the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Twitter (Page 1 of 2)

Will Meryl Streep Ever Follow Me On Twitter?


Tonight is Oscar night, which brings up the same question I have asked myself again and again over the last seven years — “Will Meryl Streep ever follow me back on Twitter?” Or let me ask this in another way — “If I go my entire life without Meryl Streep following me back on Twitter, will I view my existence on earth as somewhat of a failure?”

I rarely dream about being followed back on Twitter. I know you care a lot about this.   I see you.  I see how you ass-kiss celebrities in the hope that they will validate your life.  I’m not impressed with that many people online.  OK, once I stalked someone. Yes, it was you Bon Stewart. I read one of your blog posts back when you wrote normal posts not about your crazy dissertation, and I went onto Twitter and asked, “Does anyone know this person? Because I want to know her.” And within an hour we were following each other on Twitter.

I don’t think this approach will work with Meryl Streep.  Meryl Streep is not as “easy” as you.

Celebrities tend to only follow back OTHER celebrities. Sometimes I see that they follow some journalist or author so they can appear intelligent to their fans, the online equivalent of Jessica Alba going to the gym wearing librarian glasses. Of course, celebrities only follow  other famous people when they are at a career high.  If a celebrity, journalist, or author gets in trouble for a inappropriate tweet or has a nervous breakdown on TMZ, then Goodbye Charlie.  As a CAA agent once told me during an interview, “Winners ONLY associate with winners.  That’s what Hollywood is about.  Period.”

Imagine the stress celebrites must feel not following us all back. We find it hard juggling 300 friends on Facebook. Imagine having people wanting your autograph and photo every time you walk into an Arby’s. I can understand why Meryl Streep might want to hide from her fans.

But me too, Meryl?

I like to look over the following lists of celebrities.   I’m always wondering, “Don’t celebrities have any friends outside of other celebrities? Don’t they have any annoying friends left over from grade school, or an Aunt Tilly in Tulsa that they are forced to follow on Twitter because their mother told them it was polite.”

It’s as if once you reach celebrity status, you can’t use social media for anything other than being a celebrity. I’m sure Meryl Streep would love to engage with me and talk about my instagram filters, but she just CAN’T — “says her business manager.”

Meryl, is that true?

Here is some article on “How to Make a Celebrity Follow You on Twitter.”

But honestly, do you really think any type of “engagement” or mere gimmick is going to win over Meryl Streep.   She’s not an idiot.   She went to Yale.   My movie buff friend Danny Miller interviewed Meryl Streep, AND could quote lines from Sophie’s Choice to her all night long, and Meryl Streep still doesn’t even him!

Perhaps this is my motivation to finish this dumb screenplay I’ve been working on forever. If I can change the stoned twenty-something character to a beautiful and sophisticated fifty year old artisan bakery owner, perfect for Meryl, and we can get her to agree to the part, maybe…. just maybe… but then again, I don’t think actresses even follow the screenwriters of their films. It’s a step down in the hierarchy. Way down.

I need to accept that Meryl Streep will never follow me back on Twitter. And what do I need her for anyway? I love all the friends that DO follow me back, and I would never trade any of you in for the greatest living actress.

OK, I would.

The Thomas Edison of Twitter Mute Filters

I’ll admit it. The torrent of information online wrecks havoc on my anxiety level. While most writers worry about getting more “hits,” I am consumed with filtering you out. I say this with love because I care about you. And if I care too much, I start to flounder. Everyone seems to have a blog, or at least a Facebook page. Who should I deem most important to me? I follow terrible writers who are amazing individuals. I follow amazing writers who are terrible individuals. I follow college friends, homeschooling Moms, Orthodox rabbis, Wiccans, and journalists with the New York Times. Sometimes I just need a rest, or at least to make my online world a smaller village.

I use Social Fixer for Facebook. It is a free browser extension that helps me hide things like your annoying games. Do what you want in the privacy of your own home. I don’t not need to know who you killed in Mafia Wars. I’m also a big fan of the Facebook “Close Friends” list. I’m constantly switching it up, depending on how I feel about you at the moment. So, be careful! No one is safe.

My Google Reader is a perpetually mess. I open it up, see 10,000 unread items and want to vomit. There are just too many choices. On days when my anxiety level is high, I borrow a technique I first encountered on Backpacking Dad three years ago — I use the Next Reader Bookmark in my browser. My system — I create a folder of personal favorites on Google Reader, no more than 20 blogs at a time. I then install the Next Reader Bookmark, but only for this specific folder. Now, when I am in the mood for some reading, I simply press the button and a blog boots up. I’m never sure which blogger will show up next, since it is ordered by publication date, but that’s part of the fun, like playing the slot machine in Vegas. But since the twenty-five reading choices in the folder are special to me, I’m usually happy with what shows up.

Do I use this Next folder all the time? No. I like to read new material. But on those days when life is stressful, my Next button is comforting, like a mother spoon-feeding a baby information.

Twitter is my true nemesis. Even in my private lists, I feel like I am constantly being bombarded by links. Do this. Read this. Vote for me. I know social media is all about promotion, but sometimes I just like the conversation. Tweetbot, my mobile Twitter app, and Tweetdeck, my web app, offer filters to help mute certain keywords or hashtags.

I hadn’t explored these mute filters very closely, until last night. I cleared my desk, opened up my Twitter apps, and spent some time experimenting with different words and phrases as mute filters. I wanted to create a better Twitter experience for myself. And that’s when the Eureka moment occurred — I typed the term “/” into the mute filter form box, pressed enter, and suddenly, every single tweet containing any link disappeared from my view — all of them, from the newbie blogger to Mashable. All that was left was conversation and status updates. It was as if I had inadvertently discovered the common denominator of ever link. If an update had a “/” it was muted. Again, I wouldn’t do this most of the time. I like having Twitter as an RSS feed. But I had just created a choice for myself.

I immediately called Juli in New Zealand. I told her the story, trying to impress her, as men are apt to do with women.

“That’s nice,” she said.

“I don’t think you get how significant this discovery is to the online world. I even googled this “/” thing as a Twitter mute filter, and found no references at all. It’s like I’m the Thomas Edison of Twitter Mute Filters!”

Last week, Juli’s mother had discovered my blog and read the post where I discussed the terms “pussy” and “dick.”

“He’s uh, certainly different,” she told Juli. “But what has he accomplished?”

So, HERE YOU GO, Juli’s Mother! I know you are reading this post. Here’s your answer — I am THE THOMAS EDISON OF TWITTER MUTE FILTERS!

You’re daughter is lucky to know such a genius.


December is a month where many of us look back, and look forward, preparing ourselves to take the next step into the new year.

During the past, this would be a time where I would go into my blog archives and compile my ten favorite posts.  This year, I haven’t been motivated to do that.

2011 was an odd year for me online.

I felt more isolated as a blogger in 2011, as most of my peers grouped together under the parenting umbrella.

The energy moved away from personal blogs to social media and group blogs.

I had a troll bugging me for months.

I wrote less on the blog, and lost touch with others.

I went from someone who hardly knew how to use a camera to a person running around New York City taking instagram photos, feeling that I could better capture my daily emotional state with images than words.

I seriously thought about ending my blog, and focusing my energies on more practical endeavors.

But I plan to continue.   I am crazy like that.

Do you have any plans for your blog in 2012?  Do you feel that personal blogging is dead? Do you feel that only 1% of the bloggers get 99% of the attention?  Do you believe that you can make money with your blog?  Can you still be honest about our lives online without being called a freak?

Usually, we discuss these issues at expensive blogging conferences in far-away cities.  But a couple of us came up with an idea —  why not just come onto Twitter tonight, for free, in an organized by free-wheeling conversation on this subject?   No sponsors.  Just talk.

Want to discuss the state of blogging heading into 2012?  Tweet w/ @Schmutzie & I and many others at 10pm EST (7PM PST) tonight, Monday, December 12.

use the hashtag #blog2012

And remember, despite our many concerns as bloggers in an unstable economy, we should celebrate another year of online writing!   This Sunday, December 18, is The Sixth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert!  

Please submit all songs and photos by December 17th.

The Evolution of Friendship on Social Media

Dick:  Hey, Jane, what’s up?  I had a tuna sandwich for lunch.  What did you have?

Jane:  I had a yogurt.


Dick:  Hey, Jane, what’s up?  Did you see what Tom is doing?  All he does is put up links to his own blog posts!  How crude.

Jane:  I know!   What a self-absorbed loser.


Dick:  Hey, Jane, what’s up?  Did you see that Tom has hired six ghostwriters to put up links all day to his own blog posts, and now he has a million followers?!

Jane:  That’s crazy.  Most people are just sheep who can’t think for themselves.


Dick:  Hey, Jane, what’s up?  Did you learn anything from Tom at that seminar on social media?

Jane:  Read my post.


Dick:  Hey, Jane, what’s up?

Jane:  Read my post.  And buy Tom’s new book on social media.  And vote for me as one of the top ten most interesting conversationalists online.


Dick:  Hey, Jane, what’s up?



Dick:  Read my post.  Buy Tom’s book.



Dick:  Everyone, you MUST READ Jane’s brilliant new earth-shattering blog post right now!

Jane:  Thanks, dude!  RT @Dick “Everyone, you MUST READ Jane’s brilliant new earth-shattering blog post right now!”


Dick:  Read my post.  Read Jane’s post.  Buy Tom’s book.

Jane:  Read my post.  Read Dick’s post.  Buy Tom’s book.

The Sad Tale of the Golden Globes Award Tweet

As a professional writer, there is nothing worse than finding out that someone else has written material similar to your own, and has gotten his work to the marketplace before yours. This can make your own project die an early death. Even if you have spent three grueling years writing your homo-erotic thriller about two Roman gladiators, thinking this is the most unique concept ever devised, if you read in the trades that Michael Chabon has just sold “Claudius and Octavius: The Forbidden Dance,” to Random House, you know the gig is up.

It is why so many writers end up drinking.

For the last two months, I have been hard at work on a secretive writing project that I intended to unveil to the world — today. I picked today because as an experienced blogger, I know today was the beginning of Hollywood award season, a primo time to grab attention on Twitter with clever wit. So, I was going to be ready for Golden Globes Award night with my secret project — the unveiling of the best snarky tweet that has ever been seen on the blogosphere.

For two months, I worked, preparing. I knew that if the stars were aligned correctly that night (and we all know how difficult that is nowadays with zodiac signs changing their position every year), I could use my online wit to make it into the newspapers. From there, your entire career can skyrocket. I hate to brag, but you do remember my mention in the Sunday Times of London in 2007 for my blog post about the that year’s Oscars ceremony don’t you? (that’s the freakin’ London Times, which makes me the equivalent of blogging’s Colin Firth!). (Oh, I have mentioned this article before. You mean a 100 times before? Oh, well.)

But now it is 2011. The action has moved from blogging to Twitter. If you want to make it in today’s world, you have to be witty in 140 characters. Brevity and sarcasm are key to most good tweets. People love it. Whenever I say something funny, I get more followers. Whenever I say something unfunny, like “What a crappy day. I am feeling depressed,” those exact same folks drop me like a hot potato. So it is important — at least on Twitter — to always be cocky, clever, and a little snooty. It is the method that seems to work best.

As I mentioned, knowing how important award season is online, I began writing my killer Golden Globe tweet back in November. I believe writing is rewriting, so I wanted enough time to expand on my concept. When the Golden Globe presenter announcements were made last month, I devised a list of celebrity/presenters, and matched them with appropriate jokes. I eventually narrowed my list down to a few select Hollywood actresses who either deserved to be mocked, or who gave me a strong opportunity to make a unique pun. After two months of grueling work, I finished my masterpiece tweet, which was to be published online on Twitter at the exact moment Jennifer Love Hewitt appeared on the red carpet before the show.

Here is my award-winning tweet:

“Hey, Jennifer Love Hewitt. Nice dress. Now we know why the show is called the Golden Globes.”

Isn’t that terrific? A perfect combination of sophisticated humor and “Hollywood insider” subtlety. I could imagine my followers howling with laughter — and I mean everyone — from the Ivy League educated career woman to the housewife who never went beyond high school, from the Beverly Hills mom in her Prada dress to the Walmart shopping divorcee from New Orleans. The tweet was so clever that I knew it would cut across all economic, racial, political, and religious divides, uniting a hurting country through laughter.

I turned the television on at 5PM as the red carpet ceremony began. The regular wits had already begun their work. Someone made a joke about latest Joan Rivers surgery. There were numerous boos and hisses over the Helena Bonham Carter’s dress. Some of these tweets were somewhat amusing, but I understood them to be written by lazy amateurs, spitting out one-liners without any knowledge of Twitter craft.

And then, Jennifer Love Hewitt approached the red carpet. As expected, she was wearing a tight dress that showed off her bosom. It was my time to shine, for me to bring Twitter to a halt with my amazingly snarky tweet. Would all of the Twitter servers be able to handle the thousands and thousands of retweets after I wrote my comment?

And then it came — a second before I was about to press publish — another tweet, written by a simple homeschooling mom with only 200 followers — I forget her name because I immediately unfollowed her:

“It looks like Jennife Luv Hewit has two big Golden Gloves as bewbs!”

I vomited.

This tweet didn’t get much of a reaction, for obvious reasons. She spelled Jennifer Love Hewitt’s name incorrectly. Worse, saying “two big Golden Gloves (sic) as bewbs,” ruins the concept. Let the audience put it together! Most readers would understand that the Golden Globes is a euphemism for her “bewbs.” If you say it out loud, it is insulting, and even worse — unfunny.

After this disaster, I was unable to publish my tweet. Even thought my tweet was 5000x more superior, a James Joyce’s “Ulysses” of a tweet compared to her Snooki, others would have called me a “copycat.” Other jealous bloggers out to destroy me would say I “steal tweets” and my reputation as a genius twitterer would be forever sullen.

So, while many actors, directors, and writers were honored tonight for their creative achievements, I will forever remember tonight as a sad one for the artistic world. It was the night that never saw “the wittiest, most snarky, most creative Golden Globes tweet ever written, that surely would have brought Twitter to her knees.”

One Day Off Twitter (Or “Getting Off” — Ha Ha)

Sophia and I had an unlikely laugh today, thanks to… of all things, Twitter.

I wanted to stay off of Twitter for a week, but I just didn’t have the self-control to do it. That’s when a friendly voice on Twitter came up — a blogger named @krisiallen — with the million dollar solution:

@Neilochka give someone you trust your password & have them change it & not tell you what it is.

I thought that was genius. Seriously. I think someone could develop a whole service out of this. You give access to your social media passwords to some bond-trusted customer service representative in, say India, and when you get too distracted from your work, you text this service, writing, “Cut me off from Twitter and Facebook for three hours, and don’t let me back on, even if I call you crying.”

A few friends offered to be my bad cop, but I knew the perfect person to help me with my plan — one person who was so loaded with integrity, and strong-willed, that she wouldn’t cave in no matter how much I begged or offered free Olive Garden coupons. Yes, Sophia.

Note: In retrospect, this was not the smartest decision, considering that she now has access to everything I’ve ever written privately to any of you on DM, but let’s just say that despite my advanced degrees, I’m not the brightest guy on the block.

At midnight, she cut me off from Twitter. I felt a sense of relief.

Unfortunately, this morning, there was an unforeseen glitch. I noticed that Twitter had sent me an email notifying me of the password change and wanting me to confirm it. I had to call Sophia to tell her to change the password AND the email.

After my morning coffee, I sat down to work. I was productive for about five minutes, when I absentmindedly grabbed my iphone to check Twitter on one of my seventeen different Twitter apps. And — boom — just like that — I was given access to the pot of gold. Even after the password and email change, I was back on Twitter. Would I have to destroy every laptop in the country before I could be free of this tempting siren with her heaving social media bosom? I was advised by a friend online that I would need to SIGN OUT first for the new password to take affect. Twitter certainly makes it difficult to leave, don’t they? Like leaving the Mafia?

I went one step further. I deleted all of the Twitter apps off of my iPhone.

Around lunchtime, I became hungry again… and not for lunch. For gossip. Was anyone talking about me? Perhaps there was an emergency on the blogosphere and someone was calling out for me on Twitter, desperately needing my help, and I was selfishly absent.

“@neilochka? @neilochka! We need you.”

Maybe I shouldn’t reveal this to other twitter addicts, but if you go onto Google and search you Twitter handle, like @neilochka, you can see if anyone has mentioned you! Sadly, my only mention was a spam offer for “penis pills from Brazil.” I guess there weren’t that many emergencies I had to deal with today. I could go back to work.

Five minutes ago, I went on my iphone to check on Facebook (which has been my poor cousin procrastination tool of today — I’m just not that into you, Facebook!) And there is was, sitting in a little corner of one of my iphone screens, right next to Evernote — Hootsuite, a Twitter client that I rarely used. I opened it up and instantly saw all my missed Direct Messages. There was only one, but it was like manna from the sky. I decided to keep this twitter application a little secret between me and God. I wouldn’t use it to update. I would just read up on what others are doing. I would just use it to pimp my new blog posts. That’s legit. If I don’t pimp my posts on Twitter, no one is gonna read them, right? And less money for my family.

But that would be cheating. And we are all trying to teach the next generation that cheating is bad. And I am supposed to be the Citizen of the Month.

I haven’t deleted the app just yet. But I will… right after I publish this post. Honestly.

P.S. — More important than this boring post is this — I don’t usually send my readers off to other blog posts written by better bloggers than I am for obvious selfish reasons, such as not wanting to feel inferior, or having you read her blog before mine, but Jenn Mattern, the super-talented writer of Breed ‘Em and Weep, wrote this post about marriage, divorce, hurt, and healing that is just beautiful, very personal in nature, and touched me a lot.

And while I greatly admire her writing, I even admire her more for her amazing ability to stay off of Twitter without resorting to using handcuffs.

Master of My Internet Domain

This is truly pathetic. I had a dream last night about… being on Twitter. Not about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Not about walking with dinosaurs. Not about an orgy in a Parisian hotel room. No, typing dumb updates for strangers, limited by 140 characters.

You realize the only reason I am writing this is because I know this will update on Twitter and Facebook, so this is my way of cheating and communicating to others, to make sure I am not forgotten, like a child star from an old sitcom. This post has no literary value.

I deleted Twitter and Facebook from my iPhone, and it helped. I wrote with paper and pen to avoid the Internet. I talked on the phone. I emailed.

Ok. I cheated. I just went on Twitter and Facebook… to look if anyone mentioned me. Now I have to start the whole week all over again. Sad.

Remember that Seinfeld episode where they tested who was “master of their domain?” This is just as difficult.

Why are you so important to me? Or am I trying to run away from here?

News Flash: Facebook is as Addictive as Twitter

Day One off Twitter was going pretty well. Why? Because there was still… Facebook.

When I decided to test my resolve with Twitter, I wasn’t worried about Facebook because, unlike many of you, I’m not addicted to Facebook. I can take it or leave it. I go days without going on Facebook. Sometimes, I can’t even think of a good status update.

(Mom, I’m sorry this post is going to sound like Chinese to you, but try to follow along. Think of Twitter and Facebook as the digital equivalent of cigarettes and hard liquor).

Facebook is not a “conversation,” and I am mostly addicted to talking in real time. The comments on Facebook come to you in familiar form, like in a blog post. You don’t have to rush to be there every minute or feel like you are missing out on important cultural information or the latest trend. I’m also comfortable being a “broadcaster” on Facebook, which means acting like one of those self-important jerks who sends out links and updates about myself, without caring much about any of you or what you have to say. I can separate myself from the mob.

This is impossible for me on Twitter. I care about complete strangers on Twitter. The interplay of words and emotions is so personal; it feels as if we are in bed together whispering secrets to each other. No wonder I am always making sexual innuendos! Despite Twitter’s reputation for being business and PR friendly, it is a place of intimacy, much more personal in content and concept than Facebook. The conversations seem “real,” and I always forget that 1000 other people are reading my words as I chat with someone about their marriage. You see this happen in real life, in crowded cafes in Manhattan, where the couple seated next to you speaks openly about personal matters, ignoring the fact that you are sitting five inches away, overhearing every word.

Facebook updates tend to be cheery, like “I rocked that new job interview.” Twitter tends to get more of the S.O.S. type of messages, such as, “My grandmother just collapsed! For heaven’s sake, send prayers from the almighty!” You have to be one f*cking cold person to not get involved with others on Twitter, unless your only role in life is to tell snarky one-liners. It is overwhelming, especially for neurotic, codependent types like myself. You need me. And I need you.

(Mom, I know this sound a little batty, but you know what I’m talking about. You’re always making fun of those people on the bus who constantly have their face in their phone, texting. This is what is happening to me!)

So Day One off Twitter was going well. I avoided Twitter. I updated my Facebook status instead… three times. I published a funny photo of Jesus dishes from the 99 cent store. I re-shared and mocked a link about bloggers and brands. I looked at Kyran’s new profile photo. I read about Kathy’s surgery. And then, holy shit, I understood what was going on — I was losing my status as a broadcaster and CARING ABOUT YOU FREAKING LOSERS on FACEBOOK. Am I that lonely? Am I that afraid of being alone?

PLEASE! Leave me alone. I have work to do.

New plan. Start over again. A week without Twitter AND FACEBOOK.

A Week Off Twitter

I decided last night to test myself by staying off Twitter for a week. I tried this experiment a few months ago and lasted two days. Am I really such a weak person?

This morning, I was awoken at six AM by the sweetest voices floating in the air. But they were dangerous too; Sirens were trying to distract me. They were the cries of distant women needing me, naked women only wearing the reddest of lipsticks, whispering things i cannot repeat, virtual seductresses luring digital sailors with their 140 character music to shipwreck on the rocky coast of social media.

As it started to drizzle outside my window, I watched the wetness softly hitting the glass, and wondered, “Did they really need me, or did i need them? And was this all in my mind, delusions splashing around my head like the noisy wet waves of the ocean?”

I bit my lip to cause myself pain, and I repeated to myself, “Be strong. I can do this.”

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