Why I’m Still Over Twitter

I went a week without checking Twitter at all, but today I got so incredibly bored with the same four websites I go on (Reddit, Tumblr, Facebook, TheDailyBeast) that I checked it–speaking of which, can someone PLEASE recommend to me some entertaining websites where I can read/browse things of interest but not have to pay attention that closely? I have Thought Catalog open on a browser tab on an article called “23 Bizarre Suicides From Around The World,” which is literally just copy/pasted blurbs from news articles and Wikipedia entries about various peoples’ suicides. There was also a post called “The 9 Best Things About Men,” including “When you see them doing adult things” such as “cleaning” or “making eggs” (since when is that something an adult human should be lauded for? Isn’t that the most basic expectation? It’s like saying “goldfish are the best when they do fish things like breathing under water!” No fucking shit. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Don’t give them a medal for that.) and “How much they love my opinion,” in which the author describes glimpsing a man’s vulnerability when he asks her if she likes how he decorated “his pad” as a “treat.” This website sucks and I hate it. Anyway, I checked Twitter and I still wasn’t into it. I mean, I scrolled maybe three page lengths, probably chuckled at some tweets, favorited a couple, but mostly glossed over a 85% of my feed without reading it. I purposefully went to several friends’ feeds to see if they had tweeted anything side-splitting in my oh so long seven-day hiatus, and happily, most had.

Then I felt like I had to tweet something. So I wrote, “watching louis ck standup as a square of chocolate melts on my tongue.” Only just now did I realize that not only was that incredibly inane and self-involved, it was a complete lie. At no point today, no less the moment I claimed to be doing so, did I perform that combined action. At the time, I was indeed snacking on a square of chocolate, and had decided that I wanted to watch a Louis CK standup special later tonight, but I completely fabricated that admission. It was the first time I ever did that, and I realized that it was weird of me, so I deleted it. But this anomalous behavior begged the question, why

I’ll tell you why. Two reasons: 1) Twitter makes you feel like things that don’t matter do matter and 2) I think I’m using it wrong.

Twitter, as much as I loved it/will probably love it again in the future, deceives us into thinking that other people give a fuck what we think on a daily basis–not even a daily basis, a momentary basis–when actually, no one cares. I don’t mean this in an angsty, teenage, “UGH, no one cares about me or understands me!” way. I just mean that literally no one cares, and no one should be made to care, because whether or not I am eating a piece of chocolate, or you are out drinking, or your mom sent you a weird text message and here’s the screenshot!, or you thought of a pun, or a middle-tier comedian made a joke about babies being born this summer, is pointless, fatuous, frivolous, inane–whatever you want to call it.

I know that Twitter as a platform can be used as an innovative and progressive tool. It can spark revolutions, incubate creativity, and serve as a journal of sorts, but clearly that’s not how I’m using it because I feel like it detracts, rather than adds, to my daily life. I’m also in a bit of a rut creativity and productivity-wise, and reading different variations of the same Twitter material like a robot doesn’t seem like it would help. Additionally, I feel like the angle I’ve been taking is less “I’m gonna express myself and not care what anyone thinks because these are my thoughts and finally I have a platform on which I can express them and have them out in the open no matter how weird or lame or mean they are,” which is how I initially started tweeting three years ago and it was fun and liberating, and more “I’m going to try to make whatever mildly interesting activity I’m doing into a snarky comment or weird joke or cowardly mean jab to see if my 150 internet friends laugh!” which is probably why unconsciously I fabricated that tweet. And that is fucking lame because life is for the living, not for getting the approval of the internet. Didn’t SmarterChild teach you anything?

EDIT: I actually started watching that Louis CK special, and whaddaya know, he and I agree:

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TTFN, Twitter!

As some of you may know, I recently (and accidentally) got Facebook back after disabling my account for over a year. I deactivated my account last February after feeling like I was wasting too much of my time Facebook stalking people and caring too much about what I learned from my newsfeed. When seeing photos from a girl you went to middle school with’s birthday party makes you feel like a loser because it makes it seem like everyone else is out partying and you’re there, sitting at your desk on Facebook, it’s time to quit, because that is bullshit. So quit I did, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in recent memory. No longer did I debate whether or not to friend someone I’m not necessarily friends with in real life. No longer did I have to dodge Facebook messages from people I didn’t want to talk to. I had more time to actually enjoy experiences and time spent with others when I wasn’t thinking about whether or not I should take a photo so I could post it on Facebook later. Ugh. I never thought about how many people “liked” one of my posts; that abstracted form of social validation no longer applied to me. I feel like I’ve matured a lot since then, but still, it comes back every now and then.

Nothing much has changed about Facebook since I got it back, but I’m no longer as reliant on it for my digital entertainment as I used to be. Now, though, there’s a different beast: Twitter.

Yesterday I found myself feeling the same way about Twitter as I did about Facebook right before I quit. Here is the state of my life, and maybe you can relate:

Any time I’m bored during the day, I scroll through Twitter and Instagram. When I wake up in the morning, I check my texts, emails, Snapchats, Twitter, and Instagram, all before getting out of bed. It has gotten to the point where I go onto Twitter, see that there is nothing new on my feed, then tap the “Me” tab and read my own tweets. I realize I am familiar with them already (since I WROTE them), then check my Favorites, which I am also familiar with for obviously reasons. Of course there would be no new ones, because I haven’t favorited anything new. I don’t know if anyone else shares this social media behavior or if I have an addictive personality for these things, but I recognized this as completely unhealthy and a waste of my time. I get a lot of news from Twitter and follow a lot of funny and entertaining people, but checking it so much overwhelmed me. It’s gotten to a point where yesterday I found myself beginning to feel annoyed with people I hadn’t seen in weeks–months, even–just because I was so consistently aware of their presence from their tweets. And it wasn’t their problem, it was mine.

SO. I deleted my Twitter, Instagram, and Vine apps from my phone. Twitter and Instagram were in the bottom right corner of my first page of apps, and in their place are now MyFitnessPal (I really wanna lose three pounds!) and a blank space, respectively. I’m not going to go on Twitter until I feel like it’s no longer a perfunctory part of my daily routine that actually makes me miserable and, rather, a beneficial, fun tool. (If you’re reading this because you saw a link on my Twitter, I’ve set it up so that WordPress automatically publishes my posts to Twitter.) Instead, I’ll do things that will still assuage my boredom, but hopefully educate me more than Twitter will–or, at least, provide me with some sort of novel form of entertainment that isn’t under 140 characters long and written for others’ approval. And deleting these apps made room in my phone to download last week’s New Yorker and take more pictures. Winning all around!

Most tweets out there

For the first couple days at the monastery when I was getting my bearings, I would think of something “clever but devastating” and save it in my Drafts folder. Then I got over the need to send something out to impress ~150 people on the Internet because I was doing something better and more enriching in real life. So even though I’m hanging out at home and not with Greek Orthodox nuns in the mountains of Serres, I’m still going to try to stop wasting my time online and start being more present in what I’m actually doing and with whoever I’m with. And, at the very least, diversify how I waste my time. 

Second Thoughts At The Monastery

Second thoughts as in…after the first ones. Not necessarily as in I’m “having second thoughts.” Although if I think about that for a bit maybe, I am having second thoughts. Not in that I’m doubting or regretting my decision to come here–not at all. My understanding is just evolving.

At first I came here with the attitude that I wasn’t here to make friends. I just wanted to make the most of this really unique opportunity and learn a lot. I didn’t know anyone coming into this, and to be honest I was pretty aloof the first few days. With several summer programs and one or two-week school trips under my belt, I consider myself a veteran of group travel. And group travel pretty much always sucks requires a lot of patience and cooperation. When I got here, it was pretty much the same deal over again, but with more independent travel and arrangements required of us. That, compounded with the totally awkward first impressions that everyone tends to make when they’re shoved into a strange and new social situation. Whereas I tend to become reticent and withdrawn when I’m around new people, observing before I interact, others do the opposite and put what they think are their most distinctive features out in the open–too open, if you ask me. And you also have to consider how the individuals who would decide to come to a rural Greek monastery just for kicks in the middle of the summer would probably not be the most normal. So put my type and the other type of these abnormal folks together, and it’s quite the social experiment. For example, someone might consider a story about how she once had 20 cats until her neighbor’s python gradually ate 18 of them to be a great icebreaker (true story), and I’ll be sitting there thinking, “whatthefuckwhatthefuckwhatthefuck?!”

Basically, I observed my peers and decided we had nothing in common and that I wouldn’t like them. What I’m trying to say is that I formed opinions about my colleagues pretty quickly and that they’re changing as I get to know them better. This is hard for me to say, because by doing so I have to admit that I was (am?) quick to judge and closed off. But like the sisters say, humility is the trait towards which we all ought to strive for, so I am striving to be humble by acknowledging this about myself. 

One of the participants here just finished her doctorate in Anthropology. She’s from Bulgaria, and her accent makes everything she says sound worldly. She’s been to 76 countries, so everything she says actually is worldly. She’s the president of a non-profit that starts up bread-baking houses all over the world as therapy and as a way to facilitate communication and conflict resolution between different peoples. Her non-profit works from everyone from Bethlehem to Princeton, from refugees to victims of domestic abuse. When we were talking about humility with the Abbess she said to me,

“You need to learn humility to really love. You might love someone without being humble, but that is for selfish reasons; you love them because you want to love you.” 

LET THAT SOAK IN FOR A SECOND. Do you know what frisson is? Basically, it’s the feeling of getting the chills, and that’s what I felt when she said that. It’s so incredibly true and, well, humbling. In order to love someone, you have to accept them for who they are, no matter what they’re like or what they’ve done, will do, or won’t do. And you can only do that if you have the humility to acknowledge and accept the flaws in yourself and to look upon other people with respect as equals, not from above with disdain. 

I won’t get into detail about how my relationship with every participant on this trip has changed since I first met them, but each and everyone has. But for example, I thought the girl with 20 cats (may the vast majority of them rest in peace) was totally from outer space and would stand too close to me. Actually, both these things are kind of still true. But she’s also asks the most hilariously straightforward and insightful questions and the best deadpan answers. I can’t think of one verbatim. Even if I could, I think you’d have to take in her whole persona to appreciate it and laugh about it.  I wish I were a kind and understanding enough person to have seen them for their best traits when I first met them. But hey, at least now I’ve gained that much more humility to know that although I might not have been this time, maybe next time I will. 

Other bullet pointed thoughts:

  • I never thought I’d think standing for a two hour liturgy would be fun, but it actually was. The physical challenge of standing was rewarding and meditative. 
  • It’s great to be here because people care. The sisters are passionate about their faith. We all care about gaining knowledge and understanding. The worst people are those who just don’t have a passion, who don’t care.

UNTIL NEXT TIME.