This evening I had a brief bout of self-doubt, a fear of social ostracism. It began when I considered going to #evfn (East Valley Friday Nights), a Twitter gathering or “Tweetup” organized on Twitter and taking place, this night, in Chandler. Mind you, Chandler is pretty far from my home in Phoenix, and just last Friday night I passed on driving out to Paradise Valley to attend shabbat services because it was “too far.” So I was already questioning my motives. Why was I willing to consider driving out to Chandler to meet some “tweeple”? Could it be because I saw a tweet earlier today from Rene Gutel saying, “@evo_terra Mind if I join y’all?” (Rene Gutel is a local freelance journalist who often contributes stories to NPR, so I thought it would be neat to meet her.) Could it be because I see businesses bending over backward to support Tweetups in ways I’ve never seen them support Flickrmeets? (When local Twitter members went to a Phoenix Suns Game recently, they all got matching (free?) t-shirts and a welcome on the JumboTron. And at the #evfn Tweetup at Whole Foods in Chandler tonight, the store actually printed a gorgeous sign to welcome them.) Could it be the age-old yearning to hang out with “the cool kids”? Well, it could be any or all of those things. But something kept me from going…
I thought I’d put out some feelers at about 7 PM (#evfn started at 6), so I sent three @replies to people I know at least a little bit. None of them responded to my messages. This was when I began to imagine myself a social outcast. I thought, “They’re having too much fun to bother answering me,” or worse, “They’re having too much fun hanging out with the cool kids and they don’t want me to come and spoil their fun.” I hate it when I get like that. It could be something as simple as they don’t have their mobile devices set up to alert them to @replies right away; it could be that I should have sent them Direct Messages. In fact, when I finally did send someone a Direct Message, he responded. But by that time, it was already 7:45, the Tweetup was officially over at 8, and even though Evo said it might run long, I was afraid I would show up just as everyone was leaving and feel like the biggest loser for driving all the way out there for nothing.
By the way, I didn’t even notice the “end time” on the Upcoming event page until about 7:30. By that time, I was kicking myself, saying “I should have just driven out there at 6:45.” It’s ironic that the event description specifically says, “yes, you are invited.” Perhaps they meant that for insecure souls such as mine. Or… maybe they just meant that for the cool kids. 😉
At any rate, I decided to stay home and watch The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 with my husband and our two dogs (the dogs don’t watch much, but they sure do cuddle). In the movie, the character played by America Ferrera of Ugly Betty fame says to an erstwhile friend, “You reminded me that no one can diminish you but yourself, so thank you.” This is a lesson I’ve learned before, but oh do I have to learn it again and again! It seems old wounds are hard to heal.
So, let’s look on the bright side: someone did respond to me when I sent him a Direct Message, so apparently that’s a better way to get someone’s attention on Twitter. Check! The whole oh-my-god-i’m-a-social-pariah thing was probably all in my head. Check! I shall let no one diminish me, especially myself. Check! And, last but not least, there’s another #evfn next week! This time, I’ll just go and get there when it starts and skip all the drama. Whew!