The Twitter Paradox

You know, twitter is a lot like high school.

There are the ‘cool’ people whom thousands (literally) follow and who themselves follow only cool ones like themselves, and the ones sucking up to them, and the really really nice people who don’t have groupies because they are either less open or use less colourful language or are just simply too nice. There are the ones hankering for groupies and ones content with a few friends. Then there are the ones who had thousands of followers, but wake up one day and know in their hearts how tiring all this drama really is and leave, making a new identity with a few old friends and no new fans, because they realize twitter, after all, is just that- a silly little frivolous niche for ourselves that we like to make to ‘connect’ with people, and that that connection, in the rush to get followers, gets lost pretty soon.

Twitter is addictive and pretty ruthless.

People unfollow you if you don’t tweet for a day– because, apparently, the unofficial terms and conditions imply that you cannot have a real life if you have a Twitter profile. People unfollow you if you don’t follow back– so apparently they followed you not because they want to hear if you have something to say, but they wanted a fat number of followers on board who never converse with them and the ‘connect’ part of twitter is never put into use. And then there’s the whole ‘blogging site’ part.

I wonder if people remember that a blogging site was once a ‘web log’- a sort of online diary, where you say what you want.

It was a forum for expressing opinions, for viewing other perspectives and for discussions where you debate the issue. I don’t think people on twitter, at least, do. One particular unfollow really hurt me. I honestly dislike the character of Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries. I think she is self-centred and a drama queen and that she is just stringing both Salvatores along which, in turn, affected relationships between them. I tweeted that, and this one lovely person whose username I would happily relinquish were it not for the abuse that will surely follow, tweeted right after that, “I respect your opinions but if you hate on Elena, gtfo my timeline.” And then she unfollowed me.

Yeah, I can really see how she respects my opinion.

But anyway. It’s not like this is a rant post or anything.
Plus sometimes you go through these rather depressing down periods of continuously losing followers for no apparent reason and sudden, high-inducing booms were your follower count jumps by scores. I just can’t figure this stuff out. Was this really supposed to be so complicated?

I wonder if twitter has taken from me more than it has given me; if it controls my ‘settings’ and edits my real-life profile than I do for it.

What human connections? Frankly, out of all the 272 people I follow, I think only about 9 or 10, excluding three really close friends I know personally, are worth my friendship, because they honestly are wonderful people. I have to thank twitter for letting me know them, though. They are the type of people who really enrich a person’s life when they walk into it, for reasons like setting an example and being a friend.
One thing that I absolutely cannot deny (or thank it enough for) is that twitter has given me an audience for my writings (although not for the opinions I express on the site itself). Thanks to it I have felt confident in presenting quite a few write-ups, such as this one, on the internet. Also, in an odd way, I think twitter has made me more assertive, if not in real life, then at least online. That’s a rather huge step for me.

I just think that Twitter would be a much better place if people saw it for what it really is- a platform to present your thoughts on, while respecting others’ opinions.

It’s a place you go to, to discuss things you love. What need is there to start perfectly idiotic ‘ship wars’ and other such nonsense which mean absolutely nothing in the real world? Sometimes my head aches and all I want to do is go up to the people spreading this drama and slap them in their faces. That’s why, recently, I decided to get a hold of my account with a firm hand. Start tweeting hatred for others and get your butt kicked immediately because one simply does not start hate wars on a blog.
Sometimes I wish I could be in that category of people who chuck their old twitter lives and get a fresh new account with only a few friends to start over. I wish I could walk away that easy. May be soon I will too. I don’t know. Right now, thinking about that kind of makes me want to cry.

My parents think I’m addicted to social networking.

I thought it was them overreacting until I accidentally came across a list of the symptoms and uncomfortably realized that I have all of them (so much for sanity). So now I’m trying my best to wean myself off it because I think the nightmarish year that I had in 2011 was largely due to this addiction. The upshot? I had a talk with my counselor and I now have a daily Twitter curfew of two hours and it’s working out surprisingly well. The downswing? Let’s just say I’ve lost more followers in the past one and a half months than I ever have in my entire time on twitter pre-2012.
I’m beginning to think that social networking is over-hyped. You just get lonelier than ever while stuck in the middle of a network of people consciously or unconsciously trying to get the upper hand – just like high school.

Just like the Crocotta said in the Supernatural episode Long Distance Call, “You’re all so connected- but you’ve never been more alone.”

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