Twitter Is A Hell-Site • January 31, 2021
It has come to my attention that 'passive' and 'active' social media are terms that are, in fact, already defined. I'm leaving this post as it is, because I don't want to majorly rewrite it.
Every so often, I remember I have a blog. Whenever I do, I always think, "I should write a new post", but typically, I don't have anything to say when I remember. Now I do.
This leads me to right now. I've always toyed with the idea of trying to stop using Twitter for a time, because it does nothing but weigh down my mental health. Unfortunately, social media addiction is a very real thing and I have been unable to escape the beak of the light-blue bird. So why is this?
Well, first off, it's very easy to just...pick it up and 'mindlessly' consume. I don't think I've ever actively said, "I want to check my Twitter account". I always just naturally drift towards the app icon on my homescreen. This usually esrves as a decent distraction from whatever I may be doing at that time, like waiting for a bus. However, I never end up actually "enjoying" my time .It feels very "pseudo-social", if that's a word - I talk into the void, and sometimes the void talks back, but I never feel like I'm making a direct impact on anyone, and it's never memorable enough for me to remember any Twitter 'experiences'.
Twitter falls into what I would call "passive" social media - much like Discord or Messenger or Snapchat, it doesn't wait for you. It's always at your throat. It's always calling for your attention, calling for you to check the latest tweets - who knows, maybe you're missing out on some hot new trend. Compared to "active" social media, passive social media is media that can always get ahold of you, whether you're paying too much attention or not. Passive social media is a distraction - active social media is an intention, when you mean to log in and spend your time on that specific task.
So what makes Twitter worse than others?
Remember what I said about talking "into the void"? Well, keeping in mind that Twitter is a passive platform - you're never truly "offline", just "not in the app" - it's also a platform that breeds a community larger than itself. Imagine subreddits, or message boards, but without the actual distinction that either of those platforms bring. This means, at large, there are "community figures" - big names with a large audience or a lot of staying power, or influence on those in the community. This isn't inherently a bad thing - in many groups, these people can be a positive role model for fandom insiders and outsiders alike. However, on Twitter dot com, you end up with what many affectionately refer to as "cancel culture" - oh my god, the drama.
On a brief tangent, I think it's worth noting there are some "good" forms of passive social media - Discord, for instance, I find doesn't take up much energy, because I'm usually only talking to a specific friend or group of people. If someone needs me, or wants to show me something, I'll know - and I won't have to 'search' for it, or wait for it to show up. Discord is a healthy example of "good" passive social media, because while it can call for my attention, I never particularly feel like it's calling for "too much" of my attention. I open it when I want or when friends want to get ahold of me, but it's always much more direct than the "general airspace" of Twitter.
So, fandom Twitter, on the other hand, is very much a city that never sleeps - it's always fairly busy, and it's not very direct at all. Whereas on platforms like Discord I may talk to, say, five people in a day, on Twitter I will see hundreds of display names fly across my screen in that same twenty-four hours. This means that any conversation you hold tends to feel much less...weighted, than a conversation with a friend directly. On top of this, this plays into the "community figures" I mentioned earlier; sometimes a specific user can have a lot of influence, positive or negative, and when a user makes a stir of any kind, no one will shut up about it. This means that typically, if you want to escape from a specific situation or just don't want to hear about it...uh, tough shit, I guess.
Without going into specifics, this is the main reason I've decided to take a few days break from Twitter. I'd like to see if my mental state improves greatly without it. In the meantime, I've fallen in love with SpaceHey, a clone(?) of early MySpace. If you're reading this on my website, visit me over on SpaceHey, and if you're reading this on SpaceHey...shoot me a message! I'd love to say hello!
Social media can be toxic, especially with how aggressively-engineered it is to keep you hooked in. Try and take a break from it every now and then to help keep the mind fresh.
That's all I have to say for now. In the meantime, please remember to take care of yourselves. See you in the next post!