I first signed up for Twitter in 2012 and immediately fell in love with the platform. As someone who has always been interested in writing, Twitter was a great place for me to explore voicing my opinions, and do it efficiently (due to the limited character count).
Originally I saw it as a great place for comedy, but quickly realised my writing wasn’t very funny. This resulted in me slowly building my confidence talking about more cultural topics.
I never saw substantial growth in my Twitter following, but always remained very vocal and quick to jump on hot topics. Partially because I’d see a sudden spike in my views whenever talking about anything controversial, and this excited me.
Originally, I’d write about gaming topics, but over the 7 years using the platform I ended up being vocal about pretty much anything that pissed me off (because it would result in me getting upwards of 10,000 views at a time).
This is where my problem with Twitter began.
In case you don’t understand how Twitter works, let me quickly educate you; the more you engage with a topic, the more of this topic it will show you.
Meaning, every time I went on Twitter, got annoyed by a topic, and decided to either talk about it or engage with the topic in any form; Twitter saw this as me enjoying the content.
So, over the last 7 years my Twitter timeline has gone from being things I’m actually interested in, to things that generally upset or annoy me.
If I feel personally attacked by a tweet, I’ll usually engage with it (either replying or clicking on the tweet to read the replies etc). Anytime someone voices political beliefs I disagree with, I’ll engage. When I see a photo that annoys me, I’ll engage.
Nobody who I follow on Twitter ever says these things that annoy me, usually Twitter just recommends the tweet because it thinks I’m interested in it.
Essentially, through my own unintentional doing, I’ve turned my Twitter into a scrapbook of everything that makes me depressed or angry.
Social media’s goal is to keep us engaged. When I first started, it was me choosing what kind of content interested me (gaming, music, movies, etc); whereas now Twitter decides what content I will engage with (politics, relationship advice, cultural topics).
Twitter’s system isn’t human, so doesn’t understand what topics are upsetting. If upsetting or depressing the user results in them staying on the platform, the system will simply bully you into that state (as it has me).
Writing has always been a way for me to cope with my mental health issues; it’s strange to see one of my favourite places to write become somewhere that’s detrimental to my well-being.