The thought of being the only one whose missing out on something is a nag, it’s a splinter in your finger, it’s a pebble in your shoe.
In my twenties, during those compulsory social years of one’s life, I’d often agonize over my decision to stay at home on Fridays or Saturdays. The social animal, a parrot-like creature no doubt, would perch on my shoulder and taunt me with tales of how much I’d miss if I didn’t make an appearance at any of the local bars.
Sometimes the pressure would win out and I’d reluctantly leave the allure of a comfy evening on the sofa with the TV and a bag of Oreos and drive away into the night.
But on those nights I’d stay home—did I miss out on anything? Was there something that might have happened had I been there? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I’ll never know, of course.
My experience with Twitter has involved the same back and forth emotions: anxiety and enthusiasm, disquiet and engagement. At times, I’ve been absent from tweeting for weeks on end. As the days went by, I’d be uneasy about returning. Would anyone remember me? Would anyone call me out for being an unfaithful Twitterer?
I hated caring that much. It was silly.
The other morning I read a post by mjcache titled I’m Quitting Twitter and Here’s the 4 Reasons Why. And I was inspired! It was all the push I needed to deactivate my own Twitter account.
So I deactivated it. And, lo and behold, nothing happened. Will I be missed? I doubt it. I doubt a single person will notice their follower count dropping by one. I doubt a single one of my tweets will be missed. I was, after all, the quietest person in the Twitterverse. Rarely was I able to come up with 14 characters worth posting, much less 140. I might as well have taken a vow of silence and moved into a monastery.
Throughout my entire Twitterlife, I had steadfastly refused to be one of those tweeps who share the most miniscule, the most banal and mundane tidbits in their lives.
I’ve just eaten the best peach ever!
I’m at the coffeeshop.
This bus smells like poop. (Yes, someone tweeted that.)
Pre-Twitter, few would be subjected to the random stuff that pops into your head—because most of this stuff should remain quietly rumbling in one’s head. Frankly, I reserve my fripperies for my dogs and my family. They have to be indulgent.
Of course, I recognize that there are Twitter users of substance, who report interesting news and facts and let us know about events going on in the world and in our own communities. I applaud them for the time they take to seek out these more useful dispatches and alert the rest of us about them. And that’s the kind of Twitter user I wanted to be. But I didn’t have the time to scour the cyberuniverse for original, interesting tidbits. I just don’t have the time.
Most of all, I didn’t need the constant reminder that my social life is, well, less than active. I do stuff. Oh, yes I do! But to fill the online universe with tidbits about the weeds I dug up this evening, or the funny things my Boston Terriers have done, or the things I saw on my hike today, would always make me feel as though I were littering. And to not have anything to share made me feel dull, boring, and living a life that is more of the hum in “humdrum.”
Twitter makes private issues public, it exposes squabbles and slights and slanderous thoughts to the world so that everyone can see we’re having a bad day or a bad year. Russell Brand just ‘unfollowed’ his soon-to-be ex, Katy Perry. In real life, he’d just stop calling her, he’d tear up all her photos, he’d laser off her name tattooed on his left buttock—he’d do a lot of things that few would know about to bring closure to the relationship. But now, a breakup can be tweeted so the world can stop what they’re doing and pay attention, which only steals valuable time that could be spent filing one’s nails, grinding the callouses off one’s heels, or pouring a bowl of cereal.
Tammy Nelson on Huffpost asks, Is ‘Unfollowing’ Someone on Twitter the New ‘Dis’? Apparently, it is. She says, “When we are hurt or angry we have several new options that we have never had before—we can unfollow someone.” Oh, please. Let’s go back to the good old days when we could send someone a snarky card or put a bag of flaming poo on their front porch. Because that made it all so much more obvious. None of this mincing about with ‘unfollowing’, which only leaves one to wonder what the action means, questioning one’s worth, feeling rejected, and hoping all the while it was an accidental tap of the index finger.
And, so, Twitter, I’m dumping you. As unceremoniously as I dumped that pimply boy in high school, I’m dumping you without typing in a reason in the online box you provided.
You can choose from any of these reasons, if you wish:
It’s you, not me.
I’m just not that into you.
I’ve met someone else.
You don’t give me what I need.
We have nothing to say to each other.
I have nothing to say to you. Bye bye.