Listen, we need to talk. I don’t want you to get all freaked out, but I have a few things that I’ve been meaning to say to you, so I’m just going to say them, and I’d appreciate it if you’d just listen, m’kay?
I still remember the first time I saw you. It was a few years ago, when I was redesigning my blog. You were hanging around in the sidebar on Heather’s site, all inconspicuous, no “Twitter” label or anything, and I thought to myself, “Wow, what a cool way to add some easily update-able content to my blog!” I dug around her source code, found out what you were, created an account, installed you in my sidebar, and began firing off 140-character gems that, in my humble opinion, changed the Internet and made the world a better place.
And I liked our relationship. You became the delivery method for me to share the many scintillating thoughts that flash through my mind throughout the day — thoughts of which my audience had been so woefully deprived before you came along. Life was good.
Then you started to change. Before I knew it, you were everywhere … and suddenly people were DM-ing and @-ing, and I was all, “… tha fuck?”
Then came the emphasis on the Following and the Unfollowing. And I admit it: I wanted — ok, WANT — lots of Followers. I mean, listen: If I wasn’t interested in doing this for an audience, I’d just write 140-character Post-It notes and stick them to the wall in front of me.
But, before I knew it, our low-maintenance love affair began getting more complicated. Suddenly, there were people who felt that if they followed me, I was obligated to follow them back. Others felt that if they sent an @ reply to one of my many hilarious and/or though-provoking witticisms, they deserved to be publicly acknowledged.
And don’t even get me started on the whole #FF thing. Does it please me when someone shows me love by lumping me in with their #FF suggestions? Of course. But you know what? I don’t think I’ve ever started following someone just because someone else regurgitated a list of Twitter handles at me and, quite honestly, I don’t know that I’ve actually picked up more than a handful of new followers by way of having my Twitter handle regurgitated elsewhere.
Which isn’t to say that I don’t fully support everyone’s right to keep on #FF-ing their #FF-ing brains out — and, by all means, please keep telling everyone you know to follow me — but, for my part, I’m probably going to continue sitting on the sidelines as pertains to that particular phenomenon.
Here’s the thing, Twitter: I already have a job. And while I take my blogging pursuits quite seriously — indeed, perhaps more seriously than my job (shhh; don’t tell my employer I said that) — I do all of this primarily because I enjoy writing. Actually, that’s not entirely true; sometimes, I fucking hate writing … but I generally like the final result, and it is something I feel compelled to do, so I do it. Most of all, though, I really enjoy the part where I get to (hopefully) entertain people.
I will gladly confess that I love it when people respond to my tweets, just as I love it when people leave comments on my blog. Writing is lonely. There’s never any applause. I thrive on the feedback my readers leave me. Rest assured, I read and appreciate every single tweet and every single comment. To me, these things are the digital equivalent of applause (or booing and hissing).
I know there are other bloggers out there who respond to every single tweet and every single comment left on their blogs, and I admire them for that, but, as someone who can barely find time in my day to eat, sleep and bathe, let alone write an occasional blog post or tweet, I just can’t give you that kind of commitment. I have commitment issues, is what it comes down to.
What I am comfortable promising you is that I will continue to write. Hopefully, that’s enough.
I guess what I’m saying, Twitter, is: Let’s just be friends.