Panic Attack Averted by Twitter Strangers

Unlike most internet savvy people, I’ve not fully embraced Twitter. I recognize the value of microblogging. I am equal parts amazed and intimidated – but let’s face it. I am not a good tweeter. I don’t check-in regularly. I don’t twitter… er tweet… update regularly. The truth is I can go for days without having tweeted… twittered… See, I don’t even know how to properly use or conjugate the emerging verbs.

Perhaps it would help if my Twitter account nudged me – but I don’t want it to do this. My thinking was if I have a publisher, a husband, children and a pda/phone harping at me already – why would I want to be nagged by my Twitter? Plus, the whole thing just seemed overwhelming because once I did start following those I felt should be followed and following those they follow, I didn’t think I would be able to follow my followings- and then there’s the whole issue of trying to figure out if it’s bad Twittetiquette to follow the following of a follower… you follow?

So, you can see why I’d almost decided to eliminate Twitter from the “list of things I routinely do on the internet.”

Yesterday, I changed my mind.

The hubby called shortly after dropping the kids at school to announce: “There’s been a school shooting in Knoxville. Find out where.”

Large portions of our family live in Knoxville. So, I turned on the television – nothing. I picked up my car keys… I don’t know why. It made me feel better. Then, I moved to the internet where Michael Silence had already confirmed a shooting had occurred at Central High.

When The Aunt called, we were both talking over top of each other about how this is where her granddaughter, Lil’ H, goes to school. Lil’ H is also my cousin/summertime daughter. Her mother is gone. She lives with her Dad. The Aunt is 70. So, she comes here – and I buy the underwear, outerwear, and tampons, get her ears pierced, and confirm the truth about boys- yes, yes, it’s true. They do have cooties. The lesson obviously didn’t stick since she’s grounded for breaking curfew and therefore did not have a cell phone in her possession yesterday. The phone of H’s Dad was going straight to voicemail.

So, I returned to the nets with my panic and car keys.

Look, I don’t have to tell you the mere combination of the two words “school” and “shooting” has the power to strike fear into the heart of any mother. Combine them together in close proximity to one of your own and it can make one almost rabid in their need for NOW – need to know something NOW, need to go NOW, get the kids NOW, do something NOW. I mean RIGHT NOW. It’s this adrenaline-infused desperation which often has Mommies driving 95mph, en route to their babies, circling the perimeter of the school in pajamas and one fuzzy UT slipper, ready to fight anything that gets in their way. This panic also is why Sullivan County Schools had to calm parents, who feared the incident had occurred at Sullivan Central.

And it is why I, in desperation, turned to Twitter.

Silence had posted about how the incident was being covered on Twitter. He mentioned a guy, who seemed to know what was going on – so I found him and followed his tweets. Then, I checked the twitters of all the tweeters who had tweeted twatted updated about the event. As a result, the frenzied-state of not knowing whether or not Lil H was safe lasted for less than 10 minutes.

It was over an hour later when I got a text message from a number I didn’t recognize – “DPUP. Im ok. XO. H”

Figuring out what DPUP meant took longer than it had to determine this for myself.

Since then I’ve yelled at people to make myself feel better – you know, like The Dad for taking her cell phone, Lil’ H for waiting so long to check-in, and The Dad for taking her cell phone. Then, one more time at The Dad for taking her cell phone. I’ve also become a Twittering devotee: and I am once again flummoxed by Newscoma’s ability to be almost clairvoyant about how these things work.

Oh, and DPUP apparently means “Don’t Poop Your Pants.”


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