I was an early adopter of Twitter. I had my account set up and was actively tweeting by March 2007, at a time when almost no one had even heard of Twitter and it was this inexplicable thing on the internet that people kind of refused to even try to understand.
And I loved it.
I had a group of followers who I loved. They were interesting. They came from different parts of the world and had different views from me. They were outspoken. They were funny. We were a tight-knit group and we felt like friends. We confided things in each other (this one had an abusive husband; that one was an addict) that we didn't tell anyone else.
And then it kind of fell apart for me. The busier it got, the more people who signed up and tweeted out ignorant bullshit, the less I wanted to be on there. Some people were fake. Some were so needy that it felt like a full time job. Some didn't follow me, but looked at my timeline every day and tweeted back at me in a harassing manner. It got old.
I use Twitter now in a very, very different way. The friends I had on Twitter I have now friended on Facebook - which I was never a fan of and still am not, but I use it every few days - and that's where I see them and talk to them and find out what's up in their lives. (They finally learned my real name instead of calling me True Jersey Girl, which was weird for a while but now it's all good.)The only time I open Twitter nowadays is when something is going on in the world - politically, usually, but also tv show finales or world events - to see what people are saying. I occasionally retweet, and much less occasionally I tweet myself. I am on and off in a matter of minutes. I don't converse with people and I don't feel like part of the Twitter family any more. And I am good with that.
Since I stopped using Twitter so much, I find myself to be so much more in the moment in my real life. I go out and enjoy things without thinking of what picture to take or what pithy comment I can tweet. And it really has enriched my life to remove Twitter from it.
What I see when I go on there now are not things I want in my life.
The trolling is out of control. I posted a picture a while back of a sign in a bar that said something about consent being sexy, or something like that. Men I had never tweeted with and whom I did not follow, nor did they follow me, started harassing me. Why? Who is sitting there looking for women to troll about consent? I don't have time for or interest in debating with idiots. It's not worth it to me. And the people who don't know me but feel the need to say things about me to their followers - so fucking stupid and childish and again, something I have no time for.
The bickering within my group of political "friends" is insane. We are all progressives, but yet the vitriol spit between Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters is out of control and I hate to see it. We used to fight together against Republicans trying to take away women's rights or fighting sensible gun control laws, and now it's all about fighting each other. It kills my soul a little bit each time I see it, and it exhausts me.
It bothers me a little to know that I am not a part of something I helped start. I was on Twitter when the service went down at least once a day (at least). I was there when there were about 500 people total, and I was friends with 300 of them. I was there before there were apps to get you fake followers, and, in fact, when the number of followers you had was not important because we all followed each other. I was there for Stripper Friday. I was there before hashtags, and before you could @ people. I used to tweet numerous times a day, and I think I was pretty good at it. I was funny, entertaining, sexy, and smart.
And Twitter lost me. Every time I think of tweeting, I choose not to. I'd rather text a friend than tweet into the ether. And every time I go on there, I get a headache. It's all noise. It's all people talking into the void and not hearing anyone else. It makes me long for the Twitter of 2007. But those days are gone, and so am I.