But first: Twitter. When I tweet on Twitter, and don’t receive likes or retweets, I feel that the reasons why I have an account are hardly reason to continue. On social media. When I do receive feedback, it’s a jolt, like a hit, like I’m not alone, like I’ve connected a transect through humanity that happily includes me. It passes as quickly.
This is not a post about depression. Or isolation.
When I use Twitter the other way, in which I dip into the real time news/entertainment/slice-of-life river from all the accounts I follow, I find reality unfiltered and too damn large. All that outrage. All that eating. All those jokes and wit. All the news, the merriment, the sarcasm, the tears, the depression. All that humanity and artifice and the closest thing to a face is a little image or avatar and some emoticons. What would I be if I sat across from you while you verbally tweeted to me fragmented moments or sustained ranting, and your hand I held in my hand? Would I compete with you? Between your words, while you caught your breath, would I fit in my own careful observations about my current mood and the state of the world?
This is not a post about social media. About isolation.
There are several things I wanted to tweet about tonight.
I watched the first episode of that new The Exorcist series on FOX. It was really good! One really good scare, smart writing and directing, and a twist at the end that suggests a widening of the story. This is not a remake of the movie. A quick scene makes it clear this happens in the same universe as the first movie, but years later, to different people, from different backgrounds, with, perhaps, a much more involved and expansive plot by the forces of evil. What is it saying about the real world, though? What are the writers, filmmakers, and actors trying to tell me? I got the episode for free on iTunes; am I going to buy the entire season? Do I have time for more TV?
How I’ve not written much lately, but I have plans. In October: research mode including a few hours a week at the university library, watching horror movies and TV shows all month long, and reading back issues of Nightmare magazine. All of it in preparation for the supernatural horror novel I’ll be writing during National Novel Writing Month. Two solid months of effort leading to a first draft.
An apology and/or explanation for not tweeting my thoughts on last night’s Presidential Debate? But I shared other people’s tweets.
Some joke I’ve already forgotten. I would have laughed, tweeted it, wondered why it didn’t get any hearts or retweets, and then deleted it when I remembered humor is not my brand. What brand? My online writer’s platform, the one that includes Twitter, this blog, and LinkedIn.
Here are the reasons why I canceled my LinkedIn account this afternoon:
- Earlier today, I was talking to a co-worker about something completely different but during the conversation I became convinced that the very best response I could make to what we were discussing was to cancel my LinkedIn account.
- I dislike the site very much; it’s very ugly.
- I’m in that minimize! and simplify! mood again.
- Microsoft owns LinkedIn. It’s fine. It’s fine! I’m not sure how I really feel about that.
- I’m not looking for a new job.
- Two anonymous lookers looked at my résumé recently.
- I change LinkedIn notifications to none yesterday.
- I linked my LinkedIn account to my WordPress account and every blog post wants to automatically share to LinkedIn, but why would I share my blog posts there?
- What am I using LinkedIn for?
What is my blog for?
My blog lets me write posts like this, missives that are much longer than tweets or even a series of tweets. Twitter is just not for long form writing. And that’s what I like to write: much more than 140 characters. Ever since Craig Mod and his team shuttered and archived Hi.co, I’ve been thinking I could have supported their project better, written there more, read other writers’ stories more. How I could read more longer form work if I stopped checking in on Twitter and its realtime blizzard of headlines and chatter leaving me time only to add articles I want to read to my reading list. Why is my reading list full of so many things I haven’t read yet?
I read about the city of Flint in Michigan in the United States and the contaminated drinking water there. I learned there are other towns with the same problems. It’s really about racism and greed. It’s about aging infrastructure and lack of priority. It’s about a basic need, the lowest tier on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, one of our very basic physiological needs, and how it remains unmet even in the 21st Century here in the United States let alone around the world. What can I do about it? Be aware. Share. Donate. Vote. That’s not enough.
This is not a post about what I can and cannot do. This is not a post about how people are isolated.
What this blog is for are the following:
- To be the center of my writer’s platform.
- To share my stories, poems, and essays.
- To review my favorite media.
- To share things I like.
- To write about science and technology.
- To write about longer things.
That list is not helping. I think what I am saying is that I don’t want to tweet any more. I think what I am saying is that I feel little connection between my online presence and my offline presence, but I don’t feel they are that different, either. I guess what I am saying is that the question about what my blog is for is hard to answer. Am I the audience? Would it matter if I had more followers? If I opened up comments again? If I shouted into the wind and no one heard me whisper? What I’m trying to say is that the online, digital experience is still uncertain and I can see what is not working for me but not what will.
What I would have tweeted would have taken much less time and left me much less satisfied. It’s easy to get lost when there are fewer characters to work with.
It’s not clear that many more words will make it any easier to be found.
Maybe this post is about isolation after all.