Why I think I should leave Twitter (but probably won't)
Originally published September 2021
I joined Twitter in 2009, a time of military boots, emo scarves and Cheryl Cole. Was it a better time? Probably. Although we could be living through a period of societal bliss, world peace and endless money for all and it would still be hell for a 14 year old girl, battling with everything that comes with being a teenager. So naturally, arming her with a social media account and a free realm during this tumultuous time would always end up with it being used as a diary, but instead of locking it and stuffing it under a pillow, it’s online for the world to read.
To be fair, I was never much of a diary writer. I aimed to be the type of girl you see in American teen movies - sprawling across a bed, writing in cute, curly handwriting with a pink fluffy pen about their day at school, while the mum makes snacks downstairs (usually something with crackers - why is it always crackers?!)
In reality, I only ever wrote in my physical diary in those moments when I was furious, and thus the diary became a literal book of bad vibes - no uplifting anecdotes, no cute memories; just a pandora’s box of teenage pain. I still have this diary and whenever I dare to open its pages, I can tell you now, it is a heavy read.
Did I constantly tweet deep and meaningful lyrics to give an air of mystery and intrigue? Sure - I was a teenage girl, tortured by endless unrequited love.
Then I got myself a Twitter account, where I could offer up my thoughts to an audience of (mainly) school friends. I must admit, I knew exactly who my audience were, so did I constantly tweet deep and meaningful lyrics to give an air of mystery and intrigue? Sure - I was a teenage girl, tortured by endless unrequited love.
Fast forward to 2020 and somehow I’d managed to cultivate around 900 followers - not much in the grand scheme of things, but a lot more to the 140 I have now (yes it’s pathetic, please follow me). I decided to delete my Twitter account and start afresh last summer. Not because I had anything to hide, but quite simply it was embarrassing - a digital time capsule of the trials and tribulations of teenage me, complaining about homework or how awful my ever-loving parents were. My hormonal-fuelled tweets eventually turned into maturer views on music and politics. And somehow, as I glance over my tweets from the past month, my new account is looking more like a teenage diary than ever before. What made me believe the world wanted to know how little sleep I got last weekend? Was it that pressing that I needed to complain about the slow service on Uber (but not actually tag them)? Did the world need to know that I bought a block of tofu and a bottle of wine and felt that those two items ‘perfectly encapsulated who I am’? No.
In the same way we cringe at old Facebook statuses for being mundane, “omggg I can’t believe there are ppl who actually like pineapple on pizza!!” (Not a real example because I also deleted my Facebook - boring, I know); my Twitter feed is looking more and more like the very thing I initially tried to get away from.
So all of the above is a fairly strong case to delete my account. However, it’s not the main factor. And unlike a stereotypical break up, this time, it’s you, not me.
Not you who is currently reading this obv; unless you’re a racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, COVID-denying, Union Jack waving, Brexit loving, small-minded person who loves to sit behind a keyboard and comment on everything. If you do fit into that niche category, then yes, I do mean you.
Pre-2016, it felt that the world was heading in the right direction - sure, not at the pace that we would like, but it didn’t feel that life was going backwards. Now, I’m not so sure. Post-Trump, Brexit & GB News, it feels like those very voices who complained about being ‘cancelled’ are being heard more and more, and the nice little bubble I had curated for myself online, has been burst.
Before you say it, yes I have tried muting certain accounts. But I clearly have a thing for torturing myself, because if I click on a lovely story about Meghan Markle for example, I always end up scrolling down.
Rule number 1: NEVER SCROLL DOWN.
I am the doom-scrolling queen. News story about abortion in Texas? Oooh let’s have a look to see what ‘JebediahLovesUSA’ has to say about that. Home Office commenting on migrant crossings? Of course I would like to see the views of ‘🇬🇧Darren69🇬🇧*, why wouldn’t I?
News story about abortion in Texas? Oooh let’s have a look to see what ‘JebediahLovesUSA’ has to say about that
It has now got to the point where I can’t escape the archaic views of people who’s outlook on life is far different to mine. This is not just a simple difference of opinion, one should not be able to spout hatred about anyone or any group of people. And so I have taken a baby step - I’ve deleted the Twitter app on my phone. Problem solved, right?
There is a reason I have spent the past 12 years with a Twitter account (christ). Here are a few things that are keeping me tethered to this god-forsaken bird app:
Oloni’s “Ladies shall we have some fun” threads - you don’t know filth until you experience this
Love Island hot takes - even though I don’t watch the show, I appear know every storyline arc
Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s swollen balls
Reaction pics to outlandish tweets
Random people having hilarious and nonsensical tweets go viral
Unifying over a joint cause - usually supporting England in international sporting events
Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s swollen balls (again)
The curation of the finest memes from other platforms
Social media teams of well-known companies publicly battling each other (Aldi, I’m looking at you)
And in the time it took me to write that list, a random thought popped into my head. Without a second thought as to whether it needed to be shared on Beyonce’s internet, I typed it out, and immediately pressed ‘Tweet’.
God this website is addictive isn’t it?
*I would like to apologise to any Jebediah’s and Darren’s who are not like this - #NotAllJebediahsAndDarrens