I’ve lived on Twitter for a few years now, and mean just that. When you follow me, it is good and bad: mental health issues, shouting at stupidity… all there, for the world to see. Yesterday, I played a game with a high follower account and came back today to disappointment. I’d really hoped the person running it would have reached out to me and tried some conversation, but nope. So, I blocked them.
Wow, that’s a bit harsh, I hear some of you cry. Yup, that’s me. I am too old for this shit, and know enough about how the AI followers work to know if you block the right ones, nobody ever comes calling again. I used to worry about my slow drop in followers, that very few new people ever followed me until it became apparent that there was a damn good reason for it. Being able to tell the difference between a robot follower and a real one has had both advantages and pitfalls.
However, you ‘real people’ can often be pretty pesky and problematic. Robots don’t get annoyed in quite the same way, though it has to be said they are learning fast. All the real people who got the big heave-ho over the years were removed for a reason. It’s been a while since I’ve done this, and memories appear to be getting shorter all the time, so it’s probably time there was a list…
- You Unfollowed me and hoped I wouldn’t notice: this implies two things. One, we were conversational before and now you’ve got fed up with that. Two, I did something to piss you off, but not quite enough for you to want to lose the benefit of me in your follower numbers, and you don’t think people look or care about those things anyway. WRONG ON BOTH COUNTS. I’m almost obsessive with my follower watching. It’s a hobby now. I will ALWAYS notice this. ALWAYS.
- You stopped being someone I felt comfortable with: this one is a bit tricky. There are those of you out there who somehow believe I am your property, which I get, but that’s not true. Both sexes do love to just like everything and never engage, when there’s no clear indicator of their status with the person they are reading. I’ve been creeped out by as many women as men, over the years, to be fair. It’s not hard to just be a friend online. Really, it’s not.
When I watch you have a meltdown in your own timeline as to why I’ve unfollowed you, then that says to me I made the right decision, because I’ve been in situations where the next step in that game is someone making anonymous accounts and threatening my safety. When you’ve been stalked before, you know the signs. If I start feeling uncomfortable with your attention and regard? I’m done.
- I saw you treat someone else badly: this is Social media and you really think I wouldn’t notice?
- You’ve become obsessed with being angry: this was me, a few years ago, and listening to someone else reminds me just how negative and destructive I was back then is not helpful for recovery. It’s toxic. I don’t need that in my life any more, and if I’m going to recover, it needs to be removed. That does mean that those of you who constantly complain about how awful anything is you don’t like are already on mute…
- You make excessive reference to sex and drugs: I get how many of you smoke weed, especially now. It makes a lot of sense. My lungs are so shoddy that this has the potential to kill me should it happen, so people going on about how great it is can get a bit stressful. I need to learn to be more tolerant of this online and I’m working on it. Do sex somewhere else than on the Internet, stop sexualising computer game characters and shoving them in my feed. That’s the stuff you do in private.
- You turned out to be a robot: or, in the case of yesterday’s incident, you turned out to be a human being just out for the numbers and not for the joy of engaging in social interaction, however difficult and social that might end up being.
I didn’t have to write any of this, of course. What I do on my timeline is my business and nobody else’s. However, of later, as I’ve watched other people claim to take ownership of what I am and what that means, it is useful to stick a flag in the ground. I don’t use Twitter the same way you do, and I sure as fuck don’t take kindly to people who think that somehow, their way is the right one.
That’s not how any of this works.