I feel a bit funny. I decided not 24 hours ago that I’d shut down all of my social media accounts, of which I had two: Twitter and Facebook. I disabled my Twitter account two hours ago.
I have no idea when I joined Facebook. I do remember it was under protest and was entirely so I could ‘keep in touch’ with friends and family who happened not to be in the same room as me at any given moment and who wanted to ‘keep in touch’. I hated everything about it before I joined. It was quite useful though for fostering the illusion of ‘keeping in touch’. Mostly I used Facebook to post my increasingly irregular writing from here and other sites.
Twitter, though. I will miss Twitter a great deal. I did cry as I was shutting down my account this evening. I feel suddenly exposed and alone. For the last 6 or 7 years, I’ve posted whatever came into my head that I thought people might want to read. That’s not strictly true. I posted whatever came into my head. That’s it. No real editing except for grammatical errors, which drove me nuts. No thought as to whether ‘Tweeps’ (twitter users) would want to read that I ‘hadn’t slept well’ or ‘was depressed’ or ‘happy’ or ‘hungry’. I never considered that people might not want to read what was in my head. I didn’t really care if they didn’t. After all, people choose to follow you and they can unfollow you if they get sick of you or don’t like what you have to say.
It did bring out the narcissist in me, I can be honest about that. Twitter can sometimes feel like you’re speaking into a great void and nobody’s listening but you keep tweeting anyway because, let’s face it, the most interesting person in any room, real or imagined, is always ourselves.
In the early days of Twitter, it did feel like my words were disappearing into the ether. I remember wondering if anybody, anywhere read what I tweeted. I had so few followers and nobody ever interacted with me. Ever. I didn’t really mind though. Twitter in the early days for me was about being silly and a bit absurd. I tweeted for weeks about my inane obsessions. I really did think it was very funny to go on and on about pork buns until even I couldn’t stand it anymore. Though it grew into something wonderful and rewarding, I did often miss those days where I could escape to a place where nothing really mattered.
Twitter has come to be rather more complex than it was. It is no longer just a bit of fun. Well, it is, but it’s also a lot more. It can be a place of great transcendence. Worldwide protests against those who seek to use their privilege and power to stifle the freedoms of those who have neither, have been started with Twitter. Mass fundraising and awareness drives for individuals, groups and organisations gain traction on a mind bogglingly huge scale and at breakneck speed. People do wonderful things for other people every day.
Of course, as human made structures of any kind become more complex, they inevitably develop a dark side. I’ve been so lucky to see very little of that, and almost all of it was secondhand. Still, the less said about that the better. ‘Don’t feed the trolls’, as they say.
Anyway, I have closed my social media accounts because I need to concentrate on my writing. Since I was a child, it’s been in the back of my mind that I would quite like to be a writer. It’s been a pretty vague notion for many years and vague notions have a habit of never really taking shape. It has turned into a need, so I’m in trouble now. Needs have a habit of kicking you in the arse if they aren’t met. I guess I better get to it.