Monday, 13 June 2011

On being needy

I think I use Twitter wrong.

Not necessarily in the sense that I don't know how to put words in it. However, I think I've lost sight of its purpose. Back in the day (4th February 2007, to be precise) when I was - for once in my online life - a reasonably early adopter of Twitter, it was a very different place. The chief reason is that there were no @replies.

This was frankly dashed inconvenient and is probably the reason why they were introduced. But it's made me start to use it as if it were a giant instant messenger conversation. And that's a problem, for me at least.

I have used IM a lot in my time. It is undeniably a very useful thing and there are a number of things happening in my life currently that make it clear that I will probably use it again. However, I think along very set lines, and IM presents challenges to this. I would sign in of an evening with a view to talking to maybe one or two specific people and end up talking to five or six. None of this is a problem insofar as they were all people I enjoyed speaking to. Why else would I have them as IM contacts? However, I always felt I needed to be as instant as the Instant in the title and this would ultimately stress me out. So in the last year or so I've pretty much phased it out altogether.

This brings me to Twitter. I love Twitter. I'm good at Twitter - I've done nearly 17,000 tweets in the last 4 and a bit years and my 450-odd followers will surely all vouch for the fact that 16,500 of them have been wet-your-pants hilarious. By no means is this one of those tiresome "I'm going to have to give up on Twitter for my own good" posts, because I'm not. What it is, rather, is my trying to figure out a more sane and sensible way to use it where I'm not in what I'm essentially thinking of as a billion-person IM conversation, where I will inevitably end up feeling rejected.

Because I do. I know. It's completely insane. And I know it's completely insane. But it doesn't stop me feeling it, even if it's only initially. But my brain is frustratingly like a 1980s quiz show host at times and will stubbornly refuse to take anything but my first answer.

For a number of reasons which are really too personal to go into, in the last 18 months I've become a little preoccupied with loss. My fear of loss now outstrips virtually everything else in my canon of manias. What I can feel happening whenever I get near Twitter these days is the slow drip-drip-drip of an approaching episode. With every tweet where I feel I'm putting myself out there comes the risk of feeling like I've been abandoned, that people have gotten wise to me, that I'll be left on my own.

Again, I can see that this is fundamentally unwell thinking, not least as it's built on a foundation of self-loathing which is really so old hat now that frankly I'm wondering if perhaps it's outstayed its welcome. But again, it's still there. Honestly, it feels like my brain is mocking me. Because it is all in my head in this case: nothing that anyone has done could possibly have precipitated this dazzling white-knuckle ride.

I'm putting this here rather than anything else because I'm worried that I'm probably starting to pester people - and not just any old people, but my closest friends - almost in the way a toddler prods and tugs at their parent's leg in order to get some kind, any kind, of reaction. So to anyone reading who has borne the brunt of this infuriating neediness, I'm sorry and I'm trying to stop. Well, no, not stop, but strike a better balance. Also, it may lead to recommendations for the best Twitter client for me to use, where I'd feel like I am doing some serious microblogging, rather than just fishing for conversation.

I'm a good person. I'm kind and honest, thoughtful and trustworthy. I'm pretty cool to know, I think. I guess it's just a question of convincing what may well be my last actual remaining doubter - my own brain - of that.

2 comments:

5olly said...

i've cut off my beard, dismantled my barn and re-beaned my donkey. if you give up, i will too.

dotmund said...

I'm Amish.

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