Saturday 6 November 2010
The Thing With Twitter
So this is the thing with Twitter.
I joined Twitter in October 2009, around a year ago. I joined because up until then, I didn't do anything on the internet. I just looked up stuff about books. I wasn't on Facebook. I didn't know what a blog was. I was not savvy. I was not savvy. But then I joined Twitter, and, slowly but surely, I learned what a blog was. I made a blog. And you know what happens next, of course.
But lately, I've been trying to live a more minimalist life. Of course, I can't apply that to all aspects of my life, but I'm trying to apply it to my life on the internet. All the time, I'm unfollowing people on Twitter that I don't feel I need to follow. I'm unsubscribing people on YouTube that don't keep my attention, I'm deleting blogs from my reading lists that I don't find interesting, I'm revising my Favourites lists. I do this almost all the time, and the only reason I keep some stuff is because of sentimentality, or because I don't want to upset people I know. (I know this may sound a little silly, but there are some people I would rather avoid confrontation with.) But I was reading the blog of Alex Day a few days ago, a post about the new MacBook Air he's bought himself, and he said:
If it wasn’t for YouTube – and this will be a controversial statement for the people who read this – I really wouldn’t need a computer. I could still use my iPad to check email once a week, but that’s about all. (On the note of that; since I got back from Zambia I’ve been testing only checking/replying to my emails on Mondays and living the rest of my week mail-free, and it’s been wonderful and liberating. Without Twitter, Facebook or anything similar that I have to keep maintained, the only things I need to do online are write blog posts and upload videos, both things I love too much to stop. What I’ve found with the emails is that if something’s important, someone will ring or text me about it within a half hour of sending an email anyway, and if it does take up to a week for me to reply, it really doesn’t matter. I can then spend the rest of the week reading, writing and going out and seeing the world and generally enjoying life. Give it a try :D)
I’m a firm believer in physical surroundings having a massive effect on your mental surroundings. Your mind will be busy and distracted and unfocused if you have a room full of stuff to distract you. I don’t really own much; I have an iPad, a laptop, a phone, a few books, a few DFTBA CDs, my camera and tripod, a guitar, a bass, a uke, six t-shirts, two hoodies, three pairs of jeans, a coat, a pair of slippers, eight pairs of boxers and eight pairs of socks, and that suits me fine. A computer perfectly suited to travel and minimalism is fine for me, since that’s what I want to do with my life. Travel, write, document, enjoy the simple things and have fun :)
I don't have an iPad, but I really don't have a lot of time anymore. And, slowly but surely, I've come to realize that I don't really need Twitter and Facebook. My Twitter is linked up to Facebook, so I don't really post on Facebook anyway. Twitter makes me feel like I'm part of this exclusive club, and I love being in exclusive clubs. If I let go of Twitter and Facebook, I'll have more time. More time for me, and more time for all of you. Besides, if anyone wants me to know something, they can email me. Just for good measure, let's see why Alex deleted his Twitter...
I think that Twitter stifles ambition, because I see people like Tom and Ed who are intensely creative, but spend hours in a row on Twitter. People talk about what a good platform it is for making your voice heard, but I worry that so many people are saying things when they could be busy DOING things. And I haven’t found a way to use Twitter casually without feeling like I’m doing a disservice to the people who follow me. I don’t like doing something unless I’m willing to give it my all.
Hark indeedy. Hark indeedy do.
But another thing is, it takes me weeks to write one post. This means that I had time to think about all that, and time to go on Twitter. And I love Twitter! I want Twitter! Without Twitter, how could I have known that Ken McGuire's set up a new food blog, or that John Green wants some more Swedish hip hop in his music collection? But the thing is... I can be very outspoken. You all know that by now. Like I said, it now takes me weeks to write one single post on Musings. This gives me time to think about what I'm saying more. With Twitter, that is taken away. I know it may seem like I don't really care what I say, and that I don't really care about offending people, but I'm not a robot. I do (sometimes) care about other people's feelings. I do have people in my life that I don't want to hurt, and I'd like to minimise this risk as much as possible, because like I said before, I'm very outspoken. And because of my ability to speak my mind, my parents have said to me that they would very much like it if I stopped going on Twitter and Facebook. I mean, the only reason I'm on Facebook is because of it's Chat feature. I like proper conversations. That's why I don't really like huge social gatherings, because you can't have a proper conversation with somebody. Anyway, is there any other website that is good for chatting to people? What is MSN like?
But about Twitter... I don't want to disobey my parents. They're brilliant people, and I love them very much. And I don't want to go all 'teenage rebellion' on them. But since Twitter is, if I think about it, the key to half of my happiness (the other half is my friends and family and everything that happens to me in real life. The life where I eat. This half is the stuff on the internet.), it's very hard to get rid of that so quickly. And my family don't really know what Twitter is, and I can't really explain it to them in words. Besides they've already made their minds up.
In the last thirty seconds or so I was thinking about this, and I decided that I would leave Twitter alone for a week or so, and see what happens. But since I spend most of my waking hours at school, that really won't make any difference. Then I had the idea of waiting until Lent came around, on Wednesday 9th March 2011, and giving Twitter up for forty days and forty nights, and seeing what happened. It would make much more of an impact then, but of course, I would still be disobeying my parents.
This is another reason why I don't like loving people - because you try to make them happy, at your own cost.
I know this is idiotic. I should be able to just drop Twitter like that. But it's shown me so many things about humanity. (Which of course can be a good and bad thing.) Um...
FINE!!! I'm quitting Twitter! I'll keep you posted on my non Twitter minutes. Go Alex.
P.S. SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT! I got my own DFTBA link! This is it - http://dft.ba/-musings
Amazing - after the thousands upon thousands of DFT.BA URLs that have been created, nobody has used musings. But I got there first. Oh yeah.