I no longer have Twitter. How am I supposed to change the world now?! #Myhashtagsmakerealchange
Last night, I deactivated my Twitter account. Every tweet I’ve ever written, every hashtag I threw out there, gone. It wasn’t even a decision that took a lot of time to make either, I just decided to make it after months of admitting that the social media platform was an addiction of mine. Besides the addiction factor, what other reasons did I have for just erasing my Twitter account and calling it quits?
I first got a Twitter account in 2013, but at the time the platform really didn’t offer me much that I wanted. I thought the coolest part of using Twitter was being able to follow people that you watched, looked up to, and admired, ranging from Hollywood celebrities to YouTubers to podcasters. By following these people, you were able to get glimpses into some of their mindsets and daily lives that you weren’t able to catch in their content. Other than that though, I got bored with Twitter pretty quickly. Years would go by before I’d even tweet anything again, and it wouldn’t be until about November 2020 that I started to really get into Twitter, this time on a much more consistent basis. Why? Because though it probably became this way long before I started using it as consistently as Facebook, Twitter had become an arena of political hot takes and what I like to call ‘doomspeak’. Everyone had an opinion on current politics, COVID restrictions, and the current and future state of the country. I began to follow dozens more people, all of whom had very similar ideologies and perspectives. The algorithm in my account became an echo chamber, and I found myself glued to the screen scrolling through tweet after tweet, take after take. It was an unhealthy habit, fueled by feeling like I needed to see what was happening at all times. A lot of people had these depressing, pessimistic views on the future, and it took a negative, overpowering toll on me. It was awful for me mentally, and it started to affect how I would go about my days. I still live in a country where I have the opportunity to do incredible things if I work hard to do it, but Twitter was telling me there was no hope, and that we’re all just in this crash course into inevitable, irreversible doom. The amount of toxic people I followed grew to such a high number, that it eventually would’ve been a waste of time for me to go through the lists of people I follow and ‘unfollow’ the ones with their ‘doomspeak’ takes. That’s one reason why I got rid of Twitter.
The second reason was because we don’t live in a society right now that’s kind to people who has different views, whether they be political or moral. Even the slightest offense can turn the entire ‘Twitter mob’ against you, and while I’m not at all a big deal in the public sphere, I believe it’s better to be on the safe side should I have some influence in certain parts of our culture later. Big-name people have had tweets from a decade ago dug up and used against them. I’d rather avoid that possibility myself. I have nothing to hide, nor do I regret any of the things I’ve said on Twitter, but in this day and age, it really is better to be safe than sorry. I believe in freedom of speech, but I also believe it wise to avoid potential Twitter drama.
Finally, my third reason for leaving Twitter is because I viewed it as something that it is ultimately not. I had convinced myself that if I just kept tweeting my opinions out and if I just used the right hashtags, I could make change in our political and cultural spectrum. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It is a lazy way to promote or attempt to influence change, and by erasing my Twitter, it challenges me to think bigger and find greater ways to make change in our fragile environment. By erasing my Twitter, I’m eliminating a distraction to motivate me to stay focused on my projects, be creative, and make real change that requires actual work.
There is a high possibility that I’ll make a new Twitter account and use it exclusively as a way to promote my first book once it’s well on its way to publication, as well as future projects of mine. But that’s the only way it would be used. To promote and share the work I did while having Twitter out of the picture. It’s not easy being without Twitter. Multiple times on the first day without it I’ve thought about pulling out my phone and checking it, only to remember that there’s nothing to check. I’ve had hot takes pop up in my head that I felt the urge to share, and realized I didn’t have Twitter to share them anymore. Most likely, this is something that will keep going for the next couple of weeks, but there is something freeing about not feeling chained to that platform anymore. There is truly freedom in that, and finding more personal freedom for my life has been one of my new goals. This is easily a way that you can gain some.