I haven’t been on my personal twitter since the 12th January, and for me that’s a very long time.
In the grand scheme of things, my personal twitter is pretty insignificant. I have 1000-odd followers – a mix of friends (old, new and former), ex-colleagues, people I’ve met along the way…and a good handful of others who have, for whatever reason, decided I’m worth following. Little old me taking a big step back from twitter doesn’t have the impact that someone with more ‘influence’ will have, that’s for sure, but my 24 day absence has made me realise just how toxic it’s become.
Perhaps that comes across as a bit much, but hear me out here.
For me at least, twitter has always been a light-hearted platform, and for the 7 years I’ve been tweeting, the positive interactions have definitely far outweighed the negative. Despite that, however I’ve been feeling more and more unsure of how to approach something that was previously so effortless. Posting funny anecdotes and witty remarks doesn’t quite sit right with me at the minute, but equally I don’t want to get involved in the political side of things at this moment in time.
But it goes beyond overthinking what I tweet too. The general mood has switched from being (for the most part at least) lighthearted and friendly to a constant, 24/7 bombardment of scary, depressing news and pettiness – and that’s not a healthy place for anyone to hang around. It’s so easy to get sucked into it and keep reading more, clicking on another link or hashtag and ending up in a downward spiral of doom and gloom.
And so, with that in mind, I’m continuing my step back from twitter for a little while – either until things calm down a bit, or until I can figure out a way to turn it back into a balance between being a comfortable bubble where I can communicate with the people I like, and being a source of information about what’s going on in the wider world. Because whilst it’s important to be informed, it’s also important to be mindful of your own mental health and the effect that this constant stream of information can have.
It’s all summed up quite nicely (and terrifyingly) in this: