Last week I deleted my Twitter account. I hadn’t been on there for six months, and I’d decided an inactive account was probably worse than no account at all. But did I learn or gain anything from my decade on the platform? This is my attempt to figure it out.
I joined Twitter in 2012, and I built up to about 1250 followers, most of which came in the first year. I was on there primarily to keep up with the book industry and share my work, and I also enjoyed the insight into people’s lives. However, I often felt too rushed to join in properly, and it was never my forte to maintain a fast-paced written conversation with people I didn’t know well. I’d send out tweets, but then my inner overthinker (who’s called Hilda and can be a real bitch) would be shrieking aaaargh! at both the worry over what I said – Am I being too salesy? Do I sound silly? – and the time/energy it was taking to say it. Which is all pretty hilarious as the algorithm and my regular low engagement figures probably ensured I was tweeting at no one most of the time.
Twitter was also a time-suck: half an hour would go missing as soon as I clicked into the app. And yet, I persisted because there were some nuggets of gold, connections with people I really admire, and valuable industry insights. I’ve had some great moments with Twitter over the years. A chat with John Birmingham. A reply from Lisa Jewell. A follow from Bradley Trevor Grieve. These kinds of dopamine hits were enough to keep me scrolling. And I appreciated the real-time news information and updates too. Who wouldn’t want to watch the battle for US democracy on the Twitter feed of 6th January 2021. Utterly terrifying, as I recall.
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