I have been lost in a social media fog recently. Over the past few weeks, I started to notice that @Amalari (or Molly Murray) with whom I regularly interact was absent in my Twitter feed. Nor were her Blip Photo posts coming up in my RSS reader. I’ve been busy with being a Mom, getting a new business off the ground, and working with clients, but it was always in the back of my mind to go check on her. She was a prolific Tweeter. So today I made a point to go to her Twitter page. Her last tweet was 146 days ago:
Dealing with Loss on Social Media
From my memory I searched for the folks she regularly interacted with and then tweeted them. I was stopped in my tracks about the response I got from @expatina (Suzanne Munshower):
I was stunned to read that news. And I was ashamed that it took me almost five months to inquire as to her whereabouts. I’m ashamed because Molly was one of the first people I really interacted when I joined Twitter in 2008. We would talk almost everyday and have often quite a banter that would go on for days to the point where we’d actually forget what we were talking about in the first place. But recently with demands in “real life,” I haven’t been spending as much time on Twitter as I once did and our conversations were becoming less and less. Molly was a super gal. Yes, I used “gal” because that seems to fit. She love her adopted country Italy. Good food. All creatures big and small. Her big goofy dogs and her cheeky cats. Himself as she referred to her husband. Debating and politics. And she loved taking photographs. Molly was always kind and very encouraging to me. Molly and I never talked on the phone or met each other in real life, but yet there was a connection and openness. One could say we were modern day pen pals.
My shame quickly turned to disappointment at myself. Disappointment that I had lost my way on Twitter. That I had lost the “social” in social media. I remember when I first started on Twitter. I had no motives other than to explore and see what it was all about. I wasn’t in it for professional reasons nor personal for that matter. It was new and interesting. And I loved it. I loved the interaction and conversations. While there was a lot of great information being shared on a professional level, it was fun and unscripted. People were just people. Not brands or marketing channels. I miss the “old” Twitter where for the most part were people just talking instead of broadcasting. I used to as soon as I’d wake up grab my smart phone and check into Twitter to see @’s or DMs from folks, or the timeline to see what everyone was up to. I don’t do that anymore. I rarely now have the levels of conversations I had two years ago.  That makes me sad and I actually miss it.  I remember when every @ or DM was responded to personally. There were no scheduled Tweets or auto DMs. There were no lists and management systems for Twitter followers.
People are too busy getting followers, broadcasting this or that, trying to look really smart, cool, or insert any other word here, and looking to increase their Klout score. It is hard for me to say this, but I’m partially guilty of getting caught up in the Twitter “race.” Are we all lost in a social media fog? Are we forgetting the “social” in social media. My gut tells me so. Is the “old” Twitter gone and can it return? I don’t know. What do you think?
And to @amalari, good-bye Love, be it 146 days too late.
Ann Marie van den Hurk, APR, is an accredited public relations professional with over a decade experience bridging the gap between traditional public relations and emerging technologies. Need help reaching your business’s customers, call 302.563.992 to schedule an initial consultation, or contact Mind The Gap Public Relations.

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