Leaving Facebook after five years of active use and three years of inactivity was the easiest decision ever. Snapchat seems like a platform for teens or adults with a similar mentality, so I gave up on that almost immediately, although there’s room to accommodate moments that are randomly “Snap-worthy.”
Instagram is a hot mess of well-manicured falsehoods, that are arranged for the purpose of heightening hysteria over how acceptable inadequacies are never deemed “Insta-worthy.” And while I hate the damage being done to the mental state of impressionable minds, I can’t deny the pure luck of being mature enough to handle the weightiness of perfection, that’s swiftly delivered with a single swipe.
However, when it comes to Twitter, don’t expect me to jump ship anytime soon because I don’t intend to quit the daily grind of faithful participation.
It’s been a little over a decade since social media platforms seized our method of engagement and catapulted users into the realm of extremes, that has quite frankly filtered into the mainstream in ways that may never be revocable.
When it all started, there was the revolutionary way in which we could link the past and present with seamless precision, and the accompaniment of all the things that we lie about when we appear at high school reunions or deal with pressure from co-workers who expect you to confirm their over-zealous assumptions.
And then when Facebook became way too crowded for comfort as familial ties felt like chokeholds, and re-established links illustrated reminders of why the past should never be resurrected, plus the strain of the waiting list of contenders that needed to verify allegiance to the numbers game — there had to be an alternative that would allow the social to perfectly compliment media’s requirements.
I found my place on Twitter, and while exploring the wildly imaginative landscape, the swaddling of euphoria was overwhelming, as the words I had spent years trying to use as currency, suddenly became the expressive highway to long-awaited attention.
It was the summer of 2012, and back then the social media socialites held mini-events that were sometimes impromptu and often times staged, and my reply to a Sunday morning tweet led to a public invitation to a luncheon that networked me into a life-changing era.
If I hadn’t intercepted the tweet-fest in session, I wouldn’t have met the woman who I instantly clicked with, who ended up introducing me to the woman, who was sober enough to take my heavy testimony to heart, with the response that led to the introduction to Medium.
That was all it took to get me hooked. It was intoxicating to be logged into a portal that had the power to manifest the treats of instant gratification on a grander scale, without asking anything other than your focused investment.
Those early days seemed pretty darn hectic, as we were all figuring out the best methods of engagement, and that purposefulness turned into the priming of practiced manipulation, without the fear of alienation from haters who can’t stand the buzzkill of a thought process, that leads to the unpopular vote.
Celebs were able to get away with advising fans to masturbate their sleeplessness away without the threat of Twitter Moments, and the quote tweets weren’t in existence, which meant there was a lesser chance of being rudely called out and hung at the public square, where naysayers pick you apart for what seems like an eternity.
Little did we know that the burgeoning “influencers”were hard at work, scheming their way to the top with the authority of fortune tellers and the endorsement of techies who were beginning to get comfortable with the roles as global instigators with a twist.
And now the artillery that has been furnished makes it super easy to gauge the climate before dispelling what could be a disastrous fragrance that could get you banished for weeks.
All you have to do is either adopt the floating brain cells of blue tickers, or remain suffocatingly silent if you happen to disagree. Of course you could take the risk of siding with the newly-minted “canceled” person or thing. If you’re not a member of the “verified” club, you can absolutely take that chance because nobody will notice or care enough to quote you — thanks to your unchecked status.
My view isn’t a bad one, even though I’ve seen a lot of bad shit, with the ugliness that we all knew was heading our way, but we just didn’t care because of the potential book deals, job offers from viral threads and ordained hashtags that elevate the culture, and the limitless possibilities that are waiting to be unearthed.
But as much as I appreciate Instagram’s epic scrapbook of manufactured opulence and the desensitizing of emotions, that include the parade of beauties weirdly inter-mixing with Youtube videos of deceased notables at their peak — I’m still helplessly devoted to the unfiltered sociables on the platform that can turn on you — fast and furiously.
My eyesight is punishing me for the all-nighters, that keep me up with vitamins that don’t do anything for my health, except guarantee the shortening of lifespan, and the cruel beatdown of a waning mental state.
I can’t quit Twitter because my fragile writing career will crumble if the shares stop happening. I can’t leave the space of my cautioned content because I willingly signed up for something that was glaringly wrought with hints of a formidable shitfest, that has arrived with menaced fanfare. I refuse to minimize my addiction to the buttons that provide the menu of reactions that can wreck careers or clear the path for a new one.
There’s also the dollied up psychosis that’s too irresistible to tune off, as you consider the real life — reality show — that features vibrant characters that are constantly strategizing their takeover against the backdrop of finessed chaos and mayhem — that escalates when the stakes are high enough to warrant those levels of hostility.
It feels good to be woken up at 2:37 am by an erratic mind that isn’t internalizing the stillness of body and soul. And once the scrolling commences, under the guidance of night mode, the bonding with like-minded staples, makes it okay to be a lonely, sleep-deprived Black woman — who is endorsed by the threads that crisscross too form the reasons why I tend to “like” more at odd hours.
Speaking of “liking,” there’s a rumor circulating the likelihood that we might be permanently deprived of that function, as part of Jack Dorsey’s urgent attempt at redemption.
There has always been the need for law and order and common decency to reign above all the debris that results from a systemic revolt, and while that scenery is breathtakingly, it was never going to hold up in heightened environments — that encourage the freedom of mandated dysfunction with bullet points that light up our deplorable tendencies.
If the cure for this rampant virus is simply to not “like” anything ever again — then that would be the luck of the draw when it comes to securing an antidote in record time.
But with the last couple of years, and specifically the recent national crisis that has tried to galvanize efforts to crack down on seasoned haters, who habitually reject the rules of conduct for the pleasures of online terrorism — there is the strong sense that we’ve sprinted past the section that allows for web-cleansing — with the deprogramming that reverts us back to the days when being social was an in-person affair without the cowardice of a keyboard.
Unfortunately it’s not the ceaseless power of “liking,” “retweeting,” or “quote-tweeting,” because those tools of engagement were issued with the hopes that we would autocratically tear each other apart to the degree of not being able to even recognize ourselves.
If Instagram fetes us with the ability to court the fantastical at our own expense, Twitter entices with an even more fateful form of escapades, that gives inflated minds the fantasy of their influence, which translates into the belief that you can permanently alter the reality of those who actually spend more time in the real world — with real people — doing things that will last way longer than the daily shiftiness of Moments.
We can’t become what we never embodied, because the blissfulness of owning your destiny or watching destinies in the making can’t be thwarted for the sham of a healthier existence.
Twitter creates the tolerance of making rapid adjustments as a way to tidy up timelines, and guiltlessly cruise through the scope of utter shit and profound solidarity, that breeds awareness — manifesting from non-stop access to knowledge from gifted neighbors — who eventually rise to the surface and remain there.
There’s nothing that can be done to rewrite the damning blueprint of our imminent self-destruction. The phantom boosters that are being heralded for the benefit of disciplining our now tarnished instincts — will only exacerbate deep wounds that are too infected to bleed out.
Accepting Twitter for what it was and what I knew it would be has shielded me from the aftermath of the nuclear wars that erupt.
It also helps that both my applications for the blue tick were tossed in the trash bin. You can truly eat your cake and have it too, in the public square of opinion because when you stumble on a hit, the praises flow in, and when the dud is a thud, it’s never loud enough to force hours of defense mechanisms.
The brutality of being mercilessly dragged by verified detractors and their countless appendages is a process that’s impressively hard to adequately describe without vivid animation. My brief episode back when the climate was gratifyingly temperate, ended as soon as I waved the white flag, but these days it takes at weeks for the wreckage to be almost abandoned.
There’s also the ultra-haters who hate what you’ve said, and decide to shame you via the Googled images that make you look like a strung-out drug addict. But then the “mute” and “block” additions provide a quick mood change.
We seem to have all the weaponry we need to either combat or unify — depending on the topic and verifiable status of participants.
So, why quit when you’re this far in and have so much further to go?
That’s the answer that could possibly save us all — but who needs that floating device?
We just want the device and the apps. And I just need Twitter.