Friday, August 13, 2010
I Do Not Tweet, and I Am...Not
Six months ago, I deleted my Twitter page. Six months ago, I ceased to exist.
When I first deleted my page, I got a lot of emails and phone calls.
"Are you okay?" "What's going on with you?" "Why did you delete your page!?"
People associated my mental health, stability and psychological well-being with my occupation on Twitter. The fact that I had willingly deleted my page, for no apparent reason, was a sure sign that I was going through a psychotic episode.
I started to wonder...
Was I still alive? Was I okay?
For the first few days after I deleted my Twitter account, I remember checking myself in the mirror frequently. I still looked the same. My pupils weren't dialated. My hair wasn't falling out. I seemed to still be breathing.
The phone calls, emails and texts, those were starting to slow down, however. It was then that I realized that my relevancy as not only a writer, but possibly as a human being was somehow inextricably linked to my Twitter page. After all, I was no longer available to tell everyone all of the vitally important things they needed to know, in order to gauge if I were still alive:
"Out having drinks with my baby @suchNsuch!"
Or references to my exciting dating life...
"About to go grab a bite to eat w/ the misses."
Or references to my fab lifestyle...
"Just had a great weekend of fun, sun and drinks with the fam @blah @blah @SuchNsuch Summer Sunday Fun, Fun, Fun!"
Or references to my impeccable health regiment...
"Hitting the gym now."
Or vague references to my popular religious/moral beliefs...
"Faith is so important and...like... stuff!"
Or offer comments about my preferred brand of lemonade while shopping at Kroger...
"Do you prefer Simply Lemon or Minute Maid? Simply Lemon for me..."
Yes, without my Twitter page, my existence was becoming dimmer and dimmer. People were unable to read about how I entertain myself, who I entertain myself with, where I enjoy drinking, how I serve Jesus and how frequently I practice yoga. In essence, they were unable to know the real me.
Then, there was my career.
In the 2000 school of media-- I know that visibility is everything. Writers want to be more popular than the artists/celebs they cover. We create websites using only our names. We make videos where we essentially interview ourselves. We bustle around town with equipment we don't know how to use to be seen and "on the scene." We participate in meaningless roundtable discussions that never lead anywhere, and serve no purpose--other than of course, to show that we were invited to the meaningless roundtable discussion.
Twitter has become the perfect medium for us media "tastemakers."
We can participate in silly music related debates (debates that in no way have any bearing on the actual state of the industry, but serve only to illustrate that we can write 140 characters about whoever the rapper up for discussion is). We can articulate just how much we know, and how quickly we can discreetly google what we don't know during an especially heated discussion. We can illustrate how smart we are. We can offer brazenly sarcastic commentary on every song that leaks or every ill-advised email blast we receive. After all, how else will people know how many unwanted emails we get per day, or how many people want us to listen to their music? We can brag about where we are, and where you aren't. We can tell you where we just landed.
It hit me. Without Twitter, how will other "tastemakers" know that I am still "tastemaking?" How will they know I am witty and sarcastic? How will they know that I'm alive?! I mean, sure they can read my bylines or blogs, but...how will they really know if they are unable to read what I'm #nowplaying every hour on the hour-- and that my musical taste (and therefore personality) is eclectic, yet grounded, well-informed but approachable? They won't. That's how.
My worth, I've found--both personally and professionally is synonymous with my Twitter Page.
And my Twitter Page no longer exists.
Therefore, I am... not.