I have a twitter account, but some of you may have noticed that I only use it to read, I don’t post. I’ve tried to get into it a few times but every time I do I just get a weird, squiggly feeling and stop. It’s not that I don’t like sharing – I love sharing. I am quite likely an over-sharer. I have blogged for many years, I post on FaceBook daily, I belong to various forums where we talk about just about everything under the sun. So what’s the issue? I think for me it comes down to the publicity. Twitter is this big publicised machine and every time I try posting there I just imagine it popping up on all these random peoples’ computer screens. And why would random strangers care? Unless it was funny, and while I am occasionally witty right now my life is more about yogurt on walls than honing a rapier wit about social topics. Everything I read about twitter is about how to promote yourself. I don’t want to promote myself. I am far more comfortable sitting quietly in the corner, watching. I hate being in the center of the room.
As a teenager I would blog about everything on my mind, it was the ultimate brain-dump. Blogging was new, the community was small, and in a way it felt like you knew everyone. It was to be both an experiment in new technology as well as a kind of writing therapy. As I got older I realized how foolish it was to throw all my thoughts out there like that, to rant and cry and moan about all the things that a teenager rants and cries about. (I’m sure some of it was stunningly thoughtful and deep. Most of it, however, was not.) I realized that on the internet that stuff doesn’t just go away, it gets saved and passed around and talked about in public and private. I became more thoughtful of other people, and more thoughtful of myself too. I’ve become a lot more protective of my words and thoughts.
But I feel like now I’ve swung too far… that I’m afraid of having a public opinion. Maybe afraid is too strong a word…. maybe it’s just that I don’t have the time or energy to endlessly debate things. Maybe I’ve seen too much negativity and resentment and anger. FaceBook doesn’t help matters at all. I am so tired of seeing not-funny snarky images, “It’s my right to have my opinion and say whatever I want” posts, and long comment chains of seethingly angry people who don’t even read the damn facts before jumping into the debate. I usually don’t even bother anymore. It’s become a cacophony of opinions and I just want to shut my ears. I’m going to have to start unfriending/unsubscribing people; my time is limited and I get angry that I spend any of it feeling pissed off for 5 minutes about something someone posted.
Yes, I have changed – but so has the online world. As addicted as I still am (my phone is usually in my hand, pulling up facebook and sending emails back and forth with friends) a part of me really wants to step away from it all. Or rather, to use it as the tool it was meant to be, and stop being sucked in by all the rest of it. I love being able to post photos of my kids so that my relatives can get a closer look at our lives from so far away. I love that I can hold conversations with my best friends any time of day or night. I love that I can look up news and information as I need it. I really don’t like feeling like I need to avoid posting anything of substance because of the inevitable crankiness and debate. (Not everything in life needs to be a debate!)
Blogging used to be a huge source of relief and healing for me. Obviously this particular blog has changed because my life situation has changed, and I am content with that – I want and need a place to document my children’s lives, to share with friends and family and to save for posterity. Documenting this stage is very important to me. But at the same time I have lost my outlet. I no longer really have a place to think out loud – and in this online world I don’t know that I will ever feel fully comfortable thinking outloud in a public place anyways.