My Problem with Twitter

“And my social media fast begins…. now.” That’s what I wrote on Twitter last night and it’s significant for one main reason, Twitter is all I have left. A year ago, saying I was going to take a Twitter fast meant that I’d probably just waste my time on Instagram or Facebook instead. Now however I’ve closed those accounts so not using Twitter means going totally cold turkey for social media. Honestly, I’ll be surprised if I can make it till April 1st like I’m planning.

I think it’s important for me to do this once and a while going forward because I have issues with myself on Twitter. Twitter as a service is great. It’s the best social media network in the sense of creating snippets of original content. Facebook and Instagram are both meant to allow you share your life with friends and family. I don’t think there are many people who are still chasing the idea of having a lot of followers on Facebook. I do think people are chasing that goal on Instagram, but I still haven’t cracked the code on how to get a decent sized follower count on Insta (short of being beautiful, which I am not). There is no way to repost anything on insta so I’m not sure how posts go viral or even how one gets new followers since I can’t promote things I see, it’s far too lonely in that sense. Which brings me back to Twitter.

Twitter is an idea minefield. For better or worse someone is going to tell you what they think on Twitter. Plus, there are so many corners to explore on Twitter, there’s political Twitter, sports Twitter, funny Twitter, etc. but the main thing with each is that if you’re funny and clever and interesting, people will follow you. It can literally happen overnight where you’re middling along with a few hundred followers and wake up with a few thousand.

I’ve been on Twitter since the very beginning but sadly I haven’t kept one account that whole time. My first account was just me, trying to figure things out, I didn’t figure it out, so I deleted it. My second account was also me and I kind of figured Twitter out by then but I really didn’t want to participate until I discovered people with anonymous accounts saying whatever they wanted. My first anonymous account was pretty decent and I had it for a while. I said whatever I wanted about whoever I wanted on that account. Problem though is that you make friends and want to tell people who you are, which I did. Once you do that it’s difficult to say whatever you want. On top of that I talked a lot about work, which can be problematic. A short while later I found out my friend actually almost got fired from his job for his Twitter (which was also “anonymous”) so I decided to cool it.

I got better at being nicer on Twitter and erased the old work tweets and cleaned up my act, I still used Twitter way too much though. This all came to a head one night at my son’s Christmas show, my wife and I had a fight about how I was never in the moment. I hastily deleted my account (I was angry) and that was that. This was before the cool down period existed so as soon as I hit yes it was gone. It was a bittersweet moment in that it was nice to not think about it but I really did miss it.

I used Facebook for a while, and then Instagram, heck I even used Google+ for a short time but none of it had the same allure as Twitter. After this I had another account which was semi-anonymous but here’s where we get to the crux of the issue. Twitter to me is like a stage. I have silly little ideas, some better than others, and I enjoy sharing them to hopefully make people smile or laugh or whatever. In return I appreciate knowing this by them using the worst invention in social media history… the like button. I could write a whole piece on the like button and I probably will but in this context the like button is my feedback for a well written tweet or a clever idea, and in this case it isn’t that I get negative feedback, it’s that I get no feedback, which I internalize negatively.

I know I do this but I still can’t stop it, I suspect it’s just the way I am but I liken it to being in a comedy club and no one laughs. Or maybe just one person does, which still ain’t great. I am aware that Twitter is a very noisy place and a lot of time my little tweets are lost in the static, I also realize that my reach is limited because right now hardly anyone follows me, but inside it’s hard for all this not to drag me down and question why I bother at all.

So, back to the whole point of this rambling dumbness, I am going to try and take a week off every month to reflect on why I bother at all. Hopefully this week will recharge me and take some of those negative thoughts out of my head. I guess I’ll see.

I own this…

When I post something to Facebook who owns that? Similarly, when I put a picture on Instagram it’s mine, but I’m sharing it there so does that make it theirs? I don’t pay them money. The only transaction provided by Facebook and Instagram is the serving of ads. I use their service and they sell my data to companies who then target ads at me. I become a demographic to a conglomerate of ad agencies who then try and figure better ways to sell to me and my cohort.

I recently suspended my Instagram account because I started to find the service boring. I don’t actually like taking pictures and when I looked at what I was sharing I realized all I was doing was helping Facebook build a profile on me. I haven’t used Facebook in months and I only posted a few things last year. Even those few things I did post made me wonder why I posted them. I thought about canceling Facebook but I do need it for my son’s cadets and for coaching football. Instagram can go. I totally don’t need that at all. This leads me to my ultimate point. I own everything I post here.

I pay for my domain and I pay WordPress money to host this site for me. So I own it. WordPress isn’t advertising on my site and they aren’t trying to get me to buy anything (other than add ons I don’t need). Everyone should do this. Start a site and and pay to host their content. I think ultimately if people had to pay money to share their thoughts the internet would be a much quieter and more civil place.