Keeping up with the @joneses

Taking a 14-day social media break while I was on vacation was something I had trepidation about.

It was pushing my FOMO, cutting off cold turkey a decade (!) of connection, interaction, addiction, and habit.

I expected some anxiety. The twitch, of course. What I did not forsee was … nothing. I did not miss it at all. I stepped away from the stream and the noise stopped.

I had a few times of desire to post and share. But to my chagrin, those were all about putting things out into the world, not about taking anything in.

Not “connecting” or “checking in” or any of the other justifications and rationalisations we give. No, I thought about reporting in. Of posting pictures or thoughts or “I told you so”s.  But at no point did I crave input.

I craved that fix that tells my monkey brain that someone cares.

Likes and hearts and retweets. If I have a funny thought and don’t hashtag it, did it happen? Why am I watching this film if I’m not going to tweet about loving or hating it?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is live tweeting, does it make a sound?

I initially joined twitter to promote the podcast and talk about comics. This was the time of the new 52 relaunch at D.C. and there was something new and worth discussion every week, it seemed.

My former co hosts mentioned to me recently that twitter does essentially nothing to move traffic to the podcast and hasn’t in years. Folks seem to follow them on twitter after becoming listeners to the show, or are generally unlikely to listen.

In the last year or so of doing the podcast, twitter was a great vehicle to connect with potential guests, but not potential listeners.

My own follower count has remained fairly static the past year as I lessened the new voices I added to my feed. I have come to greatly prefer more engagement with a small group than trying to edge a pointless number along.

Since my follower count will only depress me, better I ignore it completely.

I come across negative, hateful, or toxic accounts and see they have 10 or 20 times more followers. It feeds a frustration and depression that the world truly wants that vileness instead of creation and positivity.

Analytics may be the worst and best part. It gave another metric to negatively compare myself to others, but it also gave me a realistic view of engagement.

The average tweet was only seen by about 10% of my followers. The other 90% either don’t engage, go online rarely, or have me muted.


I don’t think of myself as a narcissistic person. Quite the opposite, I tend to devalue my opinion in the eyes of others.

And yet there was an impulse. A twitch.

To spread my moments, not to celebrate those of others.

Sending with only an occasional passing receiving.

So what now?

At the end of my break I find myself wondering what there is to go back to. I do know that fewer people found my blog while I was away from tweeting links.

A lot to consider. A lot to ponder

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