Chooch Cool Links / Clicky Linky Dizzy Friends Music Podcast Too Long For Twitter

Roller Coaster Day, Part Two

I finally got the message we were waiting for from the Realtor since we listed our house for sale on Friday, that someone was coming for a look. I know that the first buyer won’t put down a contract, but I’ve been terrified about the market. Just knowing that there’s an actual market for our home is reassuring.

After we left the dentist appointment, we returned home and sure enough, someone had indeed been there. What a relief! We then headed out for our planned outing with our dear friend Philippa Ballantine, her parents visiting from New Zealand, and the spectacular Sonic Boom (daughter of Tee Morris). Pip’s dad had business nearby and we were invited to join them for lunch and for me to make good on my long-promised pottery painting trip with Sonic Boom.

It was a sorely needed break in the day for Chooch and I, as we were able to put the other stuff to the side for a bit and just revel in their fine company.

After lunch, Chooch had to return to work, loathe as he was to do so. We jumped in the limo (why yes, I did say limo! The Ballantines travel in style!) and went to the pottery studio. I had promised a pottery painting trip to Sonic Boom as her birthday present last summer, but was then shocked to find that the three pottery studios I knew of had closed, including one by her house and two by mine. I happily discovered that one studio by me had actually just moved and that’s where we headed.

It was delightful seeing Sonic Boom’s excitement, even though she’d already done it before. She took her time picking out just the perfect piece and paint colors. As she painted, Pip and her mother painted a lovely piece together, and Pip’s dad impressed us all with the bold design he painted on his piece. Sonic Boom worked very hard getting her work exactly the way she wanted it, until she spotted the studio cat, Whiskers. She was a bit distracted after that, but who can blame her? He’s a lovey cat that just wanders around jumping into unsuspecting laps for scritches and such.

Happy with all the work done, we jumped back into the limo and they took me home. Everyone piled out for a pit stop before they headed back home, and ended up staying and visiting before waving goodbye to Chooch as he was on a conference call.

I had a wonderful time over lunch, and it was absolutely delightful meeting Pip’s parents. They are just as you’d expect of the people that raised her: intelligent, extremely kind and very funny. Keeping up with Sonic Boom is just as fast-paced as you’d imagine, and I was fairly exhausted from all the fun and laughter we shared.

After they left, I started trying to get caught up on the work I’ve been unable to do for the last few weeks. It was pretty hectic and I wore myself out, but got a lot done, including a quick 5 minute recording that took over an hour to get done. That’s right, an hour, thanks to a crashing computer. As usual, it took Chooch 5 minutes to figure out and fix the problem and I was able to get it done and sent off. By that time, I was extremely stressed and cursing (sorry for that, fine Twitter followers) and my jaw was killing me.

We got in the car to head to band practice, and I medicated the pain and worked on the laptop on the road. I love being able to take the work with me, but I most enjoy the drive when Chooch and I just get to chat.

At Phil’s, we headed down to the band lair and relaxed and chatted with the band while waiting for Dennis (guitarist) to arrive. I was finally able to exhale for what felt like the first time in a long time, and I believe Chooch felt the same way. I still can’t believe how well everyone meshes together and I love spending time with them, whether it’s watching them play or chatting about clothes, kids and pasta makers.

They made amazing music, as always, as they ran through the set list for their show at Axum on Friday night. They are playing two sets, as they were bumped up to headline the show. So they’ll be playing later (11 pm) but longer, which thrills me.

The door proceeds for the band are being split between my Breast Cancer fund-raising efforts for the Richmond Race for the Cure, and between another woman’s efforts for the Komen 3 Day. I’m still blown away that the band offered to do this, and will be there to support them no matter how late they play.

I hope you can join us, as it will be a fun-filled night. Details are posted in Facebook.

Home now as I finish up this post, and I’m glad the insane day is over. It definitely felt as if I was strapped on a roller coaster with all the highs and lows. I’m happy that there were more good things then bad, but the sleep I’m about to get is well deserved.

Goodnight, Dear Readers!

Chooch Dizzy Too Long For Twitter Vestibular Migraine

Roller Coaster Day, Part One

Background, since I don’t remember writing about the appointment in January: The daily preventative medication has been causing sleep disruptions that have worsened as the dosage increased. Since the dosage I’m at now has resulted in the biggest reduction in dizzy spells, the hope was to keep the dosage and find something to help me sleep. The medication did nothing at the minimum dose, so I’ve been taking the full recommended dose for about 2 months. While it initially knocks me out, if anything wakes me I’m usually unable to return to sleep. The lack of sleep puts a strain on me, resulting in either more migraines and/or dizziness.

In addition, I believe it to be the cause of my growing comprehension and memory problems. Lookit, I know I’m no genius, but I’ve been having serious issues lately. Last Friday, I’d decided I had enough of it and stopped taking the sleep inducing pill without weaning off or my doctor approving the change. I felt it made no sense to get no sleep at night AND be stupid all day. (Please be kind in the comments about that last bit, okay?)

The results were bad. Very bad. Not only was I dealing with migraines and dizziness as usual, they were jacked up enough that I broke down and took my tier 3 migraine reliever on Sunday night. That’s the pill that essentially knocks me out so it doesn’t hurt anymore. I was finally able to sleep, but woke zombified. Literally dragging, mentally and physically. I still don’t feel quite right and it was three days ago. The pill usually takes me out for the next 24 to 36 hours, but this had me worried. Especially since I’ve had migraines since and honestly, I don’t want a pill that knocks me out for that long. Life is short, and I don’t want to be drugged out and miss it.

But the thing that really had me concerned was the near constant tremor in my right hand and also my jaw. I’ve had the hand tremor for most of my life, usually only showing up when my blood sugar drops. This was different as it was going on all the time, even after meals. And the feeling of a spasm-like trembling in my jaw that I was sure it was visible to others. Sort of like… you know when you’re cold for awhile and you kind of forget until you get a blast of warm air on you? That half a second of pre-shiver, almost painful sensation? Like that, only all the time with a “teeth chattering” kind of tremble. I know, I’m doing a terrible job explaining it, but it’s not easy.

I was afraid to continue any more without consulting him. If the tremble thing was a withdrawal symptom from stopping the sleep inducer and he felt it an appropriate change for me, then I’d deal with it. If it was a new neurological symptom or issue coming to light, then I needed him to know and do any necessary testing.

He ended up suggesting I return to a half dose of the sleep inducing pill, adding melatonin, and taking all 3 of my preventative migraine meds in the morning (instead of 2 in the morning and 1 at night). He also took out the useless tier 1 migraine breaker, so I now have two tiers of relief instead of three. He also let me know that for my now-tier 1 medicine, that insurance companies typically only allow for 9 to 12 of that pill a month (depending on the company) because it’s so expensive. What am I supposed to take for migraines number 13 and higher? Nothing, unless I want to take the pill that I mentioned earlier that knocks me out and turns me into a zombie. Thanks, insurance company. Thanks a hell of a lot.

After leaving that appointment, it was time for the dentist. I had a cracked filling replaced and two cavities filled back in the beginning of January, and I’m still having extreme pain. I haven’t needed fillings since I was a child, so didn’t remember what to expect. But I was only having minor discomfort before the fillings and they’ve been excruciatingly sensitive to temperature and pressure since the fillings. As in, a room temperature banana causing extreme pain because it’s too cold. Ridiculous, right? I haven’t had carrots, apples or anything of that sort since January because then we’re talking about serious pain.

I’ve been in several times since then, and he filed down the “high points” in the fillings, and later diagnosed me as possibly grinding my teeth, but more than likely clenching my jaw, while I sleep. This was because I was pointing out pain in a location where he hadn’t done a filling (the joint where your jaws meet). He decided that I need a $400 mouth guard to wear at night, but since we were broke I told him I’d have to come back after our tax refund arrived. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea. It wasn’t mentioned during the sleep study I’d had recently after all, and they were able to watch my eyelids for R.E.M. state in the dark. But one discarded $30 over-the-counter mouth guard later (I had to try…), and I was still having pain. Once I realized the stress from the jaw pain began triggering migraines, I was able to get over my fear of dentists and scheduled to go back in.

Knowing it would take a while, Chooch dropped me off and the dentist ordered new x-rays. Turns out, he’s now diagnosed me with TMJ. He believes that is why the tooth cracked initially and now the filled tooth is apparently cracked below the filling. Since the root/nerve is inflamed, I now need a root canal and crown. After that, I’ll need to sleep with a mouth guard. I panicked and asked Chooch to return because I could feel the usual stress reactions kicking in and I needed his clear head on the problem. Brain fog and migraines make it difficult for me to sort through information and remember everything. (As usual, I’ll ask him to comment if I’ve mixed up anything here.)

The only upside is that the dentist says there’s a chance, a very small chance, that once the mouth guard starts doing it’s job, assuming it does, that it may… wait for it… ease or eliminate my migraines. Yeah, it feels like too much to hope for since at this point I’ll just be thrilled if my teeth just stop hurting. So I’ve decided to put that hope to the side for now and focus on what’s in front of me and what I can control. Yes, I’m a worse case scenario planner, but it hasn’t failed me yet.

It’s going to cost around $2,000 and insurance won’t cover any of it. Nor will insurance cover any future TMJ issues, if the dentist is right. Lovely. I told Chooch I’d rather pull the damned cracked tooth out rather than hand over that much money to fix it, but he thinks that’s a bit nuts. So we’ve scheduled it over three appointments and our tax refund / savings will take the hit. But I’m grateful that we are lucky to have enough in savings and are not having to take the dental office credit program. I shudder to think what the interest rate must be.

Luckily, the day turned pretty damned awesome after that…

Definitions You Know No Whining Too Long For Twitter

Definitions You Know: Hypocrisy

As I mentioned with the start of the  Rules of Etiquette series, there is a second series that I want to start posting. It will simply gives definitions for unusual words. The impetus was my WordFeud obsession (pre-Words with Friends for the Droid market, and still my favorite of the two). There will be plenty of those, but not all will be word game useful because I decided to also share definitions of words that are commonly misused or misunderstood.

Like the Rules of Etiquette posts, I may or may not detail beyond the definition, depending on my mood.

For the first in the series, I’m choosing a word that nearly everyone I know, including myself, has been guilty of at one point or another in their life.

Photo by Susan Z. Click on the photo to go to her Flickr stream.


  1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
  2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
  3. an act or instance of hypocrisy.

I think it’s possible that in this society, it’s necessary to build oneself up or conceal desires from others because many of us live our lives publicly, either in social media or in meat space interactions. And like most, I don’t always recognize when I’m doing it. When I do, I admit to myself and others when I discover I’m being hypocritical, and work hard to put an end to it.

At this point in my life, I’m struggling with putting aside others’ opinions of me and embracing who I am, so-called warts and all. I’m hoping to shed most, if not all hypocrisy in my life because it is such a waste of time and energy.

Anyone else willing to admit to an instance of their own hypocrisy? You don’t have to give details. Just admitting it is a huge step, in my book.

Friends Kids No Whining Soulful Too Long For Twitter

Bathroom Epiphany

Three days ago, I was at a Super Target helping a magnificent woman herd two young children as we shopped for my husband’s birthday party. The spins and brain fog had me in their grip and I was feeling more like a hindrance than a help. While taking a snack break during our wait for reinforcements of the fatherly persuasion in the store cafe, I made a break for a tinkle and a quiet moment. No matter how well behaved and beautiful children are, they just flat-out exhaust me in the most delightful way. (My jaws were sore from laughing and smiling so much at their antics!)

While making like Tinkle Bell, I noticed the style of shoes under the next stall. I wondered what the rest of her looked like, and imagined her to be someone that had an appearance that would make others turn away. Having been a gal that dressed… strangely… in my teens, I remembered the looks of disgust and eye rolling that would occur. People would assume I was a juvenile delinquent and possibly even a drug addict just because my blue black hair shot out in an unnatural way and my pale white skin, black painted eyes and bright red lips and streaked hair looked different from the way the 80’s pop culture dictated. Throw on vintage clothing and jewelry, rhinestone dog collars and my little sister’s toys strung as earrings and it was an interesting look.

In my small Texas town, my friends and I were definitely looked upon as if we weren’t normal, but rather some sort of mutant. We were gleeful, as it meant we didn’t fit in with the cowboy hat/giant beltbuckled or bleached/permed/tanned.  I’m hopeful that it’s more acceptable now, with stores like Hot Topic making it so much easier to attain the mass produced items, and people dressed in this way are certainly more prevalent.

But people may still be asking, as they did in when I was doing it, “Why would someone go to such lengths to make themselves look unattractive (by society’s standards)?” Speaking for myself, that’s a long story and would rely on introspection and speculation on someone that I no longer am, so I won’t bore you (or me) with that.

I will reveal that my friends and I laughed at the derision from those that worked extremely hard to make themselves attractive to everyone, thus turning into carbon copies of each other. As they did, we took great pride in how we looked, but still, hello hypocrisy! We were judging them for looking normal just as they were judging us for looking different.

Still in the stall, I grabbed my camera phone, made sure it was silent and took this photo to document that, no matter how someone dresses or how different or bad-ass they may appear, they are human. We’re all here, sharing this space and going about our lives. We do the best we can as we deal with emotional, physical, psychological and  biological needs.

So the next time you feel like mocking someone for dressing differently, being too tall, being too fat, or holding different beliefs or values than you, just remember there’s a real person in there. And probably a really magnificent one, if given half the chance. After all, everybody tinkles.

Edit: I actually took this photo a few weeks ago with my camera phone, but it sat forgotten until today. I giggled at my forgetfulness, because when I was in the environment that allowed the shot I was immediately struck by  a NEED to behave crassly and take the photo. Meeting at the sinks after our business was finished, she was a woman, and we discussed her love of Gir and Invader Zim, as evidenced by her t-shirt, hoodie and messenger bag. My kinda gal, to be sure.

Health No Whining Soulful Too Long For Twitter


I promised to write this post last week, but due to the insane preparations for my hubby’s 40th birthday, a three night stay at our friend’s house and a rough weekend illness-wise, this is the first chance I’ve had to finish writing and post it. While I apologize for the lateness, the topic actually came up again in a discussion with a young woman still trying to recover from an abusive relationship and I think I have better formulated my thoughts.

Someone in Twitter expressed how hard it is to forgive someone for hurting you while they are still doing it. I won’t say who it was, as it may make a complicated situation more difficult.

My response was a lesson that was hard learned and remains even harder to enforce: “Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, not the other person. It takes a lot of work, but is freeing.”

That brought a follow-up tweet by @ObiOrion: “There are acts over the recent years I’ve been forced to accept but does that mean I have to forgive?”

Short answer? Of course not. You can hold on to that for the rest of your life, if you so choose. I simply choose not to.

The long explanation of my short answer involves revealing that, like most, I’ve been hurt grievously by some that I loved. In the most damaging case, I spent years carrying the pain around with me, waiting for the phone calls of apology. I nurtured that pain, feeling justified and righteous, knowing that I did not deserve the years of mis-treatment from them, and that there would someday be an epiphany that would lead to them coming to me with arms open wide. I would finally have what I needed, which was acceptance for who I was and all that I had been, and continue, trying to do.

And you know what? I finally realized that those calls would never come. Maybe pride or a belief that I deserved the treatment that I got would never allow them to apologize or acknowledge my place in their lives.

So, being an analytical type of gal, I then had to ponder what to do with my need for apology as well as the need to have a situation that would allow me to forgive them. Because it was crushing me beneath the weight of anger, sadness and rejection to the point that at times I had trouble catching my breath.

Should I continue suckling at the teat of hurt and rejection? Drop hints or openly confront them on how I’d been wronged and hope for an apology to come? To get people to acknowledge that they aren’t, in actuality, any better than me? That we are all just animated lumps of meat with frailties, gifts, fears and beautiful flaws? That you don’t have to make someone feel worse to feel better about yourself? To break through facades built up over lifetimes in order for them to deal with things that were done to them?

Or, should I just forgive them? Let go all of the pain, rejection and loss that I felt. (Or at least try to). It seemed impossible and unlikely, but I’d heard some TV shrink talk about it, and while I initially scoffed, the possibility of freeing myself was tantalizing.

So, I simply stood in front of a mirror, went through some of the most egregious and painful events, and spoke them out loud while looking myself in eye. And then I told myself how I felt: rejected, diminished, foolish, ugly, unloved, fat and unworthy. You’d think I felt ridiculous or silly, but didn’t. I was caught up in it, as pent up as these feelings were. Hell, the venting aloud itself was cathartic.

Then I closed my eyes and thought long and hard on whether or not forgiveness was in my heart for the pain that I spoke aloud as well and all the pain I didn’t. I again looked myself in the eye, and said, “I forgive ‘A’. I forgive ‘B’. I forgive ‘C’ … And on and on down the list of people related to this long-term issue. I then gave myself permission to drop that load and move on without it. I know there are some that will call it crazy, (and I could NOT care less) but it took that physical tangible act for me to be able to begin to move past it. Hearing an apology from them was not something that I had control over. The only control I could exert was how I let it affect me and impact the rest of my life and future relationships.

The apologies never came. I’m convinced they never will. Now, I won’t lie and say there isn’t still insecurity and sadness. And a few aspects still haunt me.  But I’m freed from it, at least as much as if they had apologized and maybe even more than that. Because I did it for myself. I took control of how much more time I would waste on them and the pain they brought me over the years.

In talking with my aforementioned troubled friend, I could see how the continued burden weighed on her. Plus, there is a continuing issue that keeps these people in her life. Another friend and I tried to convince her to once and for all cut those ties, and move on past them. Don’t waste another minute on people that make you feel bad, especially since they may not agree that an apology is in order.

“I forgive.” Two simple words that mean so much. Who cares if the oblivious people that committed the painful acts that inspired it never hear it? And no, I’m not saying that if an apology is given that you should withhold forgiveness. That’s a personal choice you have to make. But I figure that life is pretty fragile and extremely short, so why not? It will likely make you feel even better for taking the high road.

Breast Cancer Firsts Friends Mom Soulful Too Long For Twitter

March Fourth Is A Day To March Forth

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I hate posting twice in the same day. This second post is not one I can resist, so you’ll have to bear with me.

Earlier today I submitted my paperwork to establish my own small (teensy, really) business. This is extremely exciting, as it will hopefully allow for some income in a “work at home” way as well as allow us some creative opportunities.

Now, this morning I already announced that I now have the verbal, soon to be written, legal rights to publish my Mom’s short story and will be moving forward with my breast cancer charity anthology. Submission guidelines for written works as well as cover and inside art will be posted as soon as I have the details fine-tuned.

Then, around noon, I excitedly dropped off the business filing paperwork at the Richmond office immediately prior to picking up my visiting friend M.A. in PA from her mass transit delivery system.

She immediately told me that it was the perfect day for it because of March the Fourth being a day to March Forth, which is exactly what I had done. The crazy coincidence of it all swept me up in a giddy excitement. The perfect, unplanned timing of it was such a lovely surprise. Especially when I looked down to see that I had absent-mindedly put a t-shirt with “Realize” emblazoned across the front.

So take a moment today and be bold. Do something you’ve been putting off. Take on a new project or finish up an old one. Do anything, so long as it’s a step forward in some way.

Happy Fourth of March!

Chooch Dizzy Friends Our Kids Soulful Too Long For Twitter Twitter/Facebook

Grateful, Not Bragging

I just tweeted:
“Dizzy from phone call, emails and DM’s from friends. I am so very blessed. Must find a way to pay the Universe back for what I have.”

I’m now in the grips of a dizzy spell, one of the few that I’ve gotten from positivity rather than negativity.

I happily sit, wavering in my chair, because of the overwhelming sense of love and positivity sent my way this morning via text, phone call, DMs and emails.

It’s completely overwhelming, and I feel like a decadent king with huge piles of friendship on a banquet table in front of me. I dare not indulge too much, or I might burst.

There are a lot of things that I can’t share about the trip to Arkansas, for obvious reasons. While I am over the moon for the result, having Naughty Bear local again and having time with LT, it took a huge physical, emotional and psychological toll on me. No, really. Huge.

To immediately return into the arms of my husband and beloved friends this past weekend utterly and completely soothed my ragged edges and invigorated me for more, More, MORE!

To then have a seemingly random outpouring from a variety of sources today? It’s more than any one person could possible deserve or hope for.

If this is too Happy-Unicorn-Rainbow-Lovey-Dovey for you, have no fear. I’m sure I’ll be pissed or depressed about something soon enough and will share it here. But I feel compelled to share the joy when I feel it, too.

Bliss is attainable and I recommend that you open yourself up to it if you haven’t already.

/stumbles with a drunken swagger/

“I love you, man!”

Books Breast Cancer Firsts No Whining Soulful Too Long For Twitter

Gauging Interest on Stories for Charity

Edit – March 3, 2011 – This project is definitely moving forward. I’m fine tuning details now and will post an official announcement with submission guidelines shortly. Thank you for your interest. ~Viv

~~~~Original Post~~~~

I am contemplating seeking out the rights from my father to publish a story my mother wrote about the death of her beloved grandmother.  I don’t want to make money off of it, I just want to share it. Chooch and I discussed podcasting it, but I think I would prefer something Greater be done with it.

It’s the only complete story of hers that I’ve found, or likely ever will find, so I can’t do a collection of her stories. I’m considering making it the centerpiece in a book I hope to write about her. For this I would need time and distance from the subject to not feel overwhelmed and never finish it.

The other idea is to do a compilation of stories from other people that have been impacted, preferably on breast cancer but may include a wider variety of cancers. All profits would go to fund cancer research, if any are made. What I would need for this is submissions from folks that have a story to tell regarding breast cancer. While the story can be fictional, my preference would be that the author has either battled the disease or knows someone that did and was impacted by their struggle.

Again, my preference would be breast cancer stories since it has devastated my mother’s and my own life so profoundly with the loss of my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great aunts. It also looms greatly over my sister and I. That said, having lost my husband’s beloved brother to a different form of cancer, let alone several others, I’m not going to rule out including other cancer stories if I don’t have enough breast cancer stories to make a nicely sized anthology.

Let me be specific here, the story doesn’t have to be about the disease itself. For example, my mother’s story is in the voice of a child, and mentions aspects of the disease but is not clinical in nature. I envision a paragraph at the beginning of each story by the author, and this is where the inclusion of the story can be explained if not directly obvious.

Also, I plan on accepted works being paid an extremely modest fee.

What I’m asking is for anyone interested in submitting a short story to send an email to and include:

  • Your level of interest (Definite, unsure)
  • What type of cancer your story will involve (so I can determine how many breast cancer stories are out there)
  • The expected length of your submission. I’m willing to consider anything up to 30k words, be it flash fiction, poetry, short story or novella.
  • An estimate of how quickly you think you can submit the work.

Please do not make submissions at this time.

If I move forward, this will likely either be a long-term project (as long as 16 months) or a short-term project (preferred – as short as 5 months), depending on the response that I get, so please be honest about your turn around estimate.

Please note, this will likely be the first publication in the publishing house that Chooch and I have been planning to start for over three years now.

And if you are someone that has never written beyond work or school requirements before, be fearless! If I move forward, I will accept submissions from anyone, regardless of experience level.

I humbly request that you share this post far and wide, even if you are not interested in participating yourself.

~~~I’m closing comments here, as I prefer that all discussion occur via email. ~~~

Chooch Cool Links / Clicky Linky Movies Too Long For Twitter

Sixteen Candles for Valentine’s Day

I’d planned on giving a review of the documentary Don’t You Forget About Me after watching it with Chooch this past weekend. It’s about John Hughes and his effect on film makers, actors and audiences over the last 20 plus years. If you’re a fan of his movies, I highly recommend you watch it, as I think you may be as surprised as I was just how many other folks feel still warm and fuzzy over his movies. Particularly his “teen movies” in which you got the feeling that he really got what high school was like. He was an adult and he hadn’t lost touch with what it was like being a teenager, and that is a rare thing, even today. The really surprising thing, was the number of teenagers in this 2009 film that felt the same way I did, but over 20 years later.

In a strange twist of fate, I discovered a special return to the big screen of my own personal favorite of John Hughes’ catalog. Twenty-seven years after its original release, Sixteen Candles will be shown on Sunday, February 13 and Monday, February 14 at 7pm in limited release at AMC theaters. No, really! Here’s the link to the press release!

I’m ecstatic over this and hope that the shows sell out early. I can think of no better message to send to Hollywood as we are inundated with reboots of beloved movies. This classic cannot be improved upon, in my humble opinion, and I can’t wait to sit in a darkened theater with others just as excited as I am to see it again on the big screen. If you want to see it, I’m providing the AMC Theater link for you to search your location.

Ya know, there really should be a “squee” font for things like this…

Friends No Whining Too Long For Twitter Twitter/Facebook

Are Lengthy Twitter Debates Costing You Followers?

Let me start by saying that people should say anything they want in Twitter. It’s an open forum, so let your freak flag fly! I’m just hoping to enlighten those that may not be aware of the negative impact that long debates on politics, religion, ninjas vs. pirates vs. zombies, paper vs. plastic, or any other debates that are held in Twitter can have on your Followers. If you’re here for social interaction like me, you may not care. If you’re here pushing a product, project or other agenda, you may want to pay a little attention.

Yes, they may Unfollow because they disagree with your opinion. To this, I say “Meh.” People frequently disagree on topics, and you shouldn’t change your stance to please others nor should you say things you don’t believe. If they are that offended, you likely have so little in common that it’s no big loss.

More importantly, you are filling their Twitter stream with something they may deem either uninteresting or too controversial for them to want to join in. And at some point, you may begin lecturing or shouting down as others join in your debate. Let’s face it, debating a controversial viewpoint is exciting, isn’t it? It likely leads to more debate, too, filling your Followers’ stream even more with flotsam and jetsam (in their eyes). And more. And more. And more. And more. And more. And more. And more. And more. (Tedious, isn’t this?) And more. And more. And more. (Get the point?) And more. And more. And more. And more.

I believe that Twitter is a fine place to have conversation and have now been doing it for almost four years. (Yes, I’m a late-comer.) But as I recently posted in my own Twitter stream, I do feel very strongly that some discussions are far bigger than Twitter accommodates. Truncating your specific opinion down to 140 characters frequently leads to unintended interpretation, inflaming discussion and causing even MORE tweets to further explain your point. Add to that tweet count the people you are debating and it gets a unwieldy pretty quickly.

Allow me to give you two alternative options:

  • Why not state your opinion in a blog post and link it to your Twitter stream with a brief statement of your stance. People will then flock to your site to debate or agree with you in the comments. And who doesn’t love that? You and your fellow debaters will have more space to clearly state their points, and an understandable discussion can take place. Plus, your site stats will go up. Win-Win!
  • If you have a really hot debate going, why not take it to email or Google wave (Wave’s still around, right?)?

Either step will go far in maintaining good will with your followers, in my humble opinion. My finger gets mighty twitchy over the Unfollow button, and this is one of the main reasons.

Don’t have a blog? Create one! It’s easy as pie to do, and who doesn’t like pie? And you clearly have a lot to say, so why not create your own place to say it. Besides, these debates are lost in the Twitter timeline almost immediately. Create your own blog and you have it forever. And it’s pretty damned interesting looking over your blog a year later to see what you’ve written.

Now, this next suggestion may incite a few folks, but this is my space and my opinion and it’s not one that I alone hold. (Especially those of us that do not enjoy passionate political or religious debates in public venues.)

Realize that, for nearly every person you will ever meet, most views are held so personally that a Twitter or Facebook debate won’t change anyone’s opinion. Especially something like the recent Arizona shootings which sparked passionate debates with primarily political facets. You may be right, eloquent and impossible to disprove, and you still won’t change most people’s opinions.

Like most Twitter users, there are people that I Follow that are real world friends or acquaintances and there are people that I Follow that I’ve never met. In the case of the latter, it’s entirely likely that I’ll Unfollow them if they repeatedly debate and fill my Twitter stream to the point that I struggle to keep up with actual friends’ lives. And in the case of the former, I have (on very rare occasion) Unfollowed. It takes a lot for me to Unfollow an actual friend, but I have done it. After all, people can be very different in Twitter than they are in real life and it shouldn’t destroy friendship if you aren’t compatible in one or the other. At least in my humble opinion.

More often, I remove them from my Tweetdeck column so I can skip their debate until it’s over. Sometimes I remember to add them back, sometimes I don’t. A lot of folks very quietly use this sort of filtering in Twitter and in Facebook, as it’s less contentious than outright Unfollowing or Unfriending someone.

For those passionate debaters, you may not care if you are filtered out or Unfollowed, and I say more power to you! I just thought you should know the possible reason if your Follower count is lower after a lengthy and contentious debate.

Flame on!