There is nothing political here. This is in no way posturing or attempting to prove a point. This is basically me wanting to be a better person.
We all know the basics of Lent: believers all over the world fast, pray and are penitent for 40 days (depending on your religious calendar) in the same way that Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days. The idea is that you’re supposed to give up something that means a lot to you, something that it will “mean something” to not have for the entire Lent season. It’s supposed to be a personal thing.
For me, this was a little difficult. At first, I wanted to be a part of some group of people who were giving up something else, so that I could have support as I went through withdrawal. But that’s not really fair, you know? Jesus was in the desert alone. So I wanted to go at it alone too. The idea to give up Twitter came only because a friend of mine basically dared me to do it. And I’m glad that she did.
I guess that in the ranks of Twitter users, I guess that I’m what you would call a “lifecaster”, meaning basically that I’m one of those people who tweets about what’s going on in their life at the moment. Because I occasionally blog too, I also use Twitter to pump my blog articles to “the world”. Oh, and I have a few friends who I talk to basically only through Twitter, because they’re so far away.
In the weeks leading up to Lent, I was starting to notice that my Twitter activity was starting to be a little…umm…odd. I know. This sounds so weird. I realized it too. I found that I was relying too much on Twitter for communication. It became one of my only social outlets. It started to become a good deal of what I talked about and through. I realized that my only way of expressing how I felt at the time was through Twitter. My phone stopped ringing, but the text messages, the direct messages, the @s…they kept pouring in.
Then, something happened. I realized that all these people, all 200-or so of my followers, none of these people were my friends (except for the ones who were my friends IRL). Why should I spend so much of my time communicating with people who would walk past me in a room and not speak when I was allowing my relationships with my real friends to wane just because they weren’t going to the Tweet-ups that I was going to, or hanging out on Twitter during live events to chat?
I still think that Twitter is the bees’ knees. And I do occasionally miss it, especially since my friends are still plugged in. And I’m sure that, at the end of the Lenten season, I will return to Twitter. But I’m re-finding the joy of face-to-face communication. I’m re-learning how voices sound, how different and fulfilling a real laugh is over a LOL and how much happier a real smile makes me feel versus a :). I’m enjoying the company of the friends that I had before Twitter. Not to say that the associates that I made through Twitter are bad people; it’s just nice to be able to physically hang out and have Pho with a group of people who you enjoy being with. And true, Tweet-ups are fun places to physically be with people, but I’d rather not have to always plan my encounters with my friends, or have to pay to see them.
Again, nothing wrong with Twitter, or the people who I’ve met since I started delving more into social media. I know that the emphasis can sometimes just be solely on the “us” of the “community” and how each of us fits into it, but, this is honestly just more about me.
And, to answer the critics, no, you can’t @ me or DM me. But, if we’re really friends, then we’re friends on Facebook (which I did not give up for Lent), or you have my cell phone number. So…yeah….call it de-evolution if you want to, but I consider it refreshing.