Well, that is the question.
About ten years ago I had a Twitter account where I happily tweeted and interacted with others, but then I drifted towards other social media channels. There are so many platforms, so many interactive tools to use in various ways, and if you don’t want to spend all day checking multiple accounts and updates, there has to be a certain selection – for me, anyway. I cannot spend too much time on my phone or my computer, outside of work, because that would limit my IRL activities. So how does one choose? Having teenage daughters, I use What’sApp, SnapChat, Instagram, TikTok (I know – don’t judge) and Messenger to communicate with them and keep up-to-date with their posts and social media activities. For work and school updates there is Canvas, Outlook, Gmail, GoogleCalendar and SchoolSoft to check daily, and for friends and extended family I have good old Facebook (which seems like a dinosaur dressed as lamb). So where does Twitter fit in?
Having followed a tweet chat and gone back to Twitter – more as a visitor than resident these days – I can definitely see the charm and appeal. But would I go back to my tweeting days? I am not so sure. I would probably lurk behind the scenes rather than appearing on stage, at least. Perhaps I will start checking tweets again, at least in certain categories. Perhaps even for professional purposes. However, there is so much traffic! There is an intense flow of short tweets, where you sometimes have to skim through a lot of short entries to create a collective train of thought. It’s like on Midsummer’s Eve in Sweden, where you start off with that one flower that you pick in a field, and you cannot really envison what the final bouquet of flowers is going to look like. But then you pick another flower, and another, and yet another with a different colour, different leafs. The collection of flowers in your hand grows, and suddenly you have a vibrant bouquet in your hand. Then you look up, and gaze over the field, and see flowers everywhere; with various colours, leafs, heights and structure. What’s also there is weed. The trolls. The stuff that doesn’t do anyone any good; the added extras that you wouldn’t choose to have in your bouquet. The weed, the trolls, sometimes take over, and you don’t always know where they come from – because just like weed seemingly can come from anywhere in the field, trolls can pop up anonymously in any feed. There can be fake accounts, fake posts (only added to provoke) and tweets that serve no other purpose than to make people react negatively. You cannot control who retweets or responds, as you can on other social media (where you have to accept other accounds, friends or join groups). All this means I would never get too personal on Twitter, because if I choose to hashtag something, it is a public post, in a different way than on other social media that I currently use.
I can see the benefits of using Twitter for blogging, spreading news or starting trends, but I can also see how easy it could be to get addicted. Once you have started picking flowers for your bouquet and you look up and see all the other flowers, how do you stop adding to the bouquet? When is enough enough? I remember my good old tweeting days, when I would follow hashtags and trends, and update many times a day to see the flow and all the new entries. It is time consuming. I am not sure I would spend my time wisely on Twitter, in that sense. I would benefit more – on a personal level – from watching a movie with my husband and my daughters, than being alone on a screen watching all the new entries popping up. I guess I haven’t found my own Twitter purpose yet. 🙂
“Dinosaur dressed as lamb”. I will never look at Facebook the same again. This is a considered post and refelction on Twitter and unpicks your reasons for no longer using it and ways it might help you professionally but not personally, despite its totally open architecture.