A primer, first, for those who don't know how memes on Twitter work: Basically, they revolve around a certain topic that eventually spreads throughout the vast Twitter community as more people join in and add their voice, or in this case tweets, to that topic. Users participating in the meme mark their tweets with a hashtag—a word or phrase preceded by a # sign—so other users can just click on that tag and see what has already been tweeted in regard to that topic.
Most of the time, these Twitter memes are usually more in the spirit of silly time-wasting fun than substantive discussion. Lord know I've gotten sucked into many film-related memes; early on in my Twitter usage, I found myself sucked into coming up with a bunch of #nicerfilmtitles—alternate titles of existing films that soften their supposed surface harshness (example: There Will Be Blood turning into There Will Be Bodily Fluid or something like that). This latest one, however, felt different—possibly more serious in nature, and maybe even profound in its own way. (Profundity on Twitter? Eh, maybe I exaggerate...a little...)
Essentially, the #tweetyour16yearoldself meme revolved around the idea of sending tweets to yourself at 16, which opened up the possibility of being able to look back and advise your 16-year-old self on things you might have done or thought differently if he/she knew what you know now. Thus, it's a topic that invites reflection, and while I was seeing just as many lighthearted #tweetyour16yearoldself responses as these exclusive-to-Twitter trending topics usually inspire...well, I for one took it a bit more seriously than that.
To wit, some of my personal contributions to the #tweetyour16yearoldself meme:
"You should go out and socialize more. Don't be so studious all the time. And that acne? Treat it early."
"Oh...and maybe you really should do more of those things they call extracurricular activities at school."
"And stop wallowing in your insecurities! You may not believe it yet, but you do have gifts that will someday flower."
"Carrying a grudge against your mom might sound heroic in the moment, but really, she won't give a shit. Let it go."
"You know, Mrs. Maier was cool and all, but maybe I should have just taken Humanities rather than AP Euro."
"Were you actually ever serious about mastering the art of playing piano or violin? Or were you just [fooling] around?"
"You can't please everybody...so really, you shouldn't even try. And also, work on developing a thicker skin."
"Badminton seems to be the thing you're the best at in your gym classes. You should do something with that."
And so on. If any of you were at all interested in what I was like at the age of 16...well, these reproduced tweets will give you an indication. I'd like to think I've made some progress since then, but who knows? (Have I developed any thicker a skin since I was in high school? My irritated overreactions to my boss jokingly blaming me for our editing/publishing system's many, many glitches might suggest otherwise...)
P.S. For those with sharp eyes: Yes, I am blogging this from my home in East Brunswick, N.J., where I stayed last night and will be staying for much of today. I'm basically here for a doctor's appointment (I figured I was close enough to my primary-care physician that I could afford to stick with him for the time being), but I have to admit, for once it has been a pleasure to briefly catch up with the family; it's nice, for instance, to actually be able to talk to my mother without feeling on edge all the time. Also, I figured I'd come back to collect some more supplies for the apartment.
Oh, and apparently I'm going to be seeing the new Todd Phillips/Robert Downey Jr./Zach Galifianakis comedy Due Date with a hometown friend this afternoon. Due Date, really? Well, I'll try to keep as open a mind as I possibly can...