Seven years ago I signed up for Twitter. It was different back then, not the spammy marketing-dominated firehose it has become today. Back then it had more of a community feel. We were still figuring out what Twitter was, what it could be. People on the outside would sneer at us. “I don’t care what you had for breakfast!” As if that really was what most fascinates geeks.

No, people just didn’t grok Twitter. But I’m not sure we did, either.

I went through several phases, from following just a few people and trying to read every tweet—yeah, that wasn’t working out to well—to embracing the noise and following a bunch of people, and just catching what I could.

Now I use it just to share interesting stuff and see what interesting people are sharing. Because of the nature of my work, the topics in my Twitter account today are mostly about tech, design, open source, internet policy, Drupal—that kind of stuff. In contemporary context, my having joined seven years ago makes me an early adopter, but at the time I was definitely late to the party. Even so, I got what now seems like a pretty decent handle: @lauras. Yay for me.

Astute readers who actually view my posts on the desktop computer may note that this is not the Twitter handle I have in the sidebar here on this website. [Edit 2022: The website was different back then.] Why is that? Because the relationship between author and reader is quite different from the relationship between, say, geeks. Or friends. Or family members. Frankly, if I were to tell my friends and colleagues in the tech world that I was working on a novel, I’d get blank stares. “Novelist” is not a role that fits with the roles by which they know me.

We’re all pretty persnickety when it comes to what books we read, especially when it comes to fiction. It’s just not easy for us to accept the butcher, the banker, the politician, or the web designer as an author of novels. Our favorite novelists are other—special people we see through the lens of the text. They don’t live next door. They certainly don’t do our taxes. (This is a whole topic I could get into much more here, but won’t. Maybe later.) At any rate, I thought I needed a new Twitter account for the occasion, because nobody from my “old world” would understand. Thus:

This is the kind of thing you might find on my new writing/publishing Twitter account:

But this is the kind of thing you might find on my regular Twitter account, the one I’ve had for seven years now:

Someday I may consolidate these, but for now, I think I’ll stick with the Balkanized more focused approach.