There are few experiences that force me to confront the aspect of my personality that is forever 11 years old and painfully awkward than that of being on Twitter. There are so many people who are good at Being Online — people who are invariably witty, insightful, and interesting — that they have made careers out of it, or have used the platform to significantly boost their visibility, whether just for fun or in such a way as to enrich their livelihoods and create new opportunities for themselves. (The same goes for YouTube, but I'm so far removed from even attempting to create #content there that I'm not even going to bother with talking about it here.)
"Twitter success" is a wildly unfamiliar experience for me. I have discovered over something like five or six years of regular Twitter use that I am, at best, a pretty boring content creator on that platform. I can see what makes for the Good Content; I can see the traits and skills that others with much wider audiences have that I do not. I can see it, but I can't replicate it. Ultimately, it's fine. My real-life life is good: I have a family, I have friends, I have a job I enjoy most of the time.
And yet, frustratingly, my Twitter ham-fistedness touches a nerve. It exploits the weaker part of my ego — the needy part that desperately wants other people to think I'm funny and interesting and cool. It's the part that can never get enough praise. Basically, it's the part that makes adolescence the vortex of self-conscious agony that it often is. It's the part we're expected to outgrow and overcome with age and experience.
That's just it, though: it never goes away. Overcoming the bottomless pit of attention-seeking neediness is an ongoing process — it's that parable about the wolf you feed and the one you don't. And Twitter is tailor made for us feed the one you probably shouldn't.
Lest I go full edgelord with this, it's important to note that Twitter is also, or at least it can be and often is, just silly, inconsequential fun — but also, a place for people with like interests to connect and share their work and ideas.
It just so happens I'm not the best at it.
...in which I reflected on an ongoing professional opportunity.
I discovered this two-line jam among my notes and thought it worth sharing:
The ant knows not that its frantic scrambles are part and parcel of a larger effort
The bird knows not that its flight is part of an expansive scenery