Until today, I hadn’t updated since October. There just hasn’t seemed to be much to update about. Sure, I’ve done things, but they aren’t particularly exciting. I’ve posted a few photos on social media here and there when I’ve done things like redecorate the dining room. But posting on my blog seems more “official” than social media, like I need to craft something rather than just sharing. My previous post is probably a reaction to that.
It’s also a reaction to the fact that the pandemic is still happening.
This whole situation has been wearing on me so much. I’m just tired. I want to be able to do things again. I want to see my family. I want to spend time with friends.
I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter, tweeting with lots of people and having fun. It’s not the same as seeing people in person, but it at least felt like being with others. I have grown to really like and care about many people there. It turns out, though, that Twitter is not a substitute for real interpersonal relationships.
Yesterday I learned that someone I thought I was close with actually views me as more of an acquaintance, and doesn’t want to talk with me when they are feeling low. I spent much of the day crying and hating myself, both for misunderstanding the relationship and for not being a person they would want to be close with. I felt stupid, and now I am questioning all relationships that started on social media. Do people there just tolerate me? Am I annoying and draining to be around? Am I only interesting for my story ideas, but not as a person?
The whole ordeal has cast my general coronavirus malaise in sharper relief. What is the point of anything, really? Why do I bother getting out of bed? I can’t go anywhere or do anything substantial. I just sit around at home watching TV, reading stuff, rearranging my belongings, and, apparently, interacting with people who don’t even like me that much.
I’m trying to keep myself from doing too much black-and-white thinking. I know there are people who do genuinely like me. When yesterday happened I decided to log out of Twitter entirely for a while, because seeing the person being mentioned by so many of my other “friends” (???) and knowing I wasn’t supposed to interact with them sounded like torture. My group of actual friends, from the Tumblr/Night Vale days, friends who I have met in person, whose real names and addresses I know, and who I’ve had real conversations with, moved from a group Twitter chat to Discord so we could all still talk. Another friend I’ve grown close with through private chatting added me on Discord as well. I don’t want to diminish the truth that I do have friends, and that they are extremely valuable and important. I don’t want to let my grief over losing something I never had blind me to what I do have.
I have been thinking (as I obsess/ruminate about this situation) that Twitter makes it far too easy for me to enter into parasocial relationships. It looks like a chat room, and it feels like people are talking to and sharing things with me, but that’s not really what’s happening. They may not be thinking about me as their audience at all. They’re following different people than I’m following; different people are following them than are following me; their timeline is different from mine; they feel close to different people than I feel close to. They may feel they are only talking to their friends, and they may feel that everyone gets that, and that everyone knows if they are friends or not. I may be doing the same thing. I may be making people I don’t feel close to feel like they’re close to me by posting about my life.
I just need to take a step back, I think, and somehow separate conversations that happen on Twitter from conversations that take place privately between me and someone else, because the latter are the ones that actually indicate closeness. Trouble is, I’m not sure I can make the distinction very easily, due to the nature of the platform.
I am thinking very seriously about leaving Twitter entirely and just going back to Tumblr, where I didn’t feel like I was friends with someone until we had actually chatted privately.
This post was originally going to be me being extremely emo, talking about how everything is pointless and how I wish I could either be sleeping or dead instead of living through these times, but instead I apparently decided to try to problem-solve. Hilarious how that works.
I do feel better. I took a break from composing this post and gave a few other people my Discord name, and a few have added me, and that’s heartening.
Now I just need to decide if I really am leaving Twitter, and if so, what I want to do about my accounts.