Is it possible to sleep train Twitter? Would you have to go in every ten minutes or so to settle it back down? Or could you -- if you were exhausted, say, really fried -- put it in a dark room, safely contained, close the door, and leave it to its own devices for the night, trusting that in the morning, you would find your audience intact and your friends self-soothed?
No. No, you cannot. And those of us mothers on the cusp of 40, in the generation that sent their first emails in college, straddle the social media revolution with just enough history to feel a bit overwhelmed, at times, at its busyness. Snapchat kids, we were not. When we wanted to find our friends on a Saturday night, we had to walk our beer-soaked sneakers around to different locales and actually look for them. Uphill, both ways. The obsessively vibrating iPhone still feels new to us, and ravenous, even foreign at times. And Twitter is the ultimate expression of technology's ability to take up all of our time, every day, if we let it.
Except that, as parents, we find something completely familiar there, too -- something quite close to home in the constant, nattering seduction of the Twitter bird. There's a familiar sensation that there is something we should be attending to, a need we should be paying attention to... But what is it? What else is so permanently distracting as this?
10 Ways Twitter is Like Parenting a Toddler
1. Things go viral really quickly, especially right before the weekend.
2. You'd be better off driving tipsy than have it open and active in your car.
3. The more you try to offer up wholesome, interesting fare, the more you will be ignored.
4. Every morning when you wake up, you are already behind on all the stuff there is to deal with.
5. It seems clear that other people you don't know very well (or at all) have just magically "figured this thing out."
6. You suspect that some of these magic geniuses are paying hidden people a whole lot of money to make it appear this way.
7. Offer up a kitten or a puppy and you will be loved like crazy for five whole minutes.
8. You are forever editing your word count to fit the attention span of your audience.
9. You have to repeat yourself many times to be heard.
10. Celebrities make it look way more fun and glamorous and easy than it actually is.
The big difference between Twitter and toddlers for which we are eternally grateful? Twitter does not require potty training.