Shackled to Twitter

Jaap Arriens / Sipa USA / Sipa via AP Images

Most of us do a lot of boring, draining, annoying stuff for work. Processing paperwork. Crunching numbers. Making small talk with the narcissistic boss who can’t remember our name. For Vice, politics and culture writer Eve Peyser writes a hilarious account of the way her time using Twitter helped build her writing career before it started sucking the life out of her. Social media is a necessary burden for many writers, but some reach a tipping point where the professional returns no longer outweigh the psychological costs of posting constantly and preoccupying yourself with tweets’ performance. RT her story if you want.

As 2018 swings into full gear, my life neatens up and I can no longer ignore the cracks in my personal brand. I have a full-time job and I am in a serious long-term relationship with an amazing man whose love and companionship nourishes me in ways the affirmation of thousands of strangers never could. I hate Twitter. I have 79,000 followers and I still fucking hate it. I also still use it constantly. My timeline is a stream of infinite negativity, of horrific news, and everybody yelling at one another, and maybe I’m just getting older, but suddenly I am exhausted by all the cyber-rage. Every day online feels like Gamergate. The internet is angrier and more savage than it’s ever been, and it’s not safe to use Twitter as loosely as I once did. For the first time in years, my impulse to inform the world of all my inane passing thoughts and feelings has fizzled out. Moreover, I am gripped with fear that an amorphous Twitter beast will punish me for all the crazy things I’ve publicly shared over the years, that all my meanest and most callous moments will come back to bite me in the ass.

I don’t know who I am and I feel shame over the infinite ways I’ve misrepresented myself to an audience of cruel strangers. I oscillate between wanting to disappear and lapping up the dregs of pleasure I can’t help but take from having a viral tweet.

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