In January, I stopped using Twitter. Save for opening it every few weeks to check if I’d gotten a Direct Message (until I realized I could use email notifications to accomplish the same thing), I kept it closed.
I’ve asked myself, “did I miss anything?” a few times since January, but on an idle day in the past few weeks, I scrolled through my timeline, and the answer was “no”.
I read Today in Tabs and Garbage Day, which means I get a funny digest of goofy Twitter and TikTok antics without resorting to wading through the much myself, and that is vastly preferred. Last month I joined the Garbage Day Discord, which means I also see a bit more of how the sausage is made, and quite a few spicy links that never arrive in my inbox. Because the format is an actual conversation, I’ve also gotten to have nuanced discussion about things as varied as the conflict in Gaza, and queer dating.
Occasionally I do miss making stupid jokes that are somewhat ephemeral, but anymore I just text them to my friends or make them in Discord or on a social Slack, and that mostly scratches my itch. I even made a #fake-twitter channel in one Slack for a while so I could post random missives without interrupting the flow of conversation anywhere else. I recommend this. Some friends keep non-Tweets in a drafts folder or a scratch file, and this also works. Maybe no stranger saw the joke and clicked “like,” but they got to type out the joke, and perhaps that was enough.
I’m not ready to say that “public social media was a mistake” or something equally absurd, but I’m definitely happier without it. I likely miss out on the main character of the week, but we’re better off without them either, even if they do become our friends:
making up a guy on here to get mad at, but in a wonderful twist of fate, over time, i have come to like him and thus gained a new friend— leon (@leyawn) May 28, 2021
Between Instagram being the QVC for millennials, and Facebook continuing to radicalize middle-class Boomers and Gen Xers into anti-vaccing, Q insurgents, maybe it is just better to keep away from public social media after all. Regardless of if I stay off these sites indefinitely, my feeling after years away from Facebook’s sites and months away from Twitter is a feeling of lightness and joy.