Several years ago, Wil signed up with this thing called Twitter. He joined it on the third day of its release at the encouragement of our friend, Sean Bonner. Sean could tell it was going to change the world, and he was right.
The world became a smaller place thanks to Twitter. Soon, Wil was in touch with friends from all over the world on a daily basis and got to meet new people along the way. Wil loved saying funny things or making up jokes to post there and after a few years, it seemed like a fun thing to do so I joined it as well.
In the four years since I joined Twitter I learned a lot. I discovered a whole community of people I had never met before but had a shared interest in the same things I loved. I made friends in real life with many people I had only interacted with online, and that was really cool. I told silly jokes and shared the joy I found in the little things in life. Then for the first time back in April, I discovered a whole other community of people I would never have around me in real life because they were pretty terrible. It was at that time that I had to use the mute and/or block feature and had to report dozens and dozens of accounts. In the years before then, I think I had muted maybe a handful of people. That was really a bummer for me, but I tried to just focus on the fun of it all and stayed on it. I also liked to be on Twitter to read about important news events or to have discussions with sensible people about things that mattered to me; working with charities, my love of rescue animals, women’s health, being a mom, a wife, etc. I continued to focus on the positive, even ending 2015 by asking people to tell me about awesome stuff that happened to them that year, and getting back hundreds of wonderful responses. I loved that and tried to hold onto that in staying on the social media site.
In real life, I stand up for myself. If someone says or does something to me or someone around me, I do something about it. As my online presence grew, there were people who don’t follow me showing up to say something horrible about me, my husband, or my children. Yes, they can be muted, blocked, or reported, and I was doing that all the time, every day. Sometimes I responded because like I said, in real life I stand up for myself so occasionally, I will do that online. But after a while, it’s like trying to smile and have a pleasant conversation with a kind person in a room full of people screaming hateful things in your face. You can ignore it but eventually, it just isn’t worth even talking at all and you just have to walk out of that room to protect yourself.
I chose to be on Twitter. I am not a celebrity. I am a middle-aged woman who’s a retired hairdresser who now runs a non-profit, is on the Board of Directors at Pasadena Humane Society, has a house FULL of rescue animals, and has two wonderful boys. I do not have a job I need to promote, nor am I looking for a job to take on. I have a full life with an amazing husband and family, wonderful friends, and a successful business I run. If something I choose to do on the side isn’t fun, I need to walk away from it because my free time is pretty scarce. Twitter used to be the fun thing I did on the side, and for the most part, it just isn’t fun anymore, so I need to walk away from it and that’s okay.
I deleted my Twitter account last night and immediately felt relieved. I will miss the tweety buddies who were awesome that I don’t know in real life. I will continue to stay in touch with my friends around the world by phone or by my private Facebook account. Instagram has been fun so far so I’m keeping that for now, but when it isn’t fun anymore, that will go too. I like having a blog but who knows if I’ll keep this around. We’ll see. Life is what we make of it. I want my life to be filled with happiness, surrounded by people I love. It doesn’t need to be about awful people having access to me online and labeling it as “freedom of speech” which is why I removed that from my life. We don’t know how long we have on this Earth so I’d like to maximize my time with things that are positive. I think that is time well spent.