Kari Byron, Mythbuster Mom: Dipping a Toe in the Twitter Stream

Featured GeekMom Technology

Kari-March-photo-475x475As I watched my 19-month-old daughter masterfully navigate my iPhone, I couldn’t help but wonder how far technology will innovate in her lifetime. I am seriously in awe: She unlocked the phone, found Yo Gabba Gabba on my iTunes, and played the video. She figured it out faster than I first did. That is the moment I realized, “I need to keep up or become obsolete.”

So the next stop for me: Twitter.

It may seem silly, but I have had an internal philosophical debate about synthetic intimacy since Friendster. My hesitation may stem from the fact that I am a prodigal daughter of the Silicon Valley. As the Internet was becoming a juggernaut, I skipped town and lived out of a backpack. My friends were drenched in technology by the time I got back. My refrain was, “Why would I want to be in a chat room? I can just go to an actual place where people are! Friends? You don’t even know them!” Since then I’ve always felt one step behind.

It’s time to catch up. As my nerd posse would say, “Resistance is futile.”

I agonized over opening a Twitter account. I have a healthy fear of the Internet; everything you say is written in pen. There are no “take backs.” Besides, what if no one follows me? What if I don’t have anything to say? What if I say the wrong thing? I suddenly felt like it was the first day of school and I was wearing the off-brand jeans my mom bought on sale at Mervyn’s.

But… Here we go! I just signed up. I am on the train. I tweeted my first tweet. Somehow it feels like the world just got smaller. I am in the club, part of the Matrix, connected. I may not have profound wisdom or charming jokes to share just yet, but…

I am a citizen of the modern world.

Yes, I know everyone is already on Twitter … but at least I got online before my daughter did. Maybe the next step will be figuring out how to fix my computer without asking the twenty-somethings in the office to help me.

Kari can be found on Twitter @KariByron.

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33 thoughts on “Kari Byron, Mythbuster Mom: Dipping a Toe in the Twitter Stream

  1. Welcome Kari! I went straight to your account when Grant tweeted your entrance into the stream of consciousness that is twitter.

    have fun!

    Jen

  2. I fully confess to not having the slightest idea where to BEGIN with Twitter. I don’t think of it as me being Behind the Times as much as Trying to Avoid Timesuck. I have enough trouble trying to keep up with Facebook. Now, BLOGS I like. Theoretically you would think blogs would take up more time, but you can SKIM blog posts to see if they’re worth reading before you read them, while short bursts– Tweets and Status Updates and so forth– you have to read in their entirety, and even though each only takes a few seconds, I still feel like reading “Going to bed now!” is a waste of those few seconds, and it flusters me. I think it’s something that would make more sense to people who actually have smartphones (I’m not behind the times, I’m just working-class!) , instead of someone whose online life is limited to a couple hours a day snatched off a desktop computer, so I don’t know if that’s my answer or not!

  3. Three words describe Kari’s comments above-Intelligent and insightful.
    Kari is a delight and MythBusters rocks because she is part of the team.

  4. Your daughter is one smart cookie – no surprise there. 🙂

    However, twitter is at least something you can post a quick shout out to and run away. 🙂 I find it much easier to navigate than the madness that is Facebook. :-p

    Welcome to the Twitterverse – just don’t get sucked into it like Jeri Ryan and go crazy looking for videos and pictures to pass along. *lol*

  5. I didn’t get the appeal of being on twitter for a while either. What got me was reading Neil Gaiman a couple of years ago when he decided he was tired of it being cold and he would take a road trip south to write. He wrote things like “driving south through Illinois; have not yet reached the mythical land where water is a liquid.”. I found that very fun and charming, so I tend to tweet a lot when I travel.

    And remember, as with any technology, the critical thing is the it’s your slave, you are not its.

    Sincerely,

    CS

  6. You are so right. The kids of today will be so much more tech savvy then those of generations before them. Your daughter is very beautiful. Love you on all your shows.

  7. I hated the idea of Twitter too, but I work in technology (I too am a GeekMom), and everyone who is anyone is out here. It is hands down the best way to stay current with trends.

    It isn’t about what you had for breakfast is is about sharing your knowledge. Thanks for joining the pool – your contributions are most appreciated!

  8. Welcome to the twitterverse! Don’t worry about being up to twitter speed right away. I joined twitter because a couple of acquaintances had twitter accounts and then didn’t use it for over a year. eventually I had a cell phone plan that had enough texts to allow me to get some tweets from some of my twitter friends.

    Im still not as embedded in twitter as some people, but it allows me to connect as a fan with some of my favorite authors and tv personalities *coughcough*. I can see them not only as celebs, but as human beings too when they post about the events of their every day life.

    It is has a learning curve like everything else but once you get moving, it gets easier.

    I already follow your twitter, I am @ShadowL

  9. Twitter is my last hold out. I get enough of that noise from Facebook, though I did relent and create a class homepage on Facebook so I could have ~yet another~ avenue to relate content and expectations to students. Of course the class page is just a dumping ground for the RSS feed for the class website/ blog so perhaps that doesn’t count. Welcome to the present Kari. The real challenge isn’t, I think, how much our children (we have a 3 year old) will be connected, it’s what they will do with that connection.

    Will it help them build better, stronger relationships, or will it trivialize more and more of life down to “what can you do for me? You have 140 characters to make your pitch”?

  10. I am resistant to Twitter. To me, it’s nothng but a Facebook status update. So I don’t see the point in having another thing to check when it’s all the same. Maybe if it were something different and better had more functionality, maybe, I would then join, but in the mean time I will not partake.

  11. Kari,

    When I heard you were joining the Twitter ranks, I was thrilled; but in a way I hope you can appreciate. My own daughter (at the age of 6) has told me when she grows up she wants to be a Mythbuster.

    More specifically, she wants to grow up to be you.

    Following you on Twitter, I hope to catch a few of your insights so I may point them out to my daughter and say “See, Miss Kari is eating HER vegetables. That’s how she got so smart.” or “Look, hon, Miss Kari’s blowing something up today. She can do that because she knows her math.” so thanks for stepping into the Twitter stream. I’ve written two books on Twitter, so if you have any questions, feel free to give me a ping. I’d be more than happy to help.

    My first bit of advice: Download and implement TweetDeck. I introduced many writers at the 2011 San Francisco Writers Conference to it, and they said to me “I get it! I finally get it!”

    On a side note, to echo something you said, it astounds me how easy kids pick up new tech. My child had mastered my iPhone at 3 and at 6 she is very responsible and quite apt with her iPad. I’m finding it easy to encourage her in the sciences with your help. Her favorite Mythbusters’ episodes so far are the Alcatraz Break, the Shark Special 2, and the Top 25 retrospective. Because of what she sees on the show, science is a priority; and considering the various tech I’ve seen in the past year, that is a good thing to have a handle on.

    Welcome to Twitter, and thanks for everything you do.

  12. Kari…you are awesome. The idea that YOU (of all people) would have no followers is absurd!

    I do not have a Twitter account, and really don’t see the need, as I have 3 failed blog attempts because I really don’t have that much to say. What I do have to say can be said on facebook with people I know. Having those same people on a twitter feed would be overkill and I’m of the same mind-set as you (well, the more out of touch you) in that I actually know my friends…personally…as in I’ve met in them “IRL”.

    Good luck on being a Twit, I’m sure if there were ever a reason for me to sign up to Twitter…you would be the reason.

  13. I have to totally agree with you. I am not Twitter just because I want actual interaction with the human race (my friends & family). Yes Facebook allowed me to find my best friend from high school. But after that I would rather go visit her.
    I don’t like wasting time on “going to bed” status’s.
    I guess i’m old fashioned. Don’t get me wrong I have a smart phone & am linked in so many ways I just don’t feel like going totally tech.

    Sorry I prefer the real deal.

  14. I know the feeling of wanting to resist getting sucked so completely into the computer and living more virtually than actually, but I like all the different ways of interacting. Being shy, I now have a springboard for conversation and have more of an opportunity for face to face friendships because we connected on the web.

    My son is eight and I find I NEED to understand the rules of the web so that I can protect him as well as allow him to be comfortable with computers to compete in the world as he grows.

    Thank you for your comments, I would “follow you” but I’m not on Twitter. Facebook is enough for me right now… good luck!

  15. Nice to see you on Twitter, but mostly want to say I love your writing! Great post. Your daughter is a cutie and, no doubt, smart like her mamma. 🙂

  16. I too fear technological change and by the time I adjust something new has come out to replace what I JUST got adjusted to, so I’m always behind in he hopes that innovation will eventually slow down some so I can catch ups.In some facets I am better than others. I hesitated on getting a facebook account myself for quite a while and evetually caved. I haven’t got twitter, not planning to get it but who knows what will happen.

    Oh and Kari, your little girl is SUPER cute! I’m so glad you finally posted a pic of her 🙂

  17. Kari, I’m 24 and I’m also tech-illiterate. I don’t have a twitter account either (actually twitter isn’t that big in our country compared to facebook-i’m form the philippines). While growing up my parents banned anything “addictive” in our house which inculded computer and computer games. I’m pretty stupid with gadgets, I learned to chat because it was required to use chat for a class, and I also agonize over stuff on the internet. I’m just saying you’re not alone!

  18. I’m with you. I don’t like getting sucked into things online. I’m a busy mom and don’t have time for such things. I utterly refuse to have a Facebook and the more people who push me to do it are all proof of it’s time-draining power and why I should not.

    But Twitter’s character limit restricts things nicely. I’m using it as an aggregator for blogs I like (like this one). I still don’t have time to pay attention all the time and it does get addictive, but I’m finding it a useful tool.

    Plus Marvel’s official feed tweeted my Wolverine fangirl cake so I’m riding a huge giddy high about that right now. 😀

    BTW the first person I followed was Hugh Jackman (not that he says much), the next few were the Mythbusters cast. So it’s extra-awesome to see you on there now as well. I’m following!

  19. my b-g twins (age10) love MB. Daughter is determined to be the 2nd girl Mythbuster eventually. Thks for making girl science cool!

  20. Kari –

    While I, too, am resisting the urge to join Twitter, I can empathize with you about your technophiliac daughter. Personally, I have two sons (ages 5 and 3), and a daughter (14 months). The boys are very computer savvy, to the point where they don’t need any assistance anymore to boot our laptop, load the program they want, and be edutained for an hour. My daughter, however, surprised me recently. She found our iPad on the coffee table, and she knew to press the home button, slide her finger to unlock it, and tap the icons. While she didn’t know what the icons did, or what the apps were, she knew the basic mechanics of how to use the iPad…which is not only a testament to the power of a child’s observation, but to the simplicity of the iOS platform.

    Here’s hoping that you enjoy Twitterland. For the time being, anyway, I’ll be living outside of its borders…

    –Mark Rosenecker, Buffalo, NY

    1. BTW, both of my sons LOVE your shows. “Mythbusters” and “Head Rush” are right up there with “How it’s Made” on their list of favorite shows.

  21. When my 25 year-old was Stella’s age, I was amazed that she could get the exact book I said I would read out of the bookcase, although I didn’t think she could read yet. So, I guess this is the new generation’s equivalent, but it just blows my mind to watch those little fingers work the iPod! She is a beautiful child!

  22. Hi Kari:

    I just joined Twitter today and I’m hooked! All my friends have the TMZs and Charlie Sheen tweets, but the first one I picked was Mythbusters. Then I saw you and the guys had one, too – yay, fun! I went through all the Science accounts and can’t wait to check it out. I really like your female presence on the show. It proves to young girls (and we women) that we can be just as geeky as the techie guys and come up with great ideas, too! I am obsessed with rockets and canons now!

    I’m so happy you had a little girl, how exciting! I think the Geek Mom thing is cool, good for you.

    Much happiness to you and your family.

    Cary M. Cooper

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