I didn’t make it…

My goal was to last until Monday with my Twitter fast but around noon on Friday I logged into Twitter under the pretense that I was only going to go in and unfollow some political people and that apparently is a gateway drug to full on Twitter use. I did unfollow a large amount of the political Twitter and only tried to keep the funny bits and the people I’ve grown to really like over the years. I’ve decided my account it going to light and whimsical from now on that I need to actually try and be funny. Not just stream of consciousness tweeting but actual joke telling. I suck at writing jokes, so this isn’t going to be easy.

One thing that was very apparent upon my return was just how stilly it all is. When you’re in it day to day it’s easy to lose perspective and get caught up in the drama. Thing is, Twitter is a very silly place where people have silly fights and do silly things. If I didn’t know any better I’d say Monty Python invented Twitter as a joke. That being said I am totally going to take more days off going forward to give my head a chance to rest. I find that when I’m Twitter too long I get Twitter brain: side effects include thinking in short quips and trying to find “the joke” in everything. I’ve been told that this behaviour can get quite annoying.

Finally, I had a discussion with a friend about starting a blog and I realized that I have never once promoted this blog in any of my posts. I guess that explains why no one read this stuff. It got me thinking that I maybe also don’t promote what I post here because I don’t want anyone to read it. I guess this is something I need to explore.

A few observations after being off twitter for a few days.

1) There are have been a few times where I picked up my phone and automatically looked to load the twitter app. Thankfully, I removed the app but my thumb went right to where it was automatically. I even mindlessly clicked the twitter link on my browser so I removed that as well.

2) Without social media on my phone I use my phone a lot less. There have been moments where I pickup my phone, look at it, and wonder why I’m doing that because there’s no notifications or new updates. It’s just a reflex action of pick up phone and stare at it because there’s always something new on social media. Also, my battery now lasts forever, yesterday when I went to bed it was still at over 80%!

3) Turns out I actually hate politics. I thought I was interested in politics, but it turns out I was only interested in the sense out outrage it causes when delivered through twitter. This week I’ve actually had time to read long form articles about what’s happening in American politics and I didn’t feel outrage, I felt tremendous sadness. Consequently, I unfollowed my news sources in Feedly and I plan to unfollow any sort of political people when I go back on twitter. What the world needs more than anything right now is some happiness and joy so I’ve decided not to add any more fuel to the fire and instead I’m just going to post funny quips and stuff, no more politics.

4) I’ve actually been reading more. I used to sit down to read and check twitter first, then 30-45 minutes later I’d start reading. Sometimes I’d even stop reading for a while just to go back and check twitter again. Now I find myself more focused on what I’m reading because there’s no distractions.

5) I’m actually writing this 🙂 If I wasn’t taking a break… I’d probably be on twitter, right… now.

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.