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why I quit Twitter - Terrafactive Armageddon

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February 1st, 2010

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08:27 am - why I quit Twitter
It gave me a feeling of false intimacy with people who neither knew nor cared who the hell I was. I started getting emotionally involved with the lives of strangers, and I have enough emotional issues in my own life to work on. It's cool for other people, but not for me, not now.

This is quite possibly the sort of problem that most people don't have, based on how popular Twitter is and continues to be - and actually that's fantastic. I've seen some really cool grassroots stuff happen due to Twitter linkages, spur-of-the-moment concerts or performance art 'happenings' (yeah, I'm stuck in the last century for terminology, so sue me) and I have nothing but praise to offer for that aspect of the phenomenon.

But for me, little old introvert, doesn't trust or make friends easily me, it was just too disconcerting to be suddenly privy to intimate tidbits of people's lives of the sort I'm only used to from people who want to hear my life-stuff back, without being able to make that reverse connection. Now the nature of the beast is that Twitter is a broadcast medium: you send out your tweet/message, and anyone who wishes, for the most part (unless you act to block them) can receive it. A dialog will only be allowed, however, if you take pains to initiate it or indicate that a particular user has the appropriate permissions. So what you can end up with especially with the famous is a conversation between people who know each other in front of a large audience - almost like a panel discussion - except it tends to be about the mundane (grape jelly, or marmalade?) as often if not moreso than the profound.

As I said, since I have an ego that presumes my answer to any question is at least as good as any other, if not on the better-than-most side. Neil Gaiman, for example, someone I admire, like and respect a great deal, was someone whose Twitter feed I received. And the opportunity to help someone as cool as I think Neil Gaiman is with even a trivial problem is something I would find really satisfying, something I could think about on the crappy days when nothing goes right and I'm wishing they would let you donate your organs early under a euthanasia program. So when in the course of human events Gaiman or someone like him tweets regarding some question or snafu or something that I have knowledge about or think I could help with, I want to offer that help.

Except it would be totally inappropriate, because he's not really talking to me. He doesn't know me, except as a random fan; I have no right to presume I know how to solve problems he has based on the scraps of information I've gleaned as a random fan because despite what it seems like, I don't really know him! Then for me to feel snubbed because of this lack of interaction? That's heading down the lane to psychosis ala the John Hinkley/Jodie Foster/Ronald Regan triangle and I'd really prefer not to go there.

I'll stick to getting text messages from robots or people I actually know, for now, I think.
Current Location: home
Current Music: the sound of silence

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
I think I know what you're getting at, but in Gaiman's case, I'm pretty sure I've seen him acknowledge tweets from people he doesn't know. Celebs (especially smart ones, I'd think) are pretty clear that they don't have to have this type of public presence, so if they didn't want responses from strangers, they wouldn't be public about it. I'd tend to assume that any non-response from him would have more to do with the sheer volume of replies he get, than anything else. But I also get the discomfort with the whole melieu as well.

Hope you're well.
[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
The shorter intended version of that is: I'm sorry about that. Do what is right for you though.
[User Picture]
Date:February 2nd, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
I say, good for you for noticing the problem! I can completely relate to the whole "I'm not getting a pat on the head for having the answer! I must climb the nearest clock tower immediately!" reaction. I will, however, take the 5th under oath.

Seriously, great self-examination and action taken. I know you don't need my approval, but it's sincerely given. And at least we've actually met. ;-)

[User Picture]
Date:February 2nd, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC)
I go through periods of Twitter and Facebook burnout, mostly about signal to noise ratio. Twitter has a slightly higher signal, which makes it less annoying. Also, nobody ever asks me if I saw something on Twitter the way they ask me if I saw something on Facebook. Although that's largely my mother, who probably has a pretty small friends list.

It kind of reminds me of how irritating I found it when all my friends were first getting on LiveJournal, and they were acting like it was my duty to read all their LiveJournal posts and make notes or something. And calling it "Ell-Jay" and calling each other by their LJ names in real life.

Ah, those were the days.

In spite of my profession, sometimes I wonder if the Internet was actually a good idea.

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