I recently unfollowed everyone I was following on Twitter. That seems like an extremely stupid sentence to write, much less write an article about, but here we are. I have unfollowed individuals before and upset them — so I feel the need to explain this to mitigate any potential bad feeling.
Firstly, if you care about this in any remote way, that’s ok, unfollow me back. Be angry at me. I won’t be offended. This won’t affect any real relationship I care about, and if it does, it probably wasn’t worth much anyway.
The main reason for doing it is analyzing my own shortcomings and realizing that I would be more productive and happy not keeping up with people’s twitter accounts than doing so. So why don’t I just ignore it? That’s the problem, I can’t. I feel that social media has a way of worming itself into one’s brain so deep it bypasses conscious thought. Have you ever checked Twitter/Instagram/Facebook twice or three times in a row? Or checked it knowing you’re in airplane mode? I have, and I see that part of myself and think it’s monumentally dumb. It’s set up this powerful reward system in my brain that feeds on stuff I mostly don’t care about.
In the worst case, Twitter arouses a cynicism in me that I’d rather not feel. Sometimes I’ll find myself writing a negative tweet in reaction to another and not posting it, because who cares, and why not just not have the negative thought in the first place. I’d rather just keep up with what people are creating and not know what they’re thinking, or any minute-to-minute observation they have.
I’ll gladly admit that I have a limited noise filter. My brain loves to find escape from doing what it’s supposed to. Some, probably most are able to navigate this territory better than I. Some people just use social media to share their work, and don’t engage in the rest of it, but if I just select a few people to keep following then by definition I’m judging everyone else, so I felt the best solution was to unfollow all.
It’s a rather shitty situation that this is somehow an offensive thing to do now. Twitter is an extraordinary novelty machine and I’m glad it exists — but on a personal level it’s just become a distraction from things I care about, my work, and sometimes reality itself. I still love you all.
TL;DR: Nothing personal, it’s me, not you. Enjoy twitter.