Twitter isn't real
It is traditional, when going off a social media platform, to announce one’s departure. Departure and return, for as we all know, these are pauses, not clean breaks.
The unrealness of Twitter, for me, is less about its failure to properly replicate the socioeconomics and general demographics of the world at large. Twitter doesn’t do that, but frankly nor does the daycare-parents population, and that about sums up who outside my household I see on a regular basis.
No, it’s more about the way Twitter makes you feel like you’re doing something when you’re not. You think you’re working but you’re posting. You think you’re socializing but you’re interacting with other posters. It’s not that real things don’t emerge from this—I too have found work and made friends through the site—but the ratio of time sunk to real things happening suggests that I, at least, am fooling myself if I think I’m there intentionally and not just as some sort of tic.
Or maybe I log on for the validation of having however many thousands of followers, prepared to hear (if they haven’t muted me) my daily witticisms, such as they are. I remember seeing a tweet about how Twitter is for jokes from people who could never make it as professional comedians and, harsh but fair. I find myself turning into a brand, with actual honest-to-goodness facts about myself (opinions about Toronto road safety, a preference for almond croissants) becoming these quirky traits that distinguish my account a little but not all that much from whichever pool of writer-type women with babies and PhDs, living in cities that aren’t New York.
I’m not promoting anything. The thing where a big-deal writer can AFFORD to eschew social media but the lowly must hustle? I am on maternity leave. I have not written a new book (but would like to!), and selling an additional copy here and there of the 2017 one is low on my list of priorities. I see people tweeting out these epiphanies about white women discourse, about privilege and antisemitism, about comedy and problematic faves, as if these are their original thoughts, and want to be like, this is all in my book, but I know that this adds nothing so I for the most part restrain myself. Who’s to say I was first at these, either? I only learned about Catherine MacKinnon’s white-ladies essay after writing probably several of my own, so.
Our dishwasher broke and the new one does not arrive for another month. To be present for my family and have the occasional clean dish means something really did have to go. If that means not being able to tweet out this newsletter, so be it.