Friday, April 24, 2009
I just put my son down to sleep for his nap. This is not the usual way that a professional starts writing about a trendy web service, but it may as well be usual as a starting point for talking about Twitter.
I always sing my boy a song when I put him down. I hold him on my shoulder, cover him with a blanket, and whether he likes it or not, I dance around his darkened room, patting him on the back to keep a beat while I softly sing a song I make up on the spot. They're usually about sleeping, looking at stars in the night sky, dreaming, waking up happy. Most of them have a river or a stream in them. The noise machine in the hall makes white noise, but to me it sounds like a river rushing. I never remember to write them down or record them. They could all be hits as far as we're all concerned. But they're just for him. I sang songs to his sister, and I will sing a thousand more for him.
I've always believed my life is going to be rather short - too short to see my kids' have children or for my own children as adults to really know me. My father's father died when he was 45. My father died in 1997 at the age of 59. From what I know and have heard they were both extremely funny and generous men. I never knew my grandfather. My Mom always said he was handsome, charming and delightful. My dad was always a bit quiet about it. I don't know if he ever said much about his dad to me, but that was just the way he was. Quiet. I don't think he was trying to keep secrets, it just wasn't in his nature to talk about such things. When my father died, I thought about what I knew about him. They were all feelings, not a whole lot of facts. Obviously my Mom knew my Dad far better. My own memories lack the details to round out the man who loomed so large in my own early life. Which leads me to Twitter.
Details which are not of singular importance are ultimately what make Twitter so very important. I would even go out on a limb here in my own little world and say that Twitter actually goes far beyond any form of communication seen on this planet in the last 10,000 years. Cave paintings were probably closest to it, now that I think about it... Life experiences, mundane levels of detail, that which would bore you to tears at a cocktail party, on Twitter flit by you barely noticed but in the same instant serve as concrete reminders of why life is so wonderful in the first place.
I wish my Dad could have Tweeted. I wish all sons could read a lifetime of their fathers' tweets.