Retweet

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I did the unthinkable the other day. I deactivated my Twitter account.

Truth be told, I had been spending far too much time on something with far too little redeeming value to my life. It was getting me into trouble in my marriage and it was fucking my head up too. Twitter gives me a 30 day grace period to change my mind before I lose my account permanently and I will use the time to reflect on things and decide if I want to log back in and reclaim my online identity again or let it all just fade into the electronic ether.

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook can be very addicting in a strange way, especially if like me, you are using them to try to fill an empty hole in your life. What started as a way to promote this blog (don’t worry, I no longer hold any aspirations of this amounting to anything other than my incoherent ramblings) Twitter became something else to me. An identity, a place to feel less lonely, to post my thoughts in bite sized 140 character segments.

For a while it felt good, and my following grew. I became emboldened and my ego swelled with my follower count. I learned how and how not to play the Twitter game. Yes, that’s right, just like everywhere in life there are codes of conduct and rules to the road. If you play nice in the sandbox you gain stature and wield more power in the Twittersphere. If you go your own direction you get smacked and lose your sheen.

Operant Conditioning is alive and well on Twitter in the form of “favs” and “retweets”. Favs are when somebody likes what you tweeted and gives you a little gold star. Retweets are when they actually take your tweet and put it on their timeline, thus exposing their followers to your words and this can gain you additional followers from outside your immediate circle. Retweets can be powerful if gaining follows is your game. You learn early on as a Twitter guppy that one of the quickest ways to get a larger account to notice you and possibly follow you back is to retweet their material.

The point of this post is not really to go into the intricate details of Twitter etiquette however but to explore what meaning it held to me and why I spent so much time doing it eventually.  I have been battling demons over the past few years and depression crept into my life and took hold of me. I felt empty at times, lonely often, and I used Twitter to try to fill a void. It failed miserably.

Others with a less compulsive personality and with less addictive tendencies find Twitter to be an entertaining diversion and there are many talented and amazing twerps out there. I call them Twitterati and I followed many of them, and over time have come to think highly of their intellect and mastery of the format. At times I longed to be considered in their class and to be put in the upper echelon of Twitter users.

Unfortunately I don’t have the mental makeup to deal with what that entails. It takes a certain type of individual to play top class Twitter. I am far too frail, flawed, and thin skinned to be a Twitterati. That is not to say that I sucked at the game, I was decent. I had fans, followers. I brought a certain flair to my posts and was a bit different than some. Over time my style changed a bit but I was not the worst or the best. I was decent.

But what price did I pay for my mere mediocrity? After all, spending hours at something you are not paid for when you are unemployed is not the best idea. It certainly did not help my marriage, or my self image, or my mental state. Spending hours in a virtual reality is not a great idea if you are suffering from depression. I fully realize this. That does not mean that it is easy to pull the plug. Far from it. There is a tug from Twitter that is maddening and even after only mere days I find myself longing for the attention, to bathe myself in the stars and the retweets and the ego of it all.

That Twitter has that effect on me makes me even more cautious about going back. There is something not right here. Before I can even consider logging back in I need to think long and hard about my reasons. After all, if you are a recovering heroin addict, do you just casually take another pop to the vein because it feels good?

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2 thoughts on “Retweet

  1. James says:

    You were an ass to me on twitter for no apparent reason and I realized perhaps that interaction really had nothing to do with me per se. I can’t control how people percieve things, especially if it’s 140 characters. I really didn’t mean any harm. But that’s what you felt.

    I also took your extreme selectivity and routine rejection of “Culling the Herd” as a defense mechanism. My truth not yours.

    Something gravitated me to your twitter behavior. There was definitely something under the surface that I was picking up– under the bravado, either forced or natural or both. A trying to find that balance. It was repulsive but familiar. It was also something admirable but unreachable. Perhaps you were mirroring a part of me that has has died but is not forgotten. But even greater, it is a reminder to be very very gentle and compassionate with myself.

    Anyway, I forgive you for being an ass to me and you might not give a damn. You might say who the fuck needs your forgiveness you fuckin dildo. Haha probably something I would say.

    I see your beauty anyway.

    I sincerely wish you well, wish you more and more inner peace.

    • MaxxPayme says:

      James,

      Your comment left me floored for a number of reasons and I hope that my response is adequate. First off let me sincerely apologize to you for my behavior. Of course, I have no idea which avi you were, but truth be told I blocked several hundred followers over the last 6-8 months in what you appropriately termed “culling” sprees.

      Most people were innocent, and purely the result of my own delusional thinking and paranoia. Twitter made me crazy at times, and the only way I could maintain stasis was to rid my stream of what I viewed (at the time) of negative energy or negative influence. This resulted in some good peeps getting blocked and you were obviously among those. The fact that you took your own time to read my words here and send me a note says much about your good qualities as a person and how much of a mistake it was to push a man like you away. Please accept my sincere apology.

      Your note says a lot and I would like to respond to some of this specifically. First, I would say that I DO give a damn what others think. Probably more than I should, and that got me into trouble on Twitter. There are some mean and hurtful people out there who attack at the scent of blood. The best response to those type of trolls is no response but I internalized some of that negativity and lashed back at times. Your note today touched me and means something to me. I will not forget the gesture.

      That you see my beauty is a lovely statement. That you saw something substantial and worthwhile to my words is incredible. I too, saw similar beauty in some of the lovely people that I followed and that was what kept me coming back for more. If complete strangers can find connection there is value to the format.

      Finally, your comment to be very gently and compassionate with ones self is right on the mark. To love yourself is the biggest key to happiness and to allowing yourself to love others around you. It is my current struggle and challenge and I applaud you for recognizing the importance of this in your life.

      James, I wish you nothing but the best and if I re-activate my Twitter feed I hope you will let me know so that I can follow you. I would be honored to call you a friend. Please continue to check back and read my words if they are of interest to you. I appreciate you.

      Warm regards.

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