You might be a writer if you love telling stories (accurately).

I was 5 the first time I knew I wanted to be a writer.

I didn’t know what a college major was, or how careers worked, but I knew that if I was allowed to write down what I was thinking — and what others were saying — that I would be happy. And it all started with a panda-shaped notebook.

I would document what I observed that day in school with my jewel-toned Crayola markers into my panda notebook, trying to make sense of my 5-year-old world. I would write about getting the “Best Rester” award in my kindergarten class, or about how the snotty boy in my class threw my ballerina storybook over the playground fence. I’d write about how these events would make me feel and what others would say about them too.

Talk about writing succinctly and getting straight to the point...I was destined for this!

Talk about writing succinctly and getting straight to the point…I was destined for this!

This fascination with documenting things continued through age 7 (also known as my “Harriet the Spy” days) where I would beg my mom daily for a new notebook to write in. By 5th grade, her patience for my precociousness, as well as her notebook supply, were both wearing thin — and she encouraged me to enter the school district’s writing contest to put my fascination to use. One award and a middle-school journalism elective later and it was solidified — I was meant to be a writer.

High school journalism: Less hardcore than it looks.

High school journalism: Less hardcore than it looks.

It’s been 18 years since my panda notebook and I still have the urge to tell stories — especially on days like today.

Each one of us felt affected by the Boston Marathon explosion in some way. Many people took to Twitter and Facebook to express their thoughts and share information — and many people did it incorrectly. Whether it’s the media, a brand or an American citizen, so many of us forget to think before we speak — or before we write. Information gets tangled, stories unfold fallaciously and chaos occurs. Soon, we don’t know what is true and what isn’t, and that’s dangerous.

In this time of social media — whether you’re a member of the press or not — you are responsible. If you choose to tell a story, you choose to be responsible. That also means you choose to read the information responsibly. Just because something is reported doesn’t always mean there can’t be an extra fact check. During times of breaking news, Twitter can simultaneously be its own best ally and worst enemy.

Image via Google

One of my favorite quotes is by Nathaniel Hawthorne and it couldn’t be more true when it comes to storytelling: “Words. So innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary. How potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

Someone’s sister, grandfather or daughter was hurt. Someone’s wife rushed to help a fellow runner struck at the finish line and someone’s husband was a first responder. I want to know all of their stories — and I want to share them accurately.

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You might be missing out if you don’t have a Twitter account

A love letter to my Twitter feed:

Dear Twitter,

Thank you for being you.

Whether it’s your ability to (often inaccurately) break news first, or your parody accounts that instantaneously go viral during a pop-culture event, I love and appreciate what you bring to my life.

Thank you for giving the closet comedians a mic and the incredibly ignorant a stage. And thank you for allowing me to laugh at both by retweeting them.

Thank you for making it easier to stalk celebrities and entertainment outlets, and making it publicly humiliating and/or validating when they respond.

Because of you, I have figured out that all of my friends are well-esteemed political analysts, and their infinite knowledge has swayed my vote this presidential election. Thanks to you, I can also find links to information that can actually help me become informed about the real issues.

I cherish the moments we have together live-tweeting about awards shows. It’s the only time where I can be a totally lame fangirl and feel like a superstar all at once.

But most importantly, thank you for allowing me to further my fetish with pop culture. And thank you for making it possible to flaunt it to all of my followers.

No matter how many estrogen-infused subtweets you’re burdened with, or long and misused hashtags you’re subjected to, remember that you’re amazing…just the way you are.

To quote every yearbook ever: You rock Twitter, don’t ever change.

Love always,
Lindsay

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Follow me on Twitter! @lindstotheay