notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Overdone?

My Twitter account (Theo-sophy) got controversial a week ago.

Poor Theo.

Let’s blame him, okay? Just like you can blame the dog when someone in the room farts.

Theo took over my Twitter feed a few months ago, and he has gotten himself into a bit of hot water. Specifically, an argument with one of the most popular accounts – Thoughts of Dog. (@dog_feelings)

I love Thoughts of Dog. Like Theo, Zoey the dog runs this account through a young man who also posts as WeRateDogs. Thoughts of Dog is hugely popular. WeRateDogs is astronomically popular. And both sites are successful for a really good reason. They are adorable. (and by the way, Matt, who runs both sites, raises lots of money for sick dogs through WeRateDogs.)

Theo responds to Thoughts of Dog’s tweets.

All the time.

And this was the issue.

Matt apparently became more and more annoyed with Theo’s responses. He felt that poor Theo was “hijacking” his dog account in order to build Theo’s own dog account.

And he – that is, I – was.

But as I understand Twitter, that is how it works. You find people, accounts, (and dogs) who like what you do by finding similar accounts and commenting. If folks like what you write, then maybe they check you out. And perhaps follow you.

That is how it works.

It’s how social media works. “If you like A, then you might also like B.” (I often tell folks just starting a blog and asking me for my advice to do this … find similar blogs and post thoughtful comments.)

But I guess I overdid it.

I tried it at first for the very reason above. To see if people liked what I wrote and if they did, maybe I would increase my base. And the reason why I wanted to increase my base is right here in this blog and in my novels. If people like what I write, maybe they will also check out my blog. Maybe if they really love what I write, they might even read my books.

I am a writer. I write to be read. I want people to read what I write. I think that is normal (for a writer.)

But I guess I overdid it.

Because I did it pretty well. And this was also my reason. Because it was fun. It was fun to come up with silly, ungrammatical sweet responses to Thoughts of Dog. I looked forward to it.

And so did many others, I guess. Many people started commenting that they loved seeing what I would write to Thoughts of Dog. They, like me, looked forward to it. “The best part of my day is reading Thoughts of Dog and then seeing what Theo will say,” they wrote.

My own Tweets are not only responses to Thoughts of Dog. I tweet daily on Theo-sophy with Theo’s Pup Tip of the Day – a little snippet of advice and philosophy. I work hard on those tips. They are positive and life-affirming.

Like this one:

But, unbeknownst to me, Matt was increasingly annoyed, as hundreds of folks every day “liked” my comments on his sites.

So 10 days ago, Thoughts of Dog blocked me.

If you are not familiar with Twitter, when you are blocked by someone, you can no longer see their posts. You can’t access their site. You certainly can’t comment.

I was stunned.

I thought it must be some kind of mistake.

But it was not. When I tweeted that Thoughts of Dog had blocked me, there was in the Twitterverse, a little bit of outrage.

Not a lot though. I have 5 thousand followers; Thoughts of Dog has 2 million. His average tweet gets about 150,000 “likes”, My comments on his tweets average about 800 “likes”. That is about one-half of one-percent of his response. On a really good day, I can get to one percent. Not exactly hijacking. Thoughts of Dog has nothing to fear from Theo.

But still, the tiny, though vociferous, outcry was enough to compel Matt to actually have a private discussion with me.

He was mad. I was hurt. I don’t like not being liked.

But we worked it out.

He unblocked me. I promised not to overdo it.

I truly didn’t mean to compete with him. I was not trying to be better than his sweet site. It was just plain fun.

I did, however, want people to notice me. And his audience was a great place to get noticed.

And I am sorry and a little ashamed if I was not being fair.

This social media business can be tricky, I guess.

Theo will be walking on tippy toes for a while.

73 Comments

  1. wow, who knew?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend to find people who follow writers I like and follow them. Some will follow back. That’s how the Twitterverse goes… shame Thoughts of Dog was such a dog-in-the-manger…

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  3. Oh dear, what a storm in a dog bowl over something really unimportant. Surely because people like Theo they would not stop liking Thoughts of Dog? I can see Matt’s side of it although I don’t do Twitter myself. Only you know whether you were doing too much but it seems to me it could have been solved more easily if he had the talk with you before he decided to block you.
    I know that I have often followed bloggers whose comments on other people’s posts I’ve enjoyed but it hasn’t stopped me reading the original blog. I think we take this stuff way too seriously sometimes.

    Liked by 3 people

    • So true! I mean, really! We are adult people writing silly things in what we like to think are the voices of our DOGS! You don’t get much sillier than that! It’s just fun and silly. Not a big deal.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sad all around.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Deb

    This almost seems more like overreaction on someone else’s part, rather than overdone on your part, but I suppose it’s all in the perspective of those involved. I don’t do Twitter so love when you share Theo’s wisdom on the blog. Hard to understand how bringing more traffic, no matter where it may be, could be a bad thing to anyone…

    Like

    • You are absolutely on point with your comment on traffic.I worked for years at ESPN. And there was an overall feeling that all the networks that offered sports helped ESPN, because they were servicing and creating new sports fans – which was always good for ESPN.

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  6. Dawn Allison

    Yes, I follow Theo and speak for Libby on Twitter. All good lighthearted fun. And yes I liked your blog, then bought and read both books. I loved both. I am so glad I found you. Theo is a gem. Theo-siphy with morning coffee is my go to every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dawn.Theo and I are happy if we bring a little joy to your day.

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  7. Tracy Lowe

    I don’t believe you did anything wrong. I supported you and was blocked by Matt Nelson for expressing my opinion. He did the same to others. I therefore blocked the remainder of his accounts and thoroughly enjoy Theo every day. I do not want to be a part of Matt Nelson’s small petty world whose main focus is monetizing his accounts over common decency and consideration. Turbo loves Theo and Nancy and I bought your books.

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    • The thing that most upset me was that Matt seemed to be rude to those people who supported me. He could afford to be gracious. And no matter how many followers you have, you should treat them all with respect and appreciation.

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  8. Ajayya

    I’m so glad you were able to talk. Appreciate both of your accounts. Good work.

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    • It is always the right move to at least to try to talk it over. Thanks.

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  9. Maya

    I realize that this wasn’t – and isn’t – your goal, but this STILL angers me. I unfollowed all 3 of Matt’s accounts, for now at least. Not because I imagine I’ll make any kind of drop in his bucket, but for my own sake. Frankly, I’ve found that between Theo, Bunsen, and a few choice others I don’t miss them. I’ll keep the rest of my thoughts on it to myself, just know know that you have a more than a few in your corner. 💞💞

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    • Thanks. I hope eventually you give Matt a second chance. And by the way, I LOVE Bunsen!

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  10. Mingxi’s mom

    I don’t think you did anything wrong and I don’t think I did either. If anything, I am guilty of being too enthusiastic for an internet dog and her cute antics. I didn’t care about gaining followers or making money, it was just fun to participate with the account and others who love dogs. Twitter is all about that interaction, otherwise what is the point? Maybe it’s dumb but I felt hurt, disappointed and shamed. It didn’t need to be that way.

    But since, I have a feed full of new dog accounts to follow and enjoy, I have Theo’s (and his momma’s) words of wisdom every morning and I have my beautiful Mingxi right here always, so it’s all good.

    ❤️Mingxi

    Like

    • Thanks Mingxi. An overabundance of enthusiasm is not a bad thing!

      Like

  11. Jess

    You didn’t do anything wrong, you didn’t overdo it. Both you and Theo deserve a
    good noggin pat. Don’t let Matt’s bullying upset you. He doesn’t own The Twitter. Keep doing anything you want, and we’ll keep reading yours and Theo’s thoughts.
    Take care.

    Like

    • Thanks. I never meant my comments as a means of competition – but it is his account, and I don’t want to “overstay my welcome.” I am glad that we are “frens” again.

      Like

  12. Marina Callo-Mcdonald

    I’d noticed that Theo had gone quiet and I didn’t know what had happened. I’m one of the people who looked for his replies to Thoughts of Dog and I’d noticed once he returned, that his language had changed. Please please don’t stop Theo from tweeting and I’d love it if he continued in “Theo-speak”.

    Like

    • Thanks. Don’t worry, Theo will pop up now and again… he can’t help himself.

      Like

  13. Elise

    I also was really sad about the whole situation. Matt blocked me from his Dogfather account because I supported you. It sapped the joy out of his Thoughts of Dog account (which I adored). I unfollowed him for awhile. The dog of Thoughts of Dog lost his innocent voice. I did go back to we rate dogs. But now I rarely look at the thread. It’s so sad to me because I used to get deep consolation and pleasure from the accounts. I even bought a bunch of Christmas presents from him which now have a bitter taste. I’m with Maya in that he won’t even notice our absence, but it’s like something pure has become ruined.
    Isn’t there room for everyone? In Matt’s world, I guess not.

    Like

    • Donna Smiley

      Wow, this expresses my feelings perfectly. I found Matt to be greedy and childish, such an alter ego to the voice of compassion and sweetness that he always expressed as Zoey. I come across Thoughts of Dog in my FB news feed occasionally and they have lost their charm entirely. I no longer see the spark of creativity or sweetness. I no longer hear Zoey, I just hear Matt trying too hard and sounding flat. Matt seems to have forgotten that his huge surge in popularity was due to Lin-Manuel Miranda liking his accounts and thereby bringing along his hundreds of thousands of devoted followers. A stroke of luck and not genius… I adore Theo’s spunky, positive outlook voiced by Nancy. Thank you from another dog-lover (Luke’s mom.)

      Like

      • Elise

        I so agree, Donna. It’s hard to reclaim those feelings of pure delight at seeing his posts. I didn’t know about Lin MM following him! So interesting. As Charlie Brown would say, *sigh*

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      • I did not know about Lin-Manuel giving him a boost. That is truly special. I am hoping Matt returns to his sweet self. I so appreciate how he assists in fund-raising for medical needs for so many dogs.

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    • I was torn on his merchandise. I’ve been wanting to buy a “my feet are a tippy tapping” tank top for my zumba class. I still sort of want one, but …

      Like

  14. Maggie Barnard

    It’s truly Matt’s loss. Acting out of resentment never turns out well. I found him through Gideon, then you by Theo’s replies ( your fren Theo here…) which truly was the best thing in the twitterverse. I bought a t-shirt and stickers from Matt, they don’t make me smile anymore.

    Like

    • Oh Gideon is a joy!!!!

      Like

  15. Patti Kroll

    I love you, and Theo which is why I follow you. I try to remember that Matt is young, but I was very disappointed in him. He doesn’t own Twitter or the internet. I got a sticker for my car and a calendar for Christmas and I too am struggling with that. Matt is making a crap ton of money, and I felt behaved like a spoiled brat. I’m glad to see you on some of the Thoughts of Dog, but I an still considering unfollowing them. I feel you were very gracious during this whole debacle. You are a treasure. 💚🐾

    Like

    • Thanks for your kind words. We can all use more kindness in this world. I wonder if perhaps the difference is that I am so much older (and maybe a bit wiser) than Matt? I was a pretty stupid kid myself once.

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  16. Amy Hugie

    I just don’t understand when people think that there is only a limited amount of love and affection, and that liking someone else and their work somehow diminishes affection for them. It is a huge insecurity on their part. Love your comments and love Theo. Please keep posting. They are delightful posts and Theo is wonderful.

    Like

    • I feel that way about writers too. Another writer’s success would never diminish my writing! There is room for everyone’s words.

      Like

  17. I don’t know Matt but your article and these responses make me not care to. I haven’t gotten the hang of Twitter yet but I do try to be respectful to my followers and would never block one. I cherish every one! ~Elle

    Like

    • Take a look at the more loving of our celebrities. They make time for every one of their admirers.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. It’s all controversial, but not. Every writer has the right to express their thoughts. Keep on expressing yourself. Good work. All the best!!!

    Like

    • Thanks. Very true. What a small little controversy it is! We (myself very much) worry too much about such trivial things.

      Like

  19. Zach Curtis

    I’m shocked that it had to come to that. I thought ya’ll were friends. I also like the replies from Theo. This does not paint Matt in the best light and I am pretty upset.

    Like

    • I am trying to see it from both sides. I don’t want to diminish what Matt does, and perhaps he felt I was trying to.

      Like

  20. Laura Paige

    Just wanted to leave a comment in support of you and Theo. I think when Matt started to have feelings of annoyance he should have done the mature thing and told you. You had no way of knowing without communication. I think just blocking someone who did nothing wrong because you can’t be bothered with talking to that person is either lazy or cowardly and cruel. I don’t think it was your fault at all, but I am not too mad at Matt because with age and experience comes maturity and there is still hope for him to learn from this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I agree. Communication up front would have helped both of us.

      Like

  21. awaisghafoor

    OK dear

    Like

  22. Whoops. Glad you got things sorted with Matt.
    I’m glad I’m not on social media other than WP. I like blogging, it suits me and the latest round of challenges are fun. Things tend to go round in circles with some, but nobody seems to mind.

    Like

    • I also like the freedom that blogging gives you to go wherever you want.

      Like

      • I’m enjoying myself at the moment as my mind is going off in all directions!

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  23. Rachel Powell

    I was so sad to hear this happened. I also looked so forward to seeing the banter between theo and thoughts of a dog every day! It literally made me feel so much joy and would always make me laugh. I’m glad things got sorted out with Matt however i cant help but be a wee upset about the whole ordeal to. As much as it was bringing increasing popularity to Theo, it was also making thoughts of dog that much more popular too! I think you are fabulous Theo! And I adore your little pup tips of the day.

    Like

    • Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you saw it as enhancing rather than competing. That’s how I meant it.

      Like

  24. What a ridiculous and selfish response on Matt’s part. The whole point of “social media” is to allow (encourage!) people to engage with your site (blog, Facebook page, Twitter … whatever). To block someone just because they’re becoming popular through that kind of interaction is immature and small-minded. You did NOTHING WRONG!

    Like

    • Thanks Margo. I enjoy the interaction of social media too. Sometimes writing can be very isolating. But writing on social media is just that… social.

      Like

  25. Elise

    Just want to add a big thumbs up to you, Nancy and Theo. Adding more joy to joy doesn’t seem to me to be a bad thing. It was such a great community, and you added immensely to it! Matt could have contacted you and politely asked you not to post right away or not on every post. Issue over and no one would have been hurt. Honestly, I felt hurt on your and Theo’s behalf! Also, LOTS of people (including me) use his doggy language. That was part of the fun! So please keep doing what you’re doing. You ran into ego big time. Matt’s still young and he’s just gained himself a ton of money. Also, we know he suffers from depression. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the thrill of Thoughts of Dog is certainly gone. Long live Theo, Bunsen, Gideon and all good dogs!

    Like

    • Thanks… I also thought it was fun to use Thoughts of Dog’s sweet language and syntax. I agree that Matt is going through a lot right now, and perhaps in time, he will find it easier to be generous.

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  26. Based on my view (which is consequently limited due to the fact that I rarely, if ever, do Twitter) it seems like the gentleman in question did far more damage to his popularity base through his chosen actions (i.e. blocking you and then blocking anyone who questioned the decision). He could have handled it better.

    It was good of you to attempt to smooth things over. I know you take it to heart when people become upset with you and try to find ways to fix it. You are also likely to overthink everything you say and respond because you will worry about causing further offense (i.e. Theo walking on tippy-toes, and you as well).

    As such, though you have the ability back to post on this gentleman’s feed, I recommend avoiding doing so. I worry that with the specter of this hanging over you that it will hurt your voice of whimsy and damage your tone and flow, making what you post sound less authentically you. (You should feel free to do you…and Theo since it is hard to type with doggie paws).

    Let him have his little corner of the Twitterverse.

    You are cared for and valued just as you are and you don’t need it. There are other feeds.

    Vacating the battlefield is not cowardice or admitting fault (especially since you weren’t looking to do battle and there is no fault on your part if someone turned it into one).

    Love always!

    Like

    • Thanks so much. You have given me a lot to think about. I remember years ago I had a friend who was being bullied at work. She said she didn’t want to quit because it would mean that she was a coward. I told her sometimes it is braver to say, “I don’t have to take this any more” and walk away.

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  27. Wow. I was so hoping this wasn’t the case. I agree with pretty much all of these comments. I have a Twitter account as do my pups, Nacho and Dory. I love all of the dog/human interactions. Theo’s responses to Thoughts of Dog were such a joy for us. I also feel that Matt is still very young and doesn’t yet have the perspective that comes with age and experience. Heck, I’m 41 and still learning.

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    • I agree. I was such a self-centered kid at that age. I think it is appropriate in remembering that to cut the guy a little slack.

      Like

  28. Judith

    I liked the innocence of Thoughts of Dog (slightly tarnished for me now), but really do appreciate the humour in Theo’s replies. His quirky spelling and grammar add to this. He comes across as cheeky and fun and cheers me up every day. I began to look forward to the responses of Theo more than the original message. Please let Theo carry on – he could get bored and chew the furniture if you try and stop him…

    Like

    • Thanks…. I couldn’t change Theo if I tried!

      Like

  29. Yet another reason I stay away from Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Sammy06

    I have followed TOD and Theo for some time. Theo first caught my attention because his replies were so funny and he looks a lot like my dog. (Super cute, obviously.) I observed “Theogate” as it unfolded, and have a couple of comments to offer.

    FIrst of all, I always marveled at both how quickly you replied to TOD posts and the quality of the reply. Maybe Matt felt you were making it look easy when I’m sure he’s worked hard building his brand. As you mentioned, you are a professional writer and have more years of experience than he does. Imagine if every time Theo posted something, within minutes someone else wrote a reply that was often more clever, more poignant, more… something. Maybe he just wanted his writing to shine on its own for a bit. I can see a 22 year old feeling insecure about that. Regarding blocking you, that’s an unfortunate side effect of social media. People don’t talk to each other as much as they should. I’m glad you two showed the Twitterverse that an actual conversation can be needed to iron out a conflict.

    Second, I love your pup tips, tweets, articles. Are you sure you aren’t part psychologist? Maybe a silver lining here is that you will use your own voice more which is cool because you and Theo have a lot of great things to say.

    Finally, it’s a shame that people saw your disagreement play out and that it slightly tarnished what brought them joy. However, we are all humans and not nearly as selfless as our dogs. We sometimes get along great and other times conflict. You modeled showing grace and kindness to someone you disagree with, which is a really good thing. These are worrisome times and there is a lot of strife in the world. The fact is that in a situation where you were hurt and upset, you offered generosity and humility to increase understanding. We need more examples of that kind of behavior these days.

    Even if you decide it’s best to just write separately from TOD–keep writing. I think Theo is a pretty smart dog with a big heart. 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks for this. As to point #1, I think there is much truth there. I never wanted to “show him how it’s done” but perhaps that was a side effect, and I should have seen it.
      As to #2 and #3 – thank you especially.

      Like

  31. Nolan

    I enjoyed Theo’s responses and was disappointed when they disappeared. I don’t think you’re wrong that one way to build a following is in responses to posts on the accounts of others but it didn’t escape my notice that Theo’s responses rather successfully reflected the same tone, structure and humor of the original and I don’t think it’s an unreasonable reaction for him to perceive it as competitive rather than complementary. The real crime, to many it seems, is that Matt revealed the voice behind the account to be all too human when he reacted emotionally rather than thoughtfuly and blocked Theo and his defenders.

    Anyone that follows his personal account can see that he’s a young man that struggles with self esteem and depression issues on occasion and he’s also made it clear that he sees the accounts as a business and that their success is closely tied to his sense of self worth. In that sense I can understand how feelings of competition could build into a perceived threat and provoke an emotional response.

    Twitter is by nature a bloodsport arena and “doggie Twitter” a bit of an aberration. Perhaps that’s why so many had such a negative reaction to this unfortunate event. We tend to demand perfection from people and punish them fairly harshly when they reveal their faults and foibles. I can guarantee that some people will be throwing this in his face for years to come as proof of his imperfection despite the abundance of good thoughts and actions he has put into the Twitterverse.

    I’m glad that you responded thoughtfully when he reacted emotionally and that the two of you were able to work things out. It speaks well for both of you. Or barks well, if you prefer. 🐶

    Like

    • Thanks. None of us are perfect, and sometimes our very human responses are not the most thoughtful. But I think there is a very good person in there and I intend to stick by him – if he’ll continue to let me. But I DO intend to be respectful of his originality, and not intrude on it.

      Like

  32. Dominic

    Overdone? No, absolutely not – you did NOTHING wrong.

    I used to really enjoy going to Dog_Feelings (it was part of my morning routine!) and then seeing Theo’s gorgeous – but cheeky – little face and cute replies. Like you, I thought thas was the whole point. The act of blocking you, whilst apparently resolved between you both, took away that enjoyment; it ‘broke the fourth wall’ for me in a way. I can’t look at Thoughts of Dog or Dog Rates any more knowing that resentment is lurking in the background, from someone who must be rich enough and popular enough not to have to care about such things.
    I still come and read Theo’s thoughts and love seeing pictures and videos of him. He’s such a character, has such gorgeous eyes – I’d love to be his fren and snuggle and snoozle with him.

    Like

    • Thanks for your kind words. Theo is my first dog in more than 30 years, and I cannot believe the love that he gives to me and evokes from me. I will give him a kiss on the nose from you.

      Like

  33. Julia

    Hi Nancy. Great blog! Looking forward to reading your book “Just What I Always Wanted.” I’m fairly new to Twitter, having only joined in 12/17, so I’m not familiar with all of the “rules” (whether ‘spoken or unspoken’). I typically follow only political accounts, so when I discovered Matt’s 3 accounts and you (Theo) through him, it was a welcome refuge from the heaviness of our political climate. I adored Zoey’s “FREN” Theo and always looked forward to not only Matt’s post, but your response! Clearly I was not alone. As you said, this is what social media is supposed to be about! Even this 55y/o technologically inept ol’ gal knows as much!😜 Matt’s irritation (which unbeknownst to not only you, but how many other people who post regularly in “dog voice?), turned to anger. As a retired clinician, I’ve been concerned for his mental health a couple times in the past. He appears to have some ‘sense of self’ & self worth issues. Matt’s response to you, however was beyond small minded and short sighted. It could not be just chalked up to a young kid’s moving stress. He is, after all a businessman who makes a lot of money off of his products. His nastiness and ability to cut people off and down was shocking and off putting. I reached out, and made my feelings known. I backed you up. Matt had parents and others in the “dog world” at that point guiding him, offering him advice. IMHO, it was bad business advice (who knows about the emotional advice). In the process, he blocked me for a short time, but must’ve changed his mind after he came to a truce with you. (Which again, I think it’s total BS that you can’t say “fren” or post like you once did! He does NOT own Twitter.) Who knows why, but perhaps he’s intimidated by your beautiful presence. How very sad for all of us who enjoyed the interaction so much every day. How much more sad is it for this young man that he cannot or will not allow himself to be open to the endearing and genuine goodness in the world without thinking the worst in others?! For me and hundreds (perhaps thousands) of others, the magic gone. That is heartbreaking, especially in today’s world. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I can’t still enjoy his accounts. I just view them through a different lens. Besides, I now wake up and look 1st at Twitter for my beloved Theo!✌️&❤️

    Like

    • Thanks. Interesting perspective. Although Matt has carved a very successful business for himself, I still feel that he is a very young person and is allowed flounder a bit – like all of us have done before. Maybe I have more perspective because I am older, but he can’t be faulted too much, for not having what it has taken years for me to attain. I just hopes he continues to grow.

      Like

  34. His actions say more about him than you ~ Carry on, the Theo? Thumbs up! 🙂 MJ

    Like

  35. Fiona

    I can’t read Thoughts of Dog anymore since this went down – I miss fren Theo’s replies too much. You’re a remarkably creative person. Please keep Theo’s voice going – he and you have so much to offer!

    Like

    • Thanks, Fiona. I will response occasionally to Thoughts of Dog… Matt has invited me to go ahead and do so. But more than that, I will continue to express Theo’s loving personality on my own Twitter account. And who knows what turn that will take?

      Like

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