retraced my route to find the missing cargo, but to no avail.  Thankfully, upon returning to my house, I saw all my belongings stacked on my front porch, with a note:

Hello, Mr. Wolfsie:

I saw this stuff strewn all over Fall Creek Parkway and decided to return it. I knew the dog food would be missed. Also found your books.

Josh

Now I had something to tweet about. “Thanks to an honest guy named #Josh who returned everything that fell out of the back of my car.”

(Why the hashtag? I don’t know, but it made me feel very hip to type it.)

Josh also left his business card, so I called to thank him personally and mentioned that I had tweeted about his generosity. That night I went to my twitter account and I saw that Josh had re-tweeted my comments. I have no idea what that means. But I do have church on Sunday and I can’t wait to find out.