While parallel universes belong to the realm of quantum mechanics, I happened to stumble upon one myself this year without any scientific know-how whatsoever: The Twitterverse.

Yes, I have discovered the miracle of Twitter. I, who referred to Twitter as the utmost example of Western cultural decline as recent as August of 2010, have become fascinated by a social media outlet that has the potential to connect people who would otherwise never meet. It is powerful. I used to read peoples’ tweets on Facebook and roll my eyes whenever I came across lines like “U r rad @Pipsqueak1972, BFF’s 4-ever #chingchinggoesthetrolleyPIMPthugz4life.” I could not help but think this was some sort of baby talk for grownups who never learned how to use proper English. I wanted to banish these insipid imbeciles to an island somewhere – preferably one where Ben Linus would dispose of them quickly, and with a clever ruse to boot.

But I have met the most amazing people on Twitter. I talk about them all the time. The people I interact with in real life probably think I have conjured up a whole slew of imaginary friends, and I suppose all of my “tweeps” could be figments of my imagination. If so, I have an even better imagination than I thought.

Although I officially began using Twitter in August of 2010, things really picked up in 2011. I met my lionhearted agentess, Jenée Arthur (@jenart1), through Twitter, and signed with her officially in January. I met Amanda Lynch (@thebookprincess), who would soon become the co-author of my second book. Even more unusual, I found a fabulous group of supportive writers there as well, and several of us formed something of an instant collective. We gather together at a hashtag called #dessertisland and commune there like the cast members of LOST, only without smoke monsters and knotty narratives that can never be untangled with any finesse.

In the tradition of the Gilligan’s Island theme, allow me to introduce my other #dessertisland friends. There’s Jennifer Luitwieler (@jenluit), who specializes in taunting/witty verbal judo, running, all things Mom & wife, and angst-ridden writings about her dog Cooper, who poops under her sewing machine as if he wants his mama to knit each turd a sweater. She has a book coming out soon with the word “poop” in the title, so you know we became fast friends. There’s Nancy Berk (@nancyberk), the standup psychologist, who is Pittsburgh’s answer to Tina Fey and co-host of local show “Whine at 9.” She’s shopping her book College Bound and Gagged right now, and I want to read it. There’s Ian Makay (@ianmakay), whose verbose witticisms are matched in strength only by his warm heart and sense of wonder. I already mentioned @thebookprincess, who has a baby boy named Bug who bombs his BVD(iaper)s all the live long day. I read her book Anabel Unraveled earlier this year, and it was such an estrogen-filled adventure that it made me grow temporary ovaries (Yes, that is going on the back of the book when it comes out, Amanda). And who can forget Liza Hawkins (@amusingfoodie), whose endless tweets about foods and culinary feats make Rachel Ray look like a cilantro-slinging slacker (say that four times fast)? My sister Alyssa (@reworkedart) has found promotional power for her jewelry site with islander Jacqueline Wilson (@WritRams), who is taking over the world one tweet at a time. Seriously, she makes Alexander the Great look like Alexander the “Meh.” Landra Graf (@RiseoftheSlush) rounds out the island cast with witty repartee and tweets like “I love how my personality natural attracts and scares people away at the same time.” (I know how that goes, Landra!)

These people have become (ahem) friends of mine. Seriously. They are not imaginary. They are very real. Prick them and they will bleed tweets. These are the people I have collided with upon floating into the outer realms of the Twitterverse. Here’s to accidental lessons in quantum mechanics … and if you have not followed the people I have mentioned here, you would do well to do so.