Bye, Bye Twitter (For a bit)

Late Sunday night I realised I hadn’t looked at Twitter all day. That never happens. I’m a Twitter addict.

Sunday was wonderful. We cycled from the East Village to Red Hook and back, via Vinegar Hill and Dumbo, taking breaks to eat and explore the various neighbourhoods along the way. It was splendid and I didn’t look at Twitter once.

This is very weird for me. I look at Twitter every day. Multiple times a day. Sometimes I feel like I live my life on Twitter. But there I was, not having looked at it once, and, well, I also realised I wasn’t feeling anxious. There wasn’t a heavy weight on my shoulders or a stone in my gut. So I decided not to look at Twitter again until after the Memorial Day weekend was over.

I spent yesterday writing. I wrote more than I have in a day for ages. About halfway through the day I decided to take a whole week off from Twitter. Just to see how it goes and to see if I feel like Twitter’s taking more away than it’s giving me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Twitter. It’s the only social media I’ve ever loved. I hated MySpace. I never even signed up for FaceBook because it seemed too much like MySpace and the initial invites I received were all from people I haven’t seen in years for very good reasons.

I love the brevity of Twitter. Perversely, I also love people’s long Twitter threads. I love having conversations with people all over the world about a myriad different things. I love the activism of Twitter. I love how much I’ve learned from Twitter. About history, politics, People of Color in European Art, Whores of Yore. So. Many. Things. I love, too, occasionally being able to teach.

But last year my writing slowed. The endless lead up to the US election was painful because of the way the racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia of this country was spelled out in vivid colour daily. The Southern Poverty Law Center says there are 917 hate groups in the USA. There are 47 of those in my state of New York. Hate won and we have the Hater in Chief in the White House.

Like many others I’ve struggled to write while the world is this horrible. Especially with news stories about hate crimes, corruption, treason etc. breaking, what feels like, every few hours.

Twitter amplifies that effect. It also provides welcome distraction from it. But for me lately the first has been overwhelming the second.

I’ve been working on the first draft of this novel for two years now. Which, for me, is ridiculous. I can’t go on like this because writing novels is how I make a living. I have to get back into the rhythm of productive writing. There are more than ten novels in my writing queue. I have to finish this one and get to them.

So, no Twitter for a week and then, depending on how that goes, I’ll try to modify my use to only an hour or so a day. Let’s see if I can become a restrained Twitter user and if separation from Twitter will snap me out of my post-election despair at long last.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be calling my reps and staying informed. I’m not opting out of civic life just out of Twitter for awhile.

Wish me luck finishing this bloody novel! (Let me tell you it doesn’t help that this novel is about a psychopath in this brave new world of ours.)

xo

Justine

PS If you need to contact me you can do so here.

8 comments

  1. Carl R on #

    Very sensible. Good luck with your current novel, and the 9 to follow. I eagerly await all of them, and should spend less time on Twitter and more time reading good books. I am not a cat and can ignore the laser pointer of Twitter. Or so I like to think.

    • Justine on #

      Thank you so much!

      Yeah, I don’t think the problem is Twitter so much as my inability to look away from that laser pointer. Well put.

  2. tanita on #

    Ah, my friend – good luck. I normally take Twitter Sabbaths every weekend, but coming back to it lately, when I have enjoyed some time not looking at it at all, has been revealing. And yet: like you, I do feel like it’s the ONLY social media that has ever truly worked for me – my experience with MySpace and FB are similar! – but the good news is that I’ve found that I can pop in/out and (mostly) still feel a part of the crew. It’s like watching soaps; you can go away for a year, and Luke & Laura are still feuding, Bo & Hope have died/resurrected mysteriously, and it’s all still going on. ☺

    • Justine on #

      Aww, thank you, Tanita, for your support in my battle against myself.

      I love your soap opera analogy. If only the evil Timmy would stay down the damn well.

  3. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence on #

    Yes, Twitter can be an anxiety causing deep dark hole sometimes so it’s definitely healthy to take a break! Sending you all the writing mojo (mainly so I can read it)!

    • Justine on #

      Thank you so much. Knowing you want to read it is all the writing mojo I need.

  4. Sarah Ayoub on #

    I find that most social media gives me general feelings of anxiety and actually amplifies my depression. It’s very hard to see the hate in the world when you just want to see the good in everyone and want everyone to live their best life. I don’t use Twitter all that much, but when I do, I am confronted with terror attacks, politicians who are so out of touch with reality, news of that egotistical, whiney, clueless Hater in Chief, the practical eradication of Christians in the Middle-East (something I am very passionate about because of my own family history); Islamophobia in the west (“Yassmin, who identifies first and foremost as a Muslim” was the second sentence in an explosive article on Yassmin A, as though being Muslim is her crime), sexism and God knows what else. But I have also e-met some lovely people, discovered writers who speak up about important things, and seen news that wouldn’t make it into the mainstream media. That said, I can understand the impact it has on your work, as it can be v distracting. I don’t have a personal FB, just an author page that I hardly use, and I use Instagram for the indulgent (read:superficial) things in my life, like clothes and handbags; but Twitter especially has a big impact on my feelings and output. I took notifications off my phone recently, and it helped. Sending you the most positive vibes, and all the wordsmith mojo so you can get this next book out of your head and into our hands!

    • Justine on #

      Yes, to all of this. Twitter amplifies all the horror. 🙁

      Instagram, for me, is pure pleasure. Especially as mine is private and I only let people I know and trust follow me. It feels safe.

      I do miss Twitter because of all the lovely folks I’ve met there and all the wonderful conversations. But damn am I getting some work done this week! I’ll be back for sure but in a more controlled way.

      Thanks for this, Sarah. xox

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