On Twitter

After Twitter became a “thing” sometime around 2007 during the Obama-Hillary bloodbath, my attitude toward it was, well, contemptuous. I thought it frivolous and faddish, certainly nothing of consequence and a flash-in-the-pan app that would soon wither away. In this, obviously, I was quite wrong. It’s worth mentioning that I did not have a “smart phone” (in 2015, just a phone) at the time. My view of Twitter changed dramatically in 2009 with the abortive “Green Revolution” in Iran, which I followed religiously (no pun intended), and which, despite my misgivings and sarcastic denigrations of Twitter, led me to sign up for it.

Initially, I didn’t use it that much; after the Green Revolution was forcibly repressed, I sort of forgot that I even had a Twitter account. It was just kind of “there” — like an Orbitz account or any number of things I’d signed up for to use once or twice, then completely neglected except to unsubscribe from email alerts. Yet eventually, as months and years started to bleed into one another, I found myself using Twitter more and more. Eventually, I got an iPhone, which only served to facilitate what was quickly becoming an addiction (one more among several, heh). Yet what I had initially dismissed as an obsession with mainstream media attempting to appear “cool” quickly changed into something else.

I found actual friends through this medium — individuals with whom I’ve exchanged Christmas cards, whose numbers are in my phone, with whom I can text or direct message regarding even the most private topics any time of day, any day of the week. And when I say “friends,” I don’t use that term loosely; yes, I have plenty of Twitter
“acquaintances” — individuals with whom I might exchange a few tweets a week, whose location and occupation I may be aware of, but not someone I feel a sort of kindred bond with. (Two dangling prepositions in one sentence; I should be shot).

As my Twitter usage increased, I’ve found that my willingness to be brash and open about events in my own life and opinions I might hold strongly yet lack a forum to express in the manner and with the forcefulness I might require has increased dramatically. I used to be a very private person, about whom nothing was to be known — an enigma possessed of a facility with words and an agile brain, but otherwise an anonymous bespectacled face underneath a shock of blonde hair. Said shock has since diminished to a strictly-kept 3/8″ stubble-ish sort of thing… but I digress. I found myself discussing openly on Twitter at first, then on Facebook, then in casual conversation my previous suicide attempts, homosexuality, struggles with bulimia, substance abuse, depression, crippling anxiety, and all sorts of warts I’d previously held so close to my chest that I couldn’t even talk about them with a significant other of five years. For whatever reason(s), Twitter provided a forum in which the Midwest niceness and reservedness with which I’d been raised ceased to apply; the rules were there to be shattered.

Yes, I found that I dropped many more f-bombs in casual conversation, but who the fuck cares? I no longer do, I can affirm that (as can those close to me, likely haha). Twitter has helped me be more… me. It’s not a development I anticipated in any way, but 95K+ tweets later, and with friends on every continent but Antarctica — friends, mind you — I can say that this one app possible only in the 21st century has impacted my life in surprising but almost uniformly positive ways. The friends I’ve made on Twitter are individuals with whom I hope to be in contact for the rest of my life, and I would never have been aware of their existence without Twitter. I am penitent. For those who dismiss it, give it a try — I have a friend in Windhoek, Namibia for fuck’s sake. I’m about 99% sure I’ll never meet her IRL (which is its own topic), but I can always send her a tweet or a text if something’s on my mind, and she’s certainly welcome to do the same. Next time I’m in New Orleans, Boston, New York, San Fran, LA, Dublin, Berlin, or when I make it to London, Kingston, Tokyo, Melbourne, Cairo, I have people there. That’s pretty fucking cool.

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~ by Benji on 12 November 2015.

One Response to “On Twitter”

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