I’m bored of passive aggressive tweets, bored of sharp put-downs. I’m tired of point-scoring – especially behind people’s backs. I’m frustrated by pomposity – self-proclaimed “experts” patronising those who happen to have different perspectives on scene-related issues.
Others’ oh-so-cheery tweets sometimes jar horribly with those still-common moments feeling hurt, sad, confused, apprehensive that seem to interrupt my otherwise-generally-heading-in-the-right-direction life right now, after such an challenging year thus far.
Others’ downbeat tweets get me down far too easily – even though it’s great to see the replies pouring in to cheer them up. But on some occasions: is there anything more soul-destroying than seeing a cry for support going totally ignored?
I even rather resent Twitter at times: when did many of our real-life friends last comment here on Spanking Writers, in the way they used to so regularly before they could connect with each other – and us – through regular tweets? Sometimes posting into relative darkness is hard – to the point where, for the first time, I’ve found myself questioning lately why I bother.
And when out with friends, I’m (to my shame) as guilty as any of anti-social tweeting-when-you-should-be-chatting: Twitter and the lost arts of conversation and concentration?
So why do I still use the site – even, perhaps surprisingly, advocate its use to some? It’s a question I’ve been pondering in the past few days, ever since reading Grace Dent’s (actually rather disappointing) book “How to Leave Twitter”. I do love the sense of community; I love the wit and repartee – yesterday evening being a prime example. As such, I’m sure it’s strengthened the bonds between my real-life circle of friends, bringing us into closer, sometimes more open and generally far more regular contact. I enjoy the window it gives onto the lives of like-minded souls further afield.
I like the quick occasional 1:1 catch-ups that the site makes possible – more frequent, perhaps, than if one waited to send an email. (And, in turn, I rather regret the decline it’s contributed to in lengthier, more in-depth email correspondence – the “I can’t be bothered with more than 140 characters of sharing or listening” mentality that tweets seem to engender). I value it as a cheap way of keeping in touch from abroad, where all-inclusive data roaming tariffs permit free DMs when regular texting would be prohibitively expensive.
And I’ve long viewed Twitter as akin to a favourite local pub. You don’t have to be in there all the time to enjoy it when you do pop in; it’s lovely when you do to catch up with your friends. Yet I half wonder whether I’m spending too much time “in the pub”.
Would I miss it? Would it miss me? Would a week or month away from it* make me desperate to rush back, panicked by losing touch with my friends and acquaintances – or simply relieved? And is some of this actually really, deep down, about Twitter – or is my attitude towards the site actually instead a reflection of my insecurities and uncertainties regarding life more generally, after such a very emotionally-tough few months?
To paraphrase the title of one of my favourite albums – Editors’ “An End Has a Start” – loved ones’ fresh starts (welcomed; necessary) feel for me very much like the end of maybe the happiest chapter in my life. I’m not quite sure what it is I’m now starting. I have so many wonderful things planned for the coming months; so many things to be thankful for; deep, special connections with the people who matter most. But I can’t help thinking that at some point before too long I need more ‘me time’; to head off somewhere obscure, maybe out of contact; to put myself first for once, and see if I can put my world to rights…
* Which I should doubtless call a “Twoliday”, or some other such daft phrase