He doesn’t call. He doesn’t write, not even emails. He’s rarely on Facebook. But he does tweet.
A couple of years ago, James told me how to follow him on Twitter without having an account. If you know someone’s Twitter handle (or username), you can follow them at the URL “https://twitter.com/#!/search/[their username]”. I tweet as @MTHupp, so if you want to follow me, go to the URL http://twitter.com/#!/search/mthupp. If you have a Twitter account, you should know to follow me at @MTHupp.
For many months, I followed son James by lurking. I read his tweets periodically, then responded with a motherly email (to which I rarely got a reply). Apparently, my reluctance to join Twitter made me a laughingstock in his workplace. A year ago Mother’s Day, on his semi-annual phone call, he told me his friends thought I should tweet.
So I finally went for it. I got my own Twitter account. I started with an anonymous handle, and I only followed James.
A short while later, James tweeted that he was ill but trying to get work done from home. As a mom, I had to reply: “So sorry you’re sick, but glad you are productive. Chicken soup.”
Well under the tweet limit of 140 characters. Turns out a mother can say quite a bit in 140 characters.
James re-tweeted (forwarded) my chicken soup advice to the world, with the comment: “This is why you want your mom on Twitter.”
Guess I was a successful twitterer (tweeter?).
Some of his friends started following me. I still think it was the oddity of a 50+ woman tweeting her son. They suggested new handles for me. We exchanged a few tweets twitting James and his foibles. One of his friends even started a fake James’s mother online – @jamesmomtweeting – to provide motherly advice when I was not responsive enough.
Despite the humor at my expense, with Twitter I had a window into my son’s world. A mother will put up with a lot of teasing for that.
Besides, the real @jamestweeting’s mom – me – does a much better job of giving snarky advice than the fake @jamesmomtweeting ever could. I have thirty years of family history to pull from.
Over time I got a little braver. I now use the transparent handle @MTHupp and have labeled it with my name. I follow others besides my son – my own friends (yes, some of them are on Twitter), as well as writers and publishers, and legal sites.
In my writing groups, I’ve become the expert on Twitter. Write Brain Trust – a group of writers interested in digital publishing and marketing – is on Twitter as @WriteBrainTrust, and I provide most of the Twitter feed.
I also have a Twitter account for a writing pseudonym I use. (No, I’m not going to give you that handle. That would defeat the purpose of a pseudonym.) Oddly enough, my pseudonym has more followers than my real persona. Of course, she is more active on Twitter than I am.
Little did I know that a mother’s attempts to stay in contact with her son would make me into a social media guru. But a mother does what she must to make sure her voice is heard.