For the past two weeks, I’ve kept my distance from Tumblr and Twitter. A few things I realized while away:
Twitter is my all-purpose outlet for restlessness. In its absence, that restlessness expressed itself in other ways. Sometimes I would just sit there, bouncing among the few lively icons left on my phone’s home screen: email, Instagram, app updates; repeat. Once all of those came up empty for the third time, I’d realize what I was doing and just try to be still. It would then become clear that my mind was preoccupied below the surface, or it was time to get up and take care of something on the periphery of my awareness. I started to wonder what I lose by always catching restlessness in dense tangles of other people’s words.
The thought of a break made me angry; that’s how I knew it was important.
I missed a lot of news, but the important things still made their way to me in conversation. Always being the first to hear about everything is less important to me than I thought. When people asked me if I’d heard news and I was able to say “No, tell me about it!”—that felt good. Better, even. How many openings to conversation have I closed by declaring cursory knowledge of a headline?
And finally: as I started writing this post, I decided to revisit one I wrote back in 2008 titled “Two Weeks of Twitter.” I’d just joined the site, and was trying to wrap my head around it. “I kind of love Twitter,” I wrote—
It’s still uncluttered, and people are still pretty enthusiastic about it. The intentionality may make me somewhat suspicious, but it can also be charming. I like knowing what people want me to know, because the wanting is a window in itself.
Twitter is busier now, but I still love it. Even more than knowing what people want me to know, though, I like being able to read between the lines. To hold on to that, I need to keep reading the lines themselves. So I think I’ll return, but less rigidly this time. I want to remember that restlessness is potent.
- akshatrathi said: I can, like many others, relate to every word you’ve written. Restlessness should be exploited, and if not careful Twitter kills it.
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