Scratching my own funny bone for shits and giggles. Lampooning books, music and being a single woman over 40. Recording observations with an almost Seinfeldian obsession for the minutiae of life. Things can get sweary around here. You understand.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


The redoubtable Dr Yobbo has announced he will be absenting himself from Twitter. This has sent me into a bit of spin. No amount of pissing and moaning is going to change that so I figure I’ve got nothing to lose. Firstly, amid a tide of sage and sympathetic reactions amongst the Twitterati, may I be the first to have a virtual dummy-spit. Doc Yobbo’s leaving Twitter? WTF? How can this be? Who the hell is going to talk to me now? Despite the geography, I consider Doc a friend. He’s sharp, he’s witty and he’s ruthless in a debate. He’s sweary and funny-as-all-fuck to read. He’s generous with his time, knowledge and attention. I like him a lot. Sometimes, he even laughs at my jokes. I’m going to miss his company: he’s like the switched-on guy in the next cubicle at work who puts up with my incessant chatter and probably the reason why I stuck with Twitter. I’d always lampooned it and a variety of cached comments on the internet will attest to that. I just didn’t get it. Who would be interested in the minutiae of my life? How could you possibly construct a decent thought with 140 characters? How could you neglect blogs in favour of Twitter? It was like comparing a Raphael painting with an Andy Capp comic strip as far as I was concerned. Problem was I got lonely. My loyal blog readers disappeared. I found them on Twitter and stayed. Here was a real-time multi-threaded conversation that was fast-paced and fun: much more interesting than waiting around for people to visit your blog or for others to reply to your comments elsewhere. So I’m disappointed to be losing the frequent contact but something much bigger is bothering me: it’s the truth in his words. Blogging and reasoned thought are being neglected: yes, we’ve discussed this at length. Productivity and families are suffering he observes: yes indeed, I used to post to my blog daily; now I’m lucky to post once a month. Tweeting has become ‘an exercise in vanity which is a poor indictment on one’s character’

Ouch. Ouch and Ouch.

That observation hit a sore point. It has come to my attention that not only am I using Twitter as a distraction from my real life problems but I am investing far too much time thinking about impression I make which is ridiculous considering I’ve long abandoned the idea that blogging was going to make me famous enough to get paid to do it for a living. My tweets reveal a deeply entrenched need to remind people I have a woody for words and fancy myself a comedienne. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking otherwise but I’m not completely vain and self-obsessed. It’s just that I’m reticent to share my personal history and struggles in too much detail. I don’t generally post anything too sad or mundane. I think this hyper-awareness of what I post is a hangover from the time when cultivating a readership and writing funny articles used to be my daily joy and obsession. Let’s not forget what a blog essentially is: a truncated expression for web-log, an online diary. By its very design, a blog is a place where you talk about yourself. Early on I developed a preference for writing observational pieces and relying on humour rather than writing something heartfelt or revealing too much information. I spent a staggering amount of hours invested in that blog and when it imploded (along with my marriage and career) I was lost. I realize now that I have transferred all that energy into Twitter instead and that composing thinky tweets is for me, verging on some kind of perverse art form. Brevity is the soul of wit and all that. Even when I’m driving around my observations are composed in no more than 140 characters. If I’m perfectly honest with myself, I try to come off smart and funny to make up for other shortcomings and it’s got to stop. I think it has a lot to do with the fact I’m not getting enough social interaction in my daily life. A girl like me isn’t meant to be locked away from people for too long! I’m unemployed, largely by choice but my savings are depleting and I need to find work reasonably quickly. This means coming to terms with the fact that my window to achieve full-time status as a writer has ended. I must return to work and writing a part-time pursuit, at the very worst a mere divertissement. Twitter is great for gathering information and personal insights and it’s tempting to hang around there all day swapping dick jokes but with some reflection, I've decided to cut back a little and invest more time in my daughter and the art of blogging!


Dr Yobbo said...

Aww mate you do me a terrible disservice with all that unwarranted niceness! I'm still here. Just not hvng 2 cut bk on wht I say to fit into char lmts. Fkn awsm!

Actually I'm looking forward to writing more and better stuff now. I've come to terms with not being a famous fabulous writer - I'll settle for being a legend in my own lunch hour, cos it pays better. The thing I wrote tonight was fun to put together, because for once I didn't feel I needed to RUSH to get it published in order to get it onto Twitter ASAP or whatever, so I took my time over it and really enjoyed polishing it up. Twitter does seem to compress your sense of time and proportionality - it's been oddly liberating operating outside of it for the past couple of days. What I've put together may be no better or worse than any previous WoB post but I had more pleasure writing it - and for fuck's sake, if that's not what this whole bloody enterprise is for, what IS it for?

The only thing I regret is the people who've said they're also pulling stumps, or will Tweet less, or whatever - that wasn't at all what I was intending or hoping for - I certainly don't think Twitter has jumped the shark Google Wave style, it's just not right for me at this point of my life where I have to 'cost out' my leisure and online time more carefully than I did as a lazy postdoc.

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

It was my pleasure Doctor. Thanks for the giggles. I can hear my mother saying 'less is more'. I think there's something in that for all of us...don't you? :-D

yankeedog said...

Nat, you and the Doc are pretty polished wordsmiths, and it's a pleasure to read the words from both of you.

Do you know that there are some songs I can't hear (cough-Total Eclipse of the Heart-cough) without thinking of some of those Serotonin Deprived posts from back in the day? In their way, they weren't a complete waste of time and effort.

But everything in moderation as well. Can't let the 'allure' of the net get in the way of 'real life' either. Wherever you end up, we'll read you-if you'll have us around, that is!

Anonymous said...

Blogging/tweeting hitcounts are all bs. As the doc says, you've got to write for yourself first. A lot of its quantity related also - ergo, your JS blog had myriad followers due to your higher frequency of posts, the latter less so. Same as how I've got maybe 3 or so "regular" readers ;)
That said, there will always be a place for quality writing ; can't believe I'm going to quote a Costner movie here, but, if you write it - they will come! (and most of us, never left!)

Albion Love Den said...

I really enjoyed your mother-daughter post (I may have missed others, I'll be checking them out for sure). If the outcome of this post means you'll have more time to connect with her and post snippets like the one earlier, then fkn great. That's what blogging's all about and I learnt more about you (whether you wanted that or not) in that one post than anything else I've read of yours.

Girl Clumsy said...

Hey Nat - great post, and I agree with so much of it. I really love Twitter as a device, but I don't know that all this social media is inherently good *for me*, because I'm a narcissist with a low self-esteem and part of my heart breaks when I tweet my blog posts and try to pimp them out and they just seem to disappear into the ether.

I'm with you - I put a lot of time and effort into my blog and I really do try to update fairly regularly and I don't really know what to do from here to get people in.

Half the time I feel like I'm being actively IGNORED on Twitter and Facebook. It's an irrational feeling, I know, but it's like I'm standing in a room full of squawking parrots trying to say "Polly wanna cracker" the loudest.

And the thing is, I would love to write a blog post about all this, about how I work to make things, and write funny things, and how I do it for myself but I can't turn the part of my heart off that hopes maybe this will be the one that picks up and interests a lot of people. But then I think about the people I feel are ignoring me reading it, and how they'll think "She's so self-indulgent" and I panic and delete.

So thanks for letting me comment - sometimes I feel I can be more truthful in others' comment streams than I can in my own blog!

Also, while I'm whinging here: I put out a tweet on Saturday night after I saw a play. I said I enjoyed the play and was surprised to see the theatre only half full.

Several hours later, I got a DM from a guy I know who works for the theatre, saying "Maybe don't tweet about low attendance numbers". Like....what? How was my tweet negative in ANY way? And also - how dare you tell me what to tweet and not tweet?!?!

I haven't actually responded, because I know IF I did, said person would say I was the one over-reacting. Because I'm "Crazy Nat" with her emotions. GAH. It makes me mad that I can't get mad like other people can without being described as "loony".

Sorry I've wanted to vent that for two days now, and you've copped it. ;)

Anyway, I'll keep reading no matter what you do.

jennicki said...

I loves you guys and I'll follow y'all anywhere. :D

Dr Yobbo said...

Drej is actually onto a good point there - content begets followers begets content. The more you update, the more likely people are to check back to see if there are updates, the more likely you are to write more updates. That's the theory, will see how it goes myself.

GC, that's one of the crap things about Twitter - there's always someone on there with either no sense of humour or some kind of massive oversensitivity to something they've probably misinterpreted anyway. At least with >140 chars to work with the chances of being taken out of context are lower!

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

Many thanks for the thinky stuff guys. I'm playing TAXI this morning. I'll be back to respond to your comments shortly. I can't believe I opened Tweetdeck this morning! Worse, it took me a few minutes to realize what I'd done. Be strong woman. Be strong!

Bondiboy66 said...

I too am one that is pleased to see you blogging more Nat. I always like reading your stuff! Can't say I've ever gotten into Twitter though...

Barnesm said...

Do I show my age saying that when I read the title of this post I hear Dire Straits playing in my head.

Nat you say "I try to come off smart and funny" In my opinion you succeed in this admirably.

Steve said...

My only comment is this: when I first saw the above picture, I thought it was an elephant wearing a trench coat and a strange headgear device.

Anonymous said...

Hey Nat. Nice to see you are still posting, love Antic.

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

ANTIC: Only stopped blogging for about four months after JS imploded. You can always find me here. How's Alberta?

STEVE: You've started drinking again haven't you?

BARNES: I nearly gave it the title...worst of all young man you have...etc. We're all showing our age damnit! Much obliged for the kind words M :-D

BONDI: Love ya guts!

DREJ: That's encouraging. Thanks for the reality check and the visit. Cheers.

YOB: Yup I'm going to up the frequency now that I can concentrate.

JEN: That's a relief sister :-D

ALD: I'd like to ask what exactly....err...what exactly? :-D Thanks for the encouragement - Sam is keen to play along.

YANKEE: You appreciated those music posts :-D It was my pleasure! Being eternally associated with Bonnie Tyler was the aim.

GC: Natalie you can come over here and vent anytime. I used to feel that same kind of disappointment. The intensity has lessened but it doesn't change the fact that approval is a powerful thing and we all want it. Twitter magnifies the sensation no? As for blog content, I've decided to say FUCK IT! I refuse to waste anymore precious energy predicting the needs of readers. I want them to like it but it's more important I enjoy writing it. My new MANTRA! Nat if you try that approach - let me know how it goes. Be self-indulgent. It IS a weB-LOG and your cubby.

Moko said...

His leaving means I win!. FTW

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

What do you get when you win the interwebz? :-D

Moko said...

"My preciooooous"

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

Does this make me Gollum's girlfriend?

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

Confession: I've been faffing around on Faece Book. Will I ever learn?

Dr Yobbo said...

Yeah, but Arsebook isn't Twitter, it's something else entirely. It's less intensive. Twitter's harder to do part-time, Arsebook's hard to do 24/7 as it's not designed for continuous interaction (apart from the chat function) the way Twitter has.

The other thing that Twitter makes you into a bit - have realised this over the last couple of days - is a celeb-hounding attention whore. Tweeting celebs to try and get the desperate acknowledgement of a reply. Even the not-quite-celebs I was following because I was interested in what they had to say - people like Alex Briggs (one of Valentino Rossi's MotoGP mechanics who has some awesome insights and actually lives in northern NSW not far from where I grew up), Andrew Mulligan (NZ TV sports presenter) and Tom Ford (writer for Top Gear mag.) It's great to have that back-and-forth connection, but it's not as though you're ever going to catch up with them for a beer, so in the end it seems a bit vacant and pointless.

I got RT'd by Rhys Muldoon once though. W00T.

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

YOBBO: That is an excellent observation you make about the two. I don't think FB will consume me like Twitter. When you do part-time on Twitter it definitely feels like you're shooting into the ether.

As for the celeb thing - the few times I tried tweeting people like Stephen Colbert, I got nothing but deadly silence. That's the problem with Twitter I guess, the more popular your favourite people are - the ones you do actually admire and respect and seek opinions from - the less interactive they are with the medium.

I'm concerned a few of you have misinterpreted this post. This is not about me crying in my cereal because I'm not famous. This is about putting some self-respect back in my life.

Moko 2.0 said...

HEY, I RESEMBLE THAT COMMENT!!1!!one!!exclamationmark!!!

I get POINTS .... POIIIIIIIIIINTS for getting replies from celebritage of varying degrees. It's called Twitterarti, and I'm on lie 7 points ...kicking arse, taking names.

...and many of us take this online shit WAY to serious. It's an illusion. Who gives a fuck?. I can think of one person making any decent money of this stuff and he's an established author ANYWAY.

Natalia the Russian Spy said...

But you walked right into it with that 'my precious' comment! :-D For a moment I thought you said 'my pretty' like the witch from The Wizard of Oz and I was going to compose this whole joke about zombie goats and flying monkeys.

Dr Yobbo said...

Compose it anyway. Fuck it. It's not like we get paid less if people don't laugh on here.

Anonymous said...

Alberta is great, although the summer has been wet. Have missed you. Antic

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