In a previous post I described why I quit Facebook, and the addictive grip these mediums of social media can have on some people like me. When I decided to re-start Twitter, I really didn’t want to fall into the same traps that I did with Facebook.
The result was this Twitter Usage Manifesto:
- Thou shalt tweet with an open heart and in the spirit of unconditional giving.
- Thou shalt only follow people who you are genuinely interested in following.
- Thou shalt tweet only things that you genuinely think will be of interest to others.
1) Thou shalt tweet with an open heart and in the spirit of unconditional giving.
I wrote in the last post about the suffering that results from dependency in relationships. I think a similar thing can result with social media.
A lot of the time people post things because they want people to acknowledge their post in some way, whether this be through a ‘like’ or a comment.
100 likes? You feel amazing! No one ‘likes’ your post? You feel sad and lonely.
Once you get into this cycle, whether consciously or unconsciously, social media becomes a game of manipulated posts, photos and tweets that are carefully engineered to ensure that you get the acknowledgement that you think you need: “This photo will get me more likes!” “This post is funny, people will ‘like’ it!”.
Once this happens you no longer post things that truly represent you. You are posting things that you hope other people will pay attention to. This attention becomes your energy source and without it you feel incomplete. It’s not a great place to be in. These ups and downs are partly the reason for social media addiction.
Therefore I wanted to approach Twitter differently. I thought that if I tweeted in the spirit of unconditional giving, I would be simply sharing what I wrote about without expecting anything in return. If no one reads my blog, that is absolutely fine. If someone does, cool. It’s just out there for people who are meant to read it, to read it.
If I am unattached to the outcome, there is no need to obsessively check back continuously whether someone has ‘liked’ my posts. I just let it be. I think this is a much more peaceful place to be in.
2) Thou shalt only follow people who you are genuinely interested in following.
I know that some people follow others just to make them follow them back. Or follow people because they feel they have to, whether it be because of a) social obligation b) they feel they ‘should’ (e.g. “I’m a scientist so I really should follow the best scientists”).
Each to their own in this regard, but given that I have made a commitment to be as honest to myself as I can, I thought that the reasons stated above were not in line with whom I wanted to be. So I’ve decided that I will only follow people who I am genuinely interested in.
This did initially result it a Twitter cull of people I was following for the wrong reasons. But now I look at my feed and only see posts that pique my interest. It’s nice.
3) Thou shalt tweet only things that thou genuinely think will be of interest to others.
I didn’t want the tweets to serve the same function as photos/posts often do on Facebook. On Facebook, I feel that people are often posting things that are strategically there to mold a public image, instead of posting things in the spirit of true sharing.
If I find something interesting, that’s great. However, I don’t see any reason to post it publically unless I genuinely think other people will think it’s interesting. If I post it nonetheless, I feel like it’s simply saying, “Look what I like! This is who I am!”. This is all fine, but it isn’t in line with Manifesto Point 1: Unconditional Giving, so I am choosing not to do this.
So that’s the manifesto. Since re-starting Twitter I have felt the urge to dwell from these points (and perhaps have broken them), but I am hoping that I can learn to use social media as an effective tool. I hope to be in control of social media, rather than allowing social media to control me.