Twitter is killing my braincells. I can feel them going, flash-frying themselves like mental popcorn. We know very little about the long-term effects of social media on our puny brains, but I guarantee you, it isn’t good.
It has wormed its way into my life and made sure that my every waking moment is filled with endless updates from people saying things like “Guys we need to talk about…” and “You had one job…” and “10 things I hate about you…” and “Emergency cute…” and the awful nonsense of #amwriting.
I have done what I can to stop the tide. I have erased Twitter from my phone. I have turned off all notifications. And yet even now, Tweetdeck is open, and I probably won’t be able to get to the end of this sentence before I open it and see if
Where was I? Right. Twitter. And Facebook, and Pinterest, and all the zillion social networks that all do pretty much the same thing. They’ve taken over my life. I don’t blame them. They’re incredibly sleek and sophisticated machines, digital candy, designed to suck you in. For spreading information quickly, there’s never been anything quite like them.
Even if I chose to shut them out of my life completely, even if I erased all my accounts, I’d still be screwed because Twitter is where the conversation happens. And if you’re a writer, like me, and you aren’t in the conversation, you may as well not exist.
None of this is helped by the fact that I really and truly suck at social media.
I can write thousands of words a day, some of them in the right order. I can carve on a snowboard. I cook a mean chicken curry. But I cannot express myself, using 140 characters or less, in a manner sufficient to garner followers and RTs. I have been on Twitter four years, and I have just over 700 followers. At this rate, if I wish to reach Justin Bieber levels of followers, it’ll take me 3,222,857 years. I don’t have that kind of time.
Don’t get me wrong, I value all of them — especially you, @kassafurniture. God knows where I’d be without you.
Thing is, I’m fed up with it. I’ve had it with Twitter and Facebook sucking away my braincells and giving nothing back. At the moment, it’s a timesink, a diversion — and an annoying one at that. The tipping point came yesterday when I realised I’d spent the past hour and a half following people on Twitter. Just following them, seeing who they were retweeting, then following those people. It was at the moment when I followed Ikea’s Twitter account for its Grimsby store that I realised I had to do something.
I would put Twitter to work for me. I would make it my bitch.
Starting today, I’m going to own Twitter. I am going to use it to win friends and influence people. I’m going to Be An Effective Communicator. Oh, and Facebook — don’t think I’ve forgotten you, you little twerp. I’m comin’ for ya.
Obviously, it’s just the start. I’ll expand and develop the research as I learn more about what works and what doesn’t, like a military commander figuring out that troop morale increases if I don’t use them as catapult ammo…