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
Satirists taking the piss about the government’s consistent fuck ups (Josh Berry, Michael Spicer, Alistair Green)
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