Twitter can be intimidating for newbies. It’s like when you arrive at a party where you barely know anybody, and there are conversations going on all around you, and you just don’t quite know how to get involved at first.It helps when you know someone already there, but sometimes they’re already involved in other conversations. Maybe you hang out at the periphery and then engage when you have something meaningful to contribute. Maybe you wait for a lull or an icebreaker. Or maybe you just find the host’s dog to pet.
I know that last sentence was really convincing, but I am an even sadder sack than that. I really engage with inanimate objects.
I admire the decorations. I get really into appetizers. I frequently bring games to help me socialize, at least initially. I knock a lot of tchotchkes over. (Sorry, gracious hosts!)
I’ve started coming out of my shell on Twitter a bit over the past few months. I still mostly lurk — I eavesdrop on conversations and remarks without engaging with them directly. I tweet links out via other social media I’ve linked to my Twitter — my WordPress and Youtube accounts, mainly. I occasionally heart or retweet something someone posts that I find interesting. I click on many links myself, to articles with headlines that catch my eye.
But in terms of actually engaging, I am super into a giant straw goat from Sweden. It’s my favorite on Twitter right now. Nerd alert.
A Yule goat or Christmas goat is a traditional symbol and decoration for the Christmas season, most popular in Scandinavia and northern Europe. They are usually made of straw and are often small enough to hang as an ornament on a Christmas tree. The Gävle Goat is a giant version in the city of Gävle, Sweden. For the past several years, I have seen it mentioned annually, as it has in the past been burned down by mischief makers.
So this year, I decided to follow it on Twitter, because I want to find out what happens to it. Why not? I could always unfollow after the Christmas season is over.
I have to tell you, I really hope it doesn’t burn down this year. Because I have a crush on the Gävle goat.
It’s not like a full-blown infatuation. It’s more the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when somebody sees you being awkward at a party and makes an effort to include you.
It started on December 1st, when I tweeted:
And @Gavlebocken tweeted back! As a result, twelve more people retweeted me and twenty-four people gave my original tweet a heart.
Is that a lot? Not relative to people who have been on Twitter for a while and know what they’re doing. Honestly, my tweenage siblings weren’t impressed. But it was a lot for me. It’s a small thing that can make a big difference to someone. I felt welcomed and cheered.
And it wasn’t just a one-time thing, either. @Gavlebocken is engaging even with more mundane tweets. I tweeted again to it just this week, after the first graders at our school learned about Sweden during their “Christmas Around the World” Unit.
My heart cockles, they are warmed. And it’s because a giant straw goat talks to me on Twitter. And the fact that our first graders keep putting their ears to the floor to listen for gnomes. That’s also fun.
We’re cheering for you to make it through this holiday season, Gävlebocken! Love and luck from Ohio, USA.