First, I need to say that it’s been a blessing so far, in that within the span of 3.5 months, I’ve met several hundred people with whom I share some otherwise-uncommon traits. And I’ve received a metric tonne of support and friendship. I’ve hooked into a whole community of very awesome people.
But there’s a strange side, too.
People follow you, who apparently don’t have anything in common with you; early on, I realized that they were simply following me in hopes of my following back. SEO/marketing and other people trying to sell you something are notorious for this (horrid) practice.
If someone follows me, I’ll generally try to find a reason to follow back. As I hit that “follow” button, though, I find myself cringing. “Don’t be a douche and auto-DM (direct message) me some sales pitch,” I mutter out loud. It’s okay; the connection is usually short-lived; they usually unfollow me when they think I’m not looking.
Then there are those who are obsessed with politics; I’m sick of seeing Hillary and Trump’s psychotic mugs, in one tweet after another, dominating my Twitter feed and edging out not only my tweets (for the others who follow them) but the tweets on the subjects I’m actually interested in.
Then there are the trolls, another group of psychotic less-than-human beings whose sole purpose in life is to make other peoples’ lives hell. WTF? This isn’t civilization.
And then there are the minefields. These are the opinions you express that, unbeknownst to you fly in direct opposition to those of people you like. The first clue is the pile-on. (By then, it’s too late.)
This can trigger a serious episode of self-doubt. Or even shame. It could even come from a single word that you thought was innocuous, but apparently has a double-meaning that you were totally unaware of. And the unfollowing resumes.
And then there’s the obsession with numbers and stats. Follower counts. Notifications. Etc. I admit, I’m guilty; I succumb to this temptation from time to time. Must be a self-esteem thing.
What it “did” to my blog was stranger yet. Conscious of my newfound audience (which was one of the main original goals), I stopped blogging as much for myself, a WordPress audience, and a Google-searched audience–and started blogging more for the Twitter audience, which, after running a single poll on multiple social media platforms, I found was highly skewed and specific, and not at all representative of most of the community. They’re younger. They’re more militant. They’re more far-left. They’re more extra-sensitive. They’re more angry. Not all of them, mind you. But certainly the more vocal ones. And they are indeed vocal.
I have come to realize that they are also indeed a minority. I know this from interacting with my fellow Facebook and WordPress communities. Those communities are more laid-back, common-sensible, more cerebral, less emotionally charged, less apt to respond with a kneejerk reaction.
I’m not the only WordPress writer who feels this way or has experienced this phenomenon. Other people have felt the same way (link to AspergersAndAddiction’s WordPress blog).
In the end, I know that I’ll ultimately remain on Twitter; I won’t go anywhere. I value the benefits too much and I don’t want to lose touch with the friends I’ve made.
But perhaps I’ll log on a little less often. I’ll keep it in perspective, as a part of my life as opposed to most of my life. I’ll take precautions not to let it seep into my life so strongly that it begins to dominate it and rule my day-to-day mood.
There is a life outside of Twitter (and this goes for all social media); I just have to take mine back and return to it…with realistic and constructive priorities. 🙂