Because Twitter is a microcosm for the big life questionsby Cathy Rentzenbrink / July 17, 2019 / Leave a comment
I’m dabbling with Twitter after a year away from it. I had to start again from scratch. It was never my intention to permanently deactivate my account, only to come off while I finished the draft of a book. But I left it too long and when—draft completed—I went to log back in, I no longer existed. Perhaps that was a sign, I thought, that I’d be better off without the little blue bird in my life, but I missed the book chat and the jokes. Would I not go to a big party, I reasoned with myself, just because there were some people there I didn’t agree with? I dived in.
And I love it! What a joy to be in touch with these beautiful people, lots of whom I know in real life, but not at the level where we’d be emailing each other or going on holiday together. How I missed them! And the jokes! Twitter is so good at jokes. I find it exhilarating when people talk to me, follow me, or like me. The part of me that likes attention is hair-flickingly pleased about it all. My more vulnerable self, the self who often feels like a slug about to be deluged with salt, is highly wary and suspects I’ll find out that what I’m nostalgic for is Twitter in about 2012, when it was a place for the curious and generous, before everyone became so angry.
This bit of me thinks I have allowed nostalgia—so dangerous when it comes to addiction—to lure me back into a cauldron of squabble, sycophancy and vitriol, and that it will end in tears. Mine, probably, when I can’t cope with the pain of the world being sliced and diced for my delectation anymore, and I’m embarrassed that I’ve tweeted something cheerful on top of dreadful news or the anniversary of something sad.
And it does eat up time, of course, and makes me ignore real people.
“Did you hear any of that?” my son, Matt, asked me yesterday.
“What’s that, darling?”
“You’re looking at your phone and not listening to me.”
Caught red handed. To my great shame, I tried to lie, claiming I was doing something for work, but he saw through it.
“You were laughing. You’re on Twitter, aren’t you?”