Ok, so that’s not entirely true. It would be more accurate to say that I have a love hate relationship with it. It’s great when people are being funny or you’re chatting with your buddies or when you’re able to help someone solve a problem, but far too often it’s filled with so much garbage. People randomly tweeting their location check-in from the Sub Shack or that they just beat somebody at some game or other as if anyone who isn’t them gives a shit. Everything is the biggest outrage in world history, at least for four or five minutes until the next biggest outrage in world history comes along. People being shamed and insulted for not sharing the mob’s opinion about said outrage even if their reasons for not doing so are decently thought out. Most of the people who follow you are either fake or brands whose algorithm followed you because you happened to use a keyword it recognizes. Donald Trump.
But worse than all of that is how impersonal, fleeting and disposable everything becomes. Honestly, I really don’t like what it does to my brain. I see something, momentarily process it, and then it’s gone. Like really gone. Have you ever been scrolling through the timeline, laughed uproariously at something, moved along and then a minute later had someone ask you what’s so funny only to realize that you don’t know? That’s a weird feeling. Unsettling, even. And it’s happened to me a bunch of times. Carin too. Twitter brain, we call it. At least we’re aware of it and can call it something as we snap back to reality. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but it seems as though plenty of people can’t. We’re all so long on information and short on attention span that almost nothing can make a true, lasting impact anymore. Yeah it’s technically on the internet forever once it’s spoken, but unless you’re really looking for it, after a few minutes or maybe days if you’re lucky it might as well not exist.
And that brings me back, I think, to why I started writing this in the first place. Twitter, at least as far as I’m concerned, has slowly started to fuck up the blog. In the old days I would open a blank page, say something about how dumb it is that you need a pair of scissors to open a package of new scissors, hit publish and then wait for the reaction. Remember Matt and his door? That thing had an absurd number of comments on it before they were stolen from us. Nowadays, I’m not sure a post like that would exist. Most likely, it would get caught up in the stupid is this a post or a tweet internal debate, become a tweet because there aren’t enough words to bother making it a post and then be done with instead of becoming the legend it did. Ditto this, which although it’s kind of terrible I still get asked to bring back now and then. No doubt it would be a series of useless tweets were I to do it today.
It’s been a slow process like I said, but lately I’ve found myself sharing a lot more things on Twitter than end up going here, and that’s dumb. What’s wrong with just saying I like this, you should listen to it or I hate this because it sucks and leaving it at that? Nothing, I’m realizing. I should have always known this because I have the benefit of statistics, but somewhere along the way I started to get a little lost.
The statistics in question, in case it isn’t obvious, are the site statistics. On a daily basis, they tell me two important things. One is that almost without exception, the most popular page on our entire website is the main page, the one where all of the newest posts live. The second is that in spite of the hundreds of followers Carin and I each have, Twitter hasn’t done shit for this place. Have people found the blog because of Twitter? Sure they have, and I appreciate those people. But most of the time I can count our social media traffic on my fingers, and I think it’s time I get the message. People clearly want to hear what we have to say, even if it’s brief enough to lazily put in a tweet. They did before and they do now. Nobody hits the front page of your website and then clicks older posts five or ten times because they don’t want to read what’s there or think that you suck. So why am I putting so much out on Twitter where it’s doing us and our visitors no good? Why don’t I go back to putting it here where I can control it, there’s an easily searchable record of it and it benefits everyone who wants to find it?
From now on, I’m going to do my best to get back to doing that. With a few obvious exceptions (local power outages, road closures), if it’s good enough for Twitter, it’s good enough for the damn Vomit Comet. I used to treat Twitter as part notepad for the blog and part scaled up MSN Messenger. That worked pretty well, when I let it. It’s time to untrain my Twitter brain and let it work again.