I’ve got the very hilarious @LindaInDisguise on Beyond the Bio today. This woman is funny. I’ve been getting to know Linda off Twitter the past few weeks and she is just as funny, if not funnier, than she is in non-Twitter life. You’ll see in the interview. Definitely a must-follow!
Facts (and commentary) about @LindaInDisguise
Name: Linda Doty. But on various social media sites, you’ll see other names tossed in there, such as my maiden name or the name from my first marriage. So many names. If I ever make the FBI’s Most Wanted list, all these aliases will guarantee people assume I’m guilty.
Living in: St. Louis, Missouri, born and raised. I’ll never move because all the people who are willing to babysit my kids are here.
Graduated high school: I would have graduated in 1983 but they didn’t let pregnant girls walk for graduation in Catholic schools back then, so let’s just say I received my high school diploma that year.
I turn 50 in December. That’s terrifying. I consider Twitter the manifestation of my mid-life crisis.
Joined Twitter: My first tweet was February 2010 but I didn’t really get it until 2011 when I found the treasure map to Funny Twitter.
Number of followers: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t keep track of those sorts of things. OK, 10,000ish. 10,692 to be exact.
My husband and I are having one of those 'you started it' arguments. I would just let it go, but he started it.
— Linda in Disguise (@LindaInDisguise) November 26, 2013
On to the Interview!
Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married for almost 30 years. Sure, to two different men but I want full credit for time-served. Twenty-one years in my current marriage – another four years and he’ll finally be off probation!
I have five daughters ranging in age from 10 to 31. It’s a FIFO system, never more than 3 under my roof at a time. My last two were born in the same years as my first two left for college. There was a point where they sat me down and said “Mom, no more, OK? This is getting embarrassing.”
We’re down to two left at home, which means we can get a table at a restaurant pretty quickly these days. Just as things started getting peaceful, the grandchildren began rolling in – I have one grandson who is just over a year old and another grandchild expected in May 2015.
What do you do when you’re not on Twitter?
Professionally, I’m an astronaut. OK, not really. I am the VP of Sourcing Operations for a Big Company but no one really knows what that means so I just tell them I’m an astronaut. They don’t believe me, but at least I don’t have to explain what Sourcing Operations is.
I work a lot of hours and travel quite a bit for my job. Therefore, outside of work, my main hobby includes lying on my couch and clicking the play-next-episode button on my Roku remote.
Told clerk in the women's shapewear department that I needed something that gave me a little more control. She suggested wiring my jaw shut.
— Linda in Disguise (@LindaInDisguise) February 26, 2013
Why did you join Twitter?
I love net-life. I started on bulletin board systems (BBS’s) back in the mid-1980s. Back then, there were 50 guys for every 1 woman so you can see the draw. Anyway, that’s when I got into message boards. The Internet took it all global and in many different directions. In addition to message boards, I had my blog, Facebook, Twitter. I use them all a little differently. Twitter is my favorite for spewing out silliness.
Okay, wait, wait, wait. What is a bulletin board system? Is it an actual bulletin board?…Was it on a computer?
A BBS is to online communications what soup-cans and string are to the telephones of today.
Yes, it was computer message boards. It used modems and dial-up connections. My computer would dial any number of other computers which were running this BBS software, so they served as a message board. You could chat but only with the sysop (system operator) of the board. Most of these boards were only one-phone line so only one person could be on at a time. I might have my modem dial for an hour before it would connect because someone else had been on.
Because it was dial-up and long distance was expensive, it was all local. There were maybe 10 or 12 BBSs that I was a member on, all in St. Louis. This meant that occasionally people would gather in real life because we all lived in the same general area. There was a monthly Ladies’ Night Out I went to. There were parties.
This is where online social started – the dial-up BBS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulletin_board_system.
Explaining how dial-up modems and BBS systems worked to someone born after 1990 feels like explaining rubbing sticks together to start fire.
— Linda in Disguise (@LindaInDisguise) November 15, 2014
Ahem…I was born in the seventies, Linda.
What’s the meaning behind your handle, @LindainDisguise? Are you hiding from someone?
There was an incident where my real life and my Twitter life clashed, and not in a good way. It freaked me out a little. I closed my account. That lasted three days because I am weak and fickle. I came back wearing a new name as my clever disguise and now the world is once again safe. (Please leave me to my delusions. They’re all that hold me together most days.)
What goes through your mind when a tweet bombs?
I’ll be sure to let you know if that ever happens to me, OK?
OK, fine. The little voice in my head says “See? You’re not so funny. You’re not good enough.” But then my gigantic ego holds a pillow over that little voice until it can’t breathe anymore. Usually, at that point, one of my kids will say something like “Mom, the dog pooped in your shoe.” and I’ll realize that how well a tweet does or doesn’t do is a tiny matter when compared to real-life dog poop in one of my shoes.
I was sort of counting on liposuction being available over-the-counter by now.
— Linda in Disguise (@LindaInDisguise) January 29, 2014
Why do you tweet? What do you get out of it?
I do so love attention. Lovely, lovely attention. But that’s just what’s on the surface. See, I know that over time, a collection of small interactions can result in friendship. There are people I met online in the 1980s with whom I still interact, sometimes online and sometimes over drinks in a restaurant. Some of my closest friends are people I met online. So, in the first instance, I get laughs, I get attention. But the real prize in this box of Cracker Jacks has to do with connections to people and friendships that are built over time.
Have you interacted with any celebrities on Twitter?
I don’t mean to brag, but Jack (as in Jack-in-the-Box) hit on me once. As did SlimJim (what he lacks in girth, he more than makes up for in… well, never mind).
Then the people from Cheezburger almost tried to hire me once. I get such a thrill out of brands that interact – and are FUN – on Twitter.
And this one time, at band camp, a tweet I made about Ranch dressing caught the eye of a journalist writing a story for the Wall Street Journal (slow news day, I guess) and she asked to interview me. Once that story ran, the Sabra people hit me up on Twitter wanting to convince me that their Greek yogurt line is way better than Ranch dressing, so they sent me enough Sabra products to supply an entire Duggar family reunion. My kids have been eating Sabra products for months now. I guess what I’m saying is my social media influence can be bought for the price of a vat of tzatziki.
What was the question again? Oh, that’s right. No, I’ve never interacted with a celebrity on Twitter.
What do you like most about Twitter?
It’s like a Comic Relief channel that is playing 24/7. When I’m busy with other stuff, it plays without me there, but when I need a laugh, or when I need to be lifted up, or when I’m bored in the Jiffy Lube waiting room or on a boring conference call, there it is – always waiting for me.
Me: 3 miles today. Him: On the treadmill? Me: No, scrolling on Twitter.
— Linda in Disguise (@LindaInDisguise) August 31, 2014
What’s something you don’t like about Twitter?
I get my feelings hurt when people I’ve interacted with a lot, over a long period of time, unfollow me and I don’t know why they unfollowed. I know I shouldn’t get my feelers hurt. I know it’s not likely about me at all. I know it’s considered bad-form to go asking why they unfollowed, but I always want to. I abide the code and don’t ask, but I hate it. Because what if it was a misunderstanding or what if it was a Twitter glitch? I’ll never know because the unwritten code says don’t ask. I hate that.
So you have a blog, JustLinda.com. Tell us a little about it.
The best thing about my blog is this: when I first started blogging, the domain I wanted, JustLinda.com, was already taken by a hot woman who modeled erotic lingerie, so instead I registered and blogged at JustLinda.net. A couple years ago, I learned that JustLinda.com had become available so I grabbed it and switched my blog over to it. Now, when I look at my blog statistics, most of my visitors find me from searches like “hot erotic model named JustLinda” or “JustLinda naked” or maybe even “JustLinda in latex”. They come looking for this super-hot, x-rated model and land on my blog – MY BLOG. I cannot tell you how much joy that brings me.
I started blogging in 2005. I blogged with impunity for years, and then people started finding me and I began to censor myself. It’s not that I was a mean blogger or an inappropriate one. But sometimes I made fun of people I love. Like once I made fun of my mother because she brought a ham with us on a family vacation to Florida. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that they have ham in Florida so instead I wrote a blog post making fun of her. For a long time after she found my blog, I made my husband eat first when we went over there for dinner, especially if it was ham. I didn’t want my obituary to say “Died from eating ham poisoned by her own mother.”
When people from my company started finding my blog, I freaked out a little more. I combed through hundreds of posts I had made over the years and changed more than half of them to ‘unpublished’ so coworkers wouldn’t know I sometimes use the f-word. I figure when I become posthumously famous, after being poisoned with ham, all these unpublished archives will make my grandchildren VERY rich. Of course, they must be strong enough to handle the horribly embarrassing stories about their grandmother, such as the time her vibrat… um, personal massager, accidently turned on while she was going through airport security.
How to eat French fries: 1) Eat all the good ones. 2) Leave the yucky ones and feel superior. 3) Wait 5 minutes. 4) Eat all the yucky ones.
— Linda in Disguise (@LindaInDisguise) March 13, 2013
Do you share your comedy anywhere else?
It’s part of who I am so it’s baked into everything I do. I’m pretty sure some of my professional success in the corporate world has to do with being quick-witted. I share my comedy in conference rooms all over the world. Aside from my professional life, I have done a few speaking engagements at blog-conferences. Earlier this year, I did a reading of one of my blog essays as part of a national Mother’s Day event called Listen to Your Mother (my 5 minutes of fame is HERE).
I want to try stand-up comedy once. It’s a bucket-list item. I don’t have any aspirations to do it regularly, but just to try it. What I do aspire to do is write books, hilarious ones, and then get invited to speak at all kinds of events because of them. That sounds like a lot of work, though. Binge-watching Sons of Anarchy episodes on Netflix sounds way easier.
Tell us something about yourself people on Twitter may not know.
I started this tradition of matching-pajamas-on-Christmas-morning years ago and I can’t figure out how to stop. My oldest daughters are 29 and 31 and they still come over and change into matching jammies for our Christmas morning picture. My husband won’t play along, but every year there is a photo of me and my daughters in matching pajamas. This year, my grandson gets a pair too. I’m a sick woman. Pretty sure the intervention is imminent.
What advice do you have for someone who’s trying to get better at joke writing on Twitter?
Don’t try to imitate someone else; find your own voice. Don’t worry about screwing up, it’s just Twitter. Read (and star/RT) a lot – it not only gives you an idea of what works well, but it gives you street-cred for paying into the system. The tweets that seem to do well are cleverly-worded thoughts that are relatable to many. I find that, in general, short ones do better than long. What I’m saying is that size matters.
Is there anything else you’d like to say/share?
People always tell you not to worry about followers. Almost always, these people have a lot of followers. I think early on, you DO have to work to gain followers, because Twitter isn’t FUN until you have them. Once you have followers and you are following fabulous people, you have people to interact with, to laugh at your jokes, to reply to, and vice-versa. Eventually you hit a tipping point and THEN you need to stop worrying so much about followers and numbers and more-more-more and focus on the quality of your tweets and satisfaction of your interactions rather than the numbers.
Name five tweeters whose tweets make you laugh out loud.
Know those adorable idiosyncrasies you loved when first dating? After 20 years of marriage they become what the police refer to as "motive".
— Linda in Disguise (@LindaInDisguise) May 11, 2013
Thanks, Linda! Loved doing this interview!
You can also read Linda’s tweets in this super-duper hilarious book!
Feel free to tell Linda how awesome she is, in the comments.
Next week on Beyond the Bio: @simoncholland.
In case you missed it, last week on Beyond the Bio: @AndyAsAdjective.