Sunday, December 11, 2016

Goodbye Twitter

I'll be pulling the plug on Twitter in 2017.  I'm probably going to leave the @kingcabbagecast account up so that I can post new episodes, but if it becomes a time sink, it's going down too.  I mentioned this a bit on Twitter (yes, I know), but want to expand & react to a few things people asked.

First, I should say that I've been an evangelist for Twitter for a while.  I'm on Facebook strictly to see pictures of my kids at school, but I really love Twitter.  There's a non-reciprocity to it that means I get to follow brilliant people like @eveewing and @tressiemcphd , I've formed genuine friendships with people who I've later met in real life (or not yet met), I'm a more critical consumer of news and fiction because of Twitter, and it's been a community for me while I was a stay-at-home-dad.  There's a lot I love about Twitter.

But ...

*I* don't have a particularly healthy relationship with Twitter.  (I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I also want to talk about my experience specifically).  It's on my phone, and I check it A LOT throughout the day.  In fact, I can check my main account, switch over to the secondary account, switch to my email, then back to the main account which'll probably have one or two new Tweets, and keep that up for a while.  Not healthy.  To be avoided.

I've been pretty vocally supporting sci-fi/fantasy books/authors/discussions/etc, and trying to boost and make space for historically marginalized/historically oppressed voices, and the books and stories they're telling.  I think this is an entirely good thing, I have learned a lot, I am reading better books and expecting more of what I read because of all of this.  Twitter encouraged me to do this, and gave me a space to do my own boosting, and that's wonderful.  I *also* think that I've used this as an excuse in my head to not practice other forms of activism in the real-world, and (for me), it's important to get offline.

My concentration isn't what it was.  I have a hard time reading a book for as long as I used to without pulling out the phone & getting distracted for a while.

There's an art to the 140-character discussion, or put down, or share-a-link-with-comment.  And it's a really useful skill to learn, and I've hardly mastered it.  *But* I've forgotten how to write my own ideas at a sustained length.  I'd like to do that.

I've noticed that my mood is far more dependent on twitter than I'd like, which these days means I'm anxious and angry a lot, and I don't parent as well because of it.  In fact, I get anxious and slip into habits like "just checking Twitter" and then boom.

I'm still not entirely sure what I think about filter bubbles and the dangers of groupthink & being able to sit in your own community vs being able to find people with common interests and also gain the confidence and support to stand strong in your own truth.  But I know that I've had some interactions online & offline where it's clear I'm assuming the discourse of folks I follow so much that I'm having trouble talking and respecting other people who's ideas are worth respecting & talking about.  Again, this is a *me* thing, not a *twitter* thing.

At least one person suggesting paring back and filtering, and I'll say two things about that.  One - I'm bad at it.  I've deleted Twitter from my phone only to find within a couple days that I was regularly logging in via the web app.  Twitter makes engagement easy, and I've made it an easy habit.  Second, I do pare back a lot.  I unfollow many people (hi, hope I haven't offended you!), I mute people, terms, etc.  I *could* do more, but I already put a fair amount of overthinking into overthinking who I'm listening to & why.  For *me*, that road doesn't lead to more control.

We're moving to a new state in 2017.  I'm going to go from stay-at-home-dad to looking for a job.  One thing Twitter has provided is a sense of community, which I think I'm going to try to get in-person.  (I *like* being with people in the real world, but also it is a skill I have to practice because I'm pretty shy).  And I'm going to be leaving Twitter, like deleting the jsuttonmorse account leaving.  There are a lot of you I'd like to keep in touch with.  I'm going to practice email correspondence, and probably even snail mail.  What else do the kids these days use? Should I be on Slack (I think I am, but should I be in a group?)  If you'd like to keep in touch, I'm off Twitter & FB, but otherwise would love to be in touch.  Let me know your preferred method.  I'll still be publishing Cabbages & Kings.

I do have a few things I'm going to need help with.  If you've got suggestions for these, let me know
1 - I get most of my news from Twitter.  I used to listen to NPR, I still listen to many podcasts & NPR a bit.  I don't spend much time on actual computers, though that may change.  Blogs you'd recommend? Other ways you get news? People or institutions you like?

2 - I keep track of my reading here.  I don't like Goodreads' mobile experience.  Anything else I should log reactions and images of paragraphs & things on? I like that Twitter can be archived in stuff like Storify, and that it has threading.  What do you use?

3 - Again, I'd love to keep in touch with you.  If you'd like that, let me know what you'd prefer & I'll work to make it happen.

Feel free to chat in the comments, or on Twitter in the next couple weeks, or send me an email - jsuttonmorse at gmail, or whatever other way is best.

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