It turns out you can’t ‘leave Twitter’. Unless you want to loose 23.000 tweets — an eight year old collection of thoughts and ideas which bears a vague but distinctively intimate relationship with the public realm — and 14k followers (I tweet mostly in Dutch, and they like YouTube influencers and cat women). Some of my followers have been around for years, they congratulate me on my birthday and retweet me endlessly. When I tweeted the other day: “Leaving Twitter” my husband called me on my phone: “WHAT-ARE-YOU-DOING-ARE-YOU-CRAZY?!” He knows how invested I am.
It turns out Twitter is not a digital platform you can back out of like in the old days. In 2019 you can’t ‘just’ quit that job or family (both words apply). And the mere fact that Twitter is een social simulation (and not social in any meaningful way) doesn’t mean there isn’t a real-life price to pay once you are a contributing avatar in this game called social media.
I am not erasing all that, because the ‘realness’ behind what felt like alienation (or dissociation) at some point, is worth preserving. I’m not erasing the time I put in and people who have deactivated their account in the past have warned me that I will regret it if I do. I did deactivate my account on my phone, and removed the app. But after a few days I took a peek and it appears that on my desktop and laptop my account is still up. A relief, to be honest.
Why attempt the suicide to begin with? Twitter just felt like work most of the time. As ‘an employer of Twitter‘ I, and millions of others, made sure content was put up and algorithms were fed. I was always fully aware that writing more short articles on a topic, something that would be ‘mine’ would be more constructive. Instead, I was retweeting others, yesterdays news (or soon to be), and breaking ideas up into bits of red meat for the ‘bubble’ to consume.
All that seemed ‘easier’, but sometimes it took me hours to process an opinion first, especially when my loyal following grew. The appearance of an immediate and casual response to ‘de ophef van de dag‘ (the catch of the day) was false. In reality it took a big chunk out of my day. On my bike, in between picking up children and doing groceries I would ‘think’ in tweets (thank god for 240 characters). On some days I couldn’t distinguish between a thought or a ‘concept tweet’. Ofcourse only 1% made it to my timeline.
If I tweeted, or read tweets late at night, sometimes I would lie awake feeling upset about some bad comment or political issue that I had absolutely no control over. And to give you some background on my mental machinery: living in Germany, reading German, English and Dutch articles and tweets was time-consuming: drawing parallels between events and opinions, making them accessible whenever I believed they where being ignored by the mainstream media, translating or summarizing was exhausting. Because it all disappeared in the belly of The Beast.
Mainstream journalists and correspondents couldn’t care less that I called them out on their fake news narratives. My followers did, but they didn’t. This will not change in the near future, and I should stop caring about it. Most media are inaccessible and impenetrable to outside criticism. They have their army of enablers and sponsors. They have withdrawn into their superficial fortresses.
Most journalists in 2019 have sold out to the big concerns and are playing a specific role, avoiding any realness to come to the front of the stage. This role only varies in how to implement the one standard for ‘debate’, ‘reality’ and ‘truth’. Against the backdrop of old definitions and things we were once accustomed to, like setting up debate, describing reality and finding truth, they have made this endavour irrelevant, or even obsolete. Leftism in journalism has destroyed journalism itself.
I don’t consider myself a journalist (only when I feel like it) but compared to the corporate media I am Inspector Morse. Nothing is more dead than mainstream media today.
I will return to Twitter — in a while, when I’ve figured out how to put it to better use. And if that fails: how to make it less of a part-time job and more beneficial to my work: writing articles, interviews and working on documentaries.
Beneficial to Making Todays Insanity Fun Again.