It was perhaps December 2008 or early January 2009 when I first heard about Twitter, then described as a micro-blogging site. I remember thinking that it could never replace my blog, this blog.
140 character limit tweets? Given I would regularly have to edit blog posts down from two-to-three thousand words the idea that I would spend more time tweeting than updating this site seemed laughable when I did finally register an account and yet look at how infrequently I’ve posted here.
Towards the end of 2018 I noticed I had sent over 110,000 tweets, a lot of words, not all of them really worth reading so I ran a script that deleted everything and vowed to tweet less and I tried but then Trump and the general election came along and I couldn’t contain my inner Victor Meldrew and I ranted and raged and I tweeted, oh did I tweet, the classic old man shaking his fist at the cloud.
At that stage I had around 1,500 followers and I followed, at one point, almost 1,000 people and I couldn’t stop checking to see what was being said, what news article I had missed, what outrageous tweet had been sent in the 30 seconds since I last checked.
I knew about the echo chamber so I had made a point of following people I vehemently disagreed with; keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right? Wrong. It just riled me up even more.
Then in mid-2018 I had the worst experience I’ve encountered so far, and I’ve slept in an underground car park for a week in December, back when December had snow and ice. That experience caused me to unfollow a swathe of accounts settling to the current 320 but more importantly, I removed almost 1,000 followers, those mysterious eyes who I was broadcasting my constant stream of consciousness to. Yes, I know Twitter is searchable and public but did I need so many strangers to have my words delivered directly to their mobile phones? No. Do the 182 followers I now have need them delivered? Probably not.
Since the election result on Friday 13 December 2019 I realised just how tired of being angry I was and the fuel that powered much of that anger was my twitter account. Being in a constant, futile, rage is exhausting and as I found myself checking my account less frequently I realised I quite enjoyed it, the feeling of not being angry.
It wasn’t easy to hold back at first but gradually I found myself typing out an angry tweet and then pausing for a second or two before deleting it. It served the same purpose really, I could have hit send and sent it to Twitter’s servers for onward distribution but chances are it would have achieved the same result as my deleting it. Nothing. I wasn’t tweeting for validation i was just tweeting because I had no other outlet for the frustration I had inside. Except I did/do, here for a start.
Last week when Twitter reminded me it was 11 years since I had signed up for an account I took that as a sign to take a break from tweeting as Mr Omneo. I removed the account from my phone and iPad to reduce the temptation to see what was being discussed and after a period of cold turkey, I find I don’t miss it. Although I am left pondering what to do with all the time I find I now have because I’m not constantly hitting refresh.
Perhaps there will be more posts here, who knows. I’ve given up vowing to post more because invariably I seldom do so who knows? I don’t.
I’ll tell you what I am doing with some of that time though, playing records! Since buying a record player I’ve slowly been buying records again, despite having a stupidly expensive Sonos system and streaming accounts with no less that three different services (no, I don’t know why either)
As I live in an expensive shoebox my record player lives in my bedroom and I find myself transported back to my teenage years when I want to listen to a record. Lying on my bed, reading the cover and often the lyrics as I wait for the needle to reach the end and I have to get up and turn it over. No phone, no iPad to distract me, just the music. Good times.