Twitter Project: Impostor Mom

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Description

40 posts were used in this project. Of the 40 posts, three use the @ symbol demarking these posts as direct responses to another 'Twitter' participant. Seven posts beginning with a capitalized word, or letter.

There are no external links in any of the posts.

Looking at the formatting of the text only: The posts seem to follow sporadic traditional rules regarding punctuation and capitalization.
There are five abbreviations: 4 are acronyms, 1 is an abbreviation for a full word (hubs for husband).
There is one punctuation created emoticon.
Posts predominantly spell out all words.
Fifteen posts start mid-thought, omitting pronoun.
Fourteen posts are formatted in a question with or without punctuation.
Seven words are spelled in all-caps.
Thirteen words are expressions used to convey emotions or underscore emphasis, ie: ugh, yay, heh, OMG, yuck, oh no, ack, good god, grrr, sigh, & um.

Tone of the posts seems to be consistently conversational or casual, even if the post subject is work or career related.

The content of the posts relate primarily to 4 subject: Motherhood, Personal Musings, Work/Career, Family Life. Some posts combine two or more of these topics.
18 posts - Personal Musings
10 posts - Motherhood
5 posts- Family Life
4 posts - Work/Career
3 posts - Combo (Motherhood & Family Life)

Frequency of posts: There is no set pattern; earlier posts are separated by days; recent posts are daily. Most recent posts show multiple postings in one day.

Forum: All posts originated from the internet except one which came from a text message.

Visual: Impostor Mom has made no changes to the default page design offered by Twitter. Picture icon is a picture of a cat wearing costume bunny ears sitting in a group of real bunnies.

Tag Line/Bio: Because everyone feels like a faker some of the time

There is one link to a personal website.

Text to Context interaction seems to be contextual reconstruction.

Rhetor, assuming honesty of posts and bio, is a female; married, with at least one child, who also has a job (which must be outside the home because she mentions interacting with coworkers in one of her posts).

Audience: Internet users who are members of Twitter. Posts are unrestricted, so audience could be anyone anywhere in the world who has access to Twitter and internet and has "found" Impostor Mom.

Medium: Electronic, internet

Exigence: Personal expression (see rhetorical search model for further explanation).

Rhetorical Search Model

Walter Fisher's Narrative Paradigm states that "the most basic human symbolic response to thetorical exigencies is storytelling." In otherwords we tell stories to justify our behavior and make sense of our world. His theory further contends that "the function of the paradigm is to offer a way of interpreting and assessing human communication that leads to critique, a determination of whether or not a given instance of discourse provides a reliable, trustworthy, and desirable guide to thought and action in the world."

Vocabulary: Typical narrative elements exist; narrator, characters, plot and setting. In addition the concepts of narrative probability and narrative fidelity need to be applied when using this search model in the process of analysis.

Analysis

The Narrative Paradigm search model was chosen for the Twitter posts of Impostor Mom because each entry seems to be a micro-narrative of some aspect of the narrator's life.

The Narrator: Whether actual or fictional, this narrator is a female; married, with at least one male child (approximately one year old). She is a character in her own narrative, but the point of view in her narration is first person limited omniscience. The narrator/rhetor combines the use of traditional writing and a more modern approach to communicating by mixing contemporary abbreviations to convey sentiments and emotions that would take larger blocks of text to illustrate. Also, the rhetor circumvents the limitations of the Twitter tool and engages in some contextual reconstruction by substituting all-caps as emphasis instead of the traditional italicized font, which is not available on Twitter. Conventional contemporary etiquette of electronic communication would say that all-caps is yelling, and therefore could be impolite and should be used sparingly. However, in the Twitter community the audience would know that italics are unavailable and therefore this substitution is allowed.

For example, in this post:
"OMG I just exercised in order to wake up AND it worked, so out of character"

The narrator also circumvents the extremely limited text allowance by starting many posts mid-thought, relying heavily on the audience correctly inferring pronouns, setting, etc. to fully understand the "plot" of each micro-narrative.

Also noted, the posts achieve a sense of humor using satirical understatement.

For example:
"spoke too soon, looks like the vomiting is back. in my car. yay."
fragmented sentence structure creates dramatic pauses for the audience to read the post at the pace which the rhetor would speak it.

The Characters: In the 40 posts, besides the narrator, there are a husband, a son, unnamed coworkers, named Twitter users, fish, and in-laws.

The Plot: Overview - the four post subjects also serve as four subplots in the rhetor's narrative with the subject of Personal Musings being the most dominant subplot of the overall narrative. Each post has its own micro-storyline that may be resolved within that one post or may continue in subsequent posts.

For example:
"and we say goodbye to the first casualty of the fish tank experiment. RIP Chewy Han will surely miss you."
Followed by:
"And fish #2 bites the dust. Is this the end of the 2 gallon tank experiment or will there be more potential casualties?"
serves as a micro-narrative in the Family Life plot.

This post illustrates the mid-thought structure of most of the narratives, but also shows a micro-plot as well.
The characters are the family and the family's pet fish. The dramatic action is the death of one of the fish followed by the reaction of the other fish. The second install/post narrates the loss of Han which serves as a conclusion to this micro-narrative.

The Setting: The setting is very transient and dependent on the subject of the post. The setting for the narrative vascilates between work and home - mostly; with brief forays out into the doctor's office, the in-laws (who seem to live in Chattanooga), and the car.

Narrative Rationale: Can be broken into two catagories:
Narrative Probability: Do the posts of Impostor Mom follow a logical sequence of thoughts and or actions, achieving a cohesive story?

Yes. Frequently posts will relate back to previous entries tying the plot of the narrative together. An example would be the four posts about dealing with a stomach virus (March 21 - 27). The first post reveals that her toddler has the virus. Subsequent posts follow a logical sequence of events in which the narrator ends the narrative by revealing that she now has the same virus and is watching TV in bed.
Narrative Fidelity: Does the narrative provide honest/valuable discourse about the argument set forth by the rhetor: In this case, the rhetor establishes her argument within the biographical statement on the main Twitter page:
"Because everyone feels like a faker some of the time"

The title, the image, and this bio statement tell the audience that the rhetor is exploring the issues of motherhood, specifically authentic motherhood. The posts on this Twitter follow subplots that are consistent with being a mother: Personal Musing, Family Life, Motherhood, and Work. Frequently the narrator will post questions which offer the audience insight into the internal struggle she deals with as a mother, wife and employee. While other posts will center around personal observations about what is happening in her world that may serve to offer evidence that she has brief periods of success (or failure) in the many arenas of her life. Her candid tone creates a credible narrator because she does not just dwell on her success but is rather open about her insecurities as well.

Interpretation

The title of this Twitter plus the bio plus the multiple post subjects about motherhood, family life and personal musings create a narrative that attempts to interpret the narrator/rhetor's world and her actions in it. For years women looked to role models to help define what a "good" woman and mother looks like. In the past fictional characters like June Clever set the standard for mothers everywhere, whether that standard was achievable was another matter. Most recently, Martha Stewart has been held up as a role model for homemakers - not just stay-at-home mothers - but working women as well, since she is the head of her own corporation. Again, whether achieving her high standards is even possible is a valid question.

Impostor Mom explores the transient definition of being a "good" woman and mother in her Twitter narrative through candid expressions of frustration and honest revelations about balancing parenting with her career while simultaneously protecting her individuality as a woman and wife. Can women really have it all, or do women resort to "faking it" at times to project a socially acceptable image of a successful woman and mother?

Evaluation

Impostor Mom is successfully articulating the insecurities that are present in a majority of women's lives; whether they are a mother or know someone who is, these posts are opening a reliable discourse into understanding a woman's many roles.
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