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Anatomy of a tweet

I recently read yet another celebrity memoir, Guts, Kristen Johnson’s book about her addiction to pills and alcohol. Had I not been a rabid fan of Bravo’s Watch What Happen Live (WWHL) with Andy Cohen, I probably wouldn’t have known about the book. But Johnson, or “KJo” as I will heretofore refer (did I say that correctly, Shakespeareans?) was a frequent guest. If two appearances means frequent. Because I only caught two.

Anyway, I remembered her from 3rd Rock from the Sun, a series that ran on network television from 1996 to 2001. Later on, she became tabloid fodder for her weight.

Since Andy Cohen has good taste in guests – meaning fun, loose, can take a joke – I watched when KJo was on. She was very funny. I laughed out loud. Or, using today’s vocab, LOL’d. Had no idea she was a recovering addict.

After I caught her appearance a second time, I downloaded her book on my Nook.

I read it. I liked it. A lot.

I had recently read articles about social media, several specifically focused on Twitter. It seems so-called social media experts like to harangue those of us who don’t use the tools to our advantage.

Twitter, apparently, is one of those tools we can “leverage” (pardon the over-used corporate-speak) for the good of ourselves and others.Β  I’m totally focused on the “self” part, Pam admitted in a moment of pure, unadulterated candor.

Somewhere amongst all that gobbledy-gook on social media was a little tidbit about tweeting to famous people. Evidently, getting re-tweeted by one such famous person can be a real kick-in-the-pants. Or a way to get exposure. Or more followers. Or something.

I had heard KJo was very active on Twitter, and her tweets, hilarious. So what the heck, I thought. I’m going to tweet her and tell her how much I liked her book. A sincere tweet, because I sincerely liked her book. Not a suck-up tweet. Nope. Sincere. From a regular person who does laundry every day. And occasionally Swiffers.

Pam Houghton @Pamela19sixty

@kjothesmartass Just finished “Guts” – a celebrity memoir by Kristen Johnson. I highly recommend. Honest. Funny. Sad. #AmReading

I had zero expectations. Figured it would just a do loopy-loop in Twitterville like all my other tweets. Where it felt like I was talking to myself.

Well, Glory-be-to-God in the highest. Not along after, I received an e-mail. From Twitter.

Pam Houghton,
Your Tweet got retweeted!
Pam Houghton
Pam Houghton
@kjothesmartass Just finished “Guts” – a celebrity memoir by Kristen Johnson. I highly recommend. Honest. Funny. Sad. #AmReading
06:09 PM – 15 Jul 13
Retweeted by


kristen johnston kristen johnston @kjothesmartass
To 29851 followers.

Well, wasn’t that the sweetest dill pickle ever? KJo retweeted my tweet. To her nearly 30,000 followers. But was I supposed to tweet back? As in, “@KJOthesmartass: You made my day!” Or, “@KJOthesmartass: Thanks for adding sprinkles to my cupcakes!” Or, “@KJOthesmartass: OMG OMG OMG SO excited you retweeted my tweet! LOVED YOUR BOOK. EVERYONE-READ KJO’S BOOK! ”

Instead, I left the e-mail in my in-box to marinate for a few days. Having no clue as to proper Twitter etiquette, I finally responded.

Pam Houghton @Pamela19sixty

@kjothesmartass Am I supposed to reply? I am so Twitter illiterate. Once again, the book (GUTS) is great. I hope you write another. – 20 Jul

Well, lo and behold, Glory-be-to-God again! I received another e-mail from Twitter. (I imagine true Twitterphiles don’t rely on e-mail for these notifications.)

kristen johnston @kjothesmartass

@Pamela19sixty Pam..thank you so much for ur tweets abt GUTS. I’m so happy you liked it. And being twilliterate is something to be PROUD of!

Whoa! A message, directly from KJo! And she says I’m to be proud of my Twi-illiteracy. I had been feeling so inadequate. But no more. Oh, no. Now, I was validated. Thank-you, KJo!

That was over a week ago. The e-mail still sits in my in-box, waiting for action. If I were hipper, younger, willing to learn the ins-and-outs of Twitter and Instagram and all-other-matter of micro-blogging sites, maybe I would have kept the conversation going by tweeting back.

But I don’t want to be like the sad, lonely mom whose children never call. I’m sure my new friend, KJo, doesn’t need another tweet from a fan, desperate, er, hopeful, for a response. Even if the fan, weary of tweeting into the giant black hole of anonymity, rather enjoyed her brief shining moment in the sun.

So I’ll let that e-mail/Twitter notification from KJo-the-celebrity sit a while more. In the meantime, I think you should read her book. Then tweet her and tell her how much you liked it.

UPDATE – I boldly tweeted this blog post to KJo and here’s what I got in return:

kristen johnston @kjothesmartass

THIS IS SO COOL!!!! Love you Pamela! β€œ@Pamela19sixty: Anatomy Of A Tweet:… New post about #GUTS @kjothesmartass


kristen johnston @kjothesmartass

@Pamela19sixty oh, and I wrote every single word myself. I did have an editor, but mostly for grammatical stuff. I also designed both covers

And finally:

kristen johnston @kjothesmartass

@Pamela19sixty The hardcover was taken by my ex, years ago in his Dining rm. paperback was taken by David Khinda.


Cool, huh?

Question of the day: have you ever tweeted with a famous person?


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July 30, 2013 - 12:21 am

Jo-Anne Meadows - Interesting I know who she is as I watched 3rd rock also so I think I might like this

July 30, 2013 - 1:14 pm

Pam Houghton - You probably would then, Jo-Anne.

July 30, 2013 - 2:43 pm

Middle-aged Diva (Carol) - Yeah, I’m Twilleterate, too. πŸ˜‰ But when Smokey Robinson “followed” me, I got a little thrill! Of course, it was his “people” who followed me. But still.

July 30, 2013 - 3:35 pm

Pam Houghton - I would get a little thrill, too! I imagine we are his demographic.

July 30, 2013 - 5:33 pm

Debbie - I’ve yet to experience that mysterious little social media thing called Twitter…and for better or worse, I’m feeling social media-ed out these days. Is it me, or is a new one being invented everyday? But that is cool.
On a separate note, you might eventually sell me on reading celebrity bios. I mean, they probably do lead more interesting lives than myself, what with drugs and fame and money and all. (I’ll take some of that last, but skip the rest.) I just sometimes wonder who is really writing the book, and who isn’t. Unless, of course, you’re ghostwriting all these books, and then I’m right on ’em. But then, wouldn’t you be tweetin’ yourself? That might be weird.

July 30, 2013 - 5:35 pm

Debbie - On a very separate note, I think if I had the option of taking a photo of my house instead of doing that “capsha” code, blogger would totally know I am not a robot.

July 30, 2013 - 5:46 pm

Pam Houghton - Celebrity bios – I only read the good ones! πŸ™‚ I do firmly believe KJo wrote this herself. I’m sure she had editing help; I’d want editing help too if I wrote and published a book!

Agree with you on feeling social media-ed out. But sometimes – I guess – it can be fun. I’m spending less time on FB and I actually feel better about myself. πŸ™‚

July 30, 2013 - 5:46 pm

Pam Houghton - Yeah, probably!

July 30, 2013 - 6:38 pm

SweetPhyl - KJo tweeted me back after I complimented her book and how I can more easily understand my alcoholic niece. She’s FABULOUS! I love me some Kristen Johnson and since my niece is back in treatment, I’m going to send her GUTS, since I blabbed all about it on the way to the bus that was taking her to treatment. I found THIS blog post cause KJo tweeted about it…and I haven’t been on Twitter in MONTHS! Social media is scary cool.

July 30, 2013 - 6:43 pm

Pam Houghton - Wow, what a great story. Well, the KJO story. Social media – scary cool. Excellent description. Sorry about your niece – I hope she does well in treatment.

July 30, 2013 - 6:44 pm

Anonymous - Hey Pam – welcome to the direct,funny, entertaining & sometimes controversial – but always honest tweet line of @kjothesmartass.

I too was blown away by the direct response from Kristen when I let her know I was looking forward to listening to the audio version – which was as enhanced as much as I hoped by her narration. However, we have had a few exchanges since all of which have fitted within the above description – I was always a fan but never as much as now.

Apart from the contents of “GUTS” which altered my view of life for the better, her tireless work in promoting the full understanding of self esteem issues and campaigning for proper understanding & treatment of addiction issues make her my No 1 celebral/celebrity account I have found & follow on Twitter.

Kristen – if you get to see this thanks for your humour, love, concern, wit and humanity you’re a one off and we all appreciate the outcome of that day in 2006 more than you can ever know…

andrewlewis @Pickle1959

July 30, 2013 - 9:14 pm

Pam Houghton - Hey Andrew – thanks! Interesting how one book can make such an impact. While I don’t have addiction issues, there was just something so human about her story – and the way she wrote it. I hope she keeps writing!

July 31, 2013 - 10:33 pm

Barbara Torris - Pam, I think you should do a blog-hop about funny/scary/frustrating twitter experiences. I bet we would all be surprised. I even have a couple for you.


August 1, 2013 - 1:07 pm

Pam Houghton - That’s an interesting idea, Barbara, and I’d like to hear your stories! I struggle with how fast-paced it is or how to focus my attention on it so it pays off…or something…since I’m not sure what to do with Twitter!

August 1, 2013 - 3:18 pm

Valerie Rind - So I followed Someone Who is Famous and they followed me back! I felt like, wow, one of the popular kids at school sat next to me in study hall!

August 1, 2013 - 4:32 pm

Pam Houghton - Yes! It does feel that way! Aack – we’re all still kind of stuck back in high school some days, aren’t we?

August 4, 2013 - 2:57 pm

Susan Williams - Answer of the day: I tweeted with Mary Russell, who is the fictional wife of Sherlock Holmes, who is also fictional. It was actually the author, Laurie R. King, in disguise.

I’m pretty sure she told me I was being rude, because I asked her, “Aren’t you dead yet?”.

Not really all that much of a thing to crow about, but hey, it was my brush with greatness.

Loved this post!

August 4, 2013 - 4:27 pm

Pam Houghton - Ha! Funny! Let’s hope she/Mary/Laurie R. could take a joke!

August 4, 2013 - 7:50 pm

Charlotte Klein - OMG! That’s so awesome πŸ™‚ I’m going to have to check out this book… I’ve watched WWH many times (I love me some Andy Cohen) but I sadly missed her appearances. Off to add this to my queue. THANK YOU for the book recommendation!

Hope you’re having a great weekend~following from SITS! XOXO

August 5, 2013 - 12:25 pm

Pam Houghton - Thanks, Charlotte! I hope you enjoy the book! Happy Monday.

August 6, 2013 - 3:15 am

kita - This was so neat I had a tweet rt on the oprah life class show one time but missed it πŸ™ I think its so neat when people can answer you back. Stopping over from SITS

August 6, 2013 - 12:55 pm

Pam Houghton - I think it is too, Kita. Thanks for stopping by.

August 14, 2013 - 1:21 pm

Cindy L - Wow, Pam — that’s cooler than cool … I Tweet periodically, but alas, selfish me, I never read or follow other Tweets — and I know that’s bad form. Just “one more thing to do” that I’ve been avoiding, probably at my peril.

But I love your story … was just watching the newsroom show (the one with Jeff Daniels) last night, and social media/Twitter figured prominently in the episode.

August 14, 2013 - 2:13 pm

Pam Houghton - Hi Cindy – There are many of us out there who are just so CONFUSED by Twitter. But I am determined to wrap my brain around it – somehow, some way – so that I can use it more effectively. Someone recently called it the “communication system with the world” – I thought that was interesting.

August 15, 2013 - 3:26 am

Eve - Hey Pam! This is really cool! I did hear about her book through seeing her on some other show. I think it was Anderson Cooper. I love her! She’s so funny and honest and I’d love to read the book.
As for tweeting famous people, a couple years ago I had a few twitter conversations going with Mark Ruffalo, and he retweeted me once or twice, can’t remember now, but it does feel good for some reason, doesn’t it? Also I got a tweet once from Emilio Estevez, but he didn’t retweet.
I go on twitter sporadically. Haven’t been on it for a few months now…just in case ….@EveOne
Love your story!

August 15, 2013 - 1:21 pm

Pam Houghton - Hey Eve, Good to hear from you! Mark Ruffalo and Emilio Estevez, eh? Those are pretty cool people to be tweetin’ with! You should tweet your posts! I’ll go follow you on Twitter.

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