28 Days ago I gave up on Twitter and left it not knowing if I was to return or not. This wasn’t some type of experiment, a protest or my way of ignoring individuals who I didn’t want to connect with; this was me trying to figure out what value Twitter provides me and if it had a place in my life any more.
Sparked by an incident involving a banana, hockey and the fury of uncivilized ‘discussion’ that occurred both on and off-line, I became disenchanted with Twitter and those whom I had engaged with online.
I’d be lying and leaving out a large part of the issue if I didn’t admit to being part of my own problem. I got sucked into trying to discuss something in a civilized manner through a medium that only allows 140 characters at a time and lets people hide behind a digital avatar without understanding the full consequences of what they say. I too was one of these individuals. While I defend the comments and statements I made, I made them via a medium that does not allow for context to be provided, that does not allow for a civilized conservation to take place (at least in this case) and I made them knowing full well that they would in fact fuel the voices of the very people I cared not to hear.
To some this might seem like a frivolous reason to drop Twitter for 28 days. Some might make the comment that is easy enough to block those who I did not want to hear, to ignore the conversation all together and to go along like nothing had happened, but the issue was much larger than this for me. I needed to re-consider Twitter’s place in my life and to some people this might seem like the oddest thing to be re-considering.
While Twitter at its very core is simply a social medium and nothing more than bits and bytes running behind a designed facade, to me it’s been a funnel for which I’ve been able to make some very meaningful connections, organize the community very easily, find inspiration easier than ever before and provide commentary through an outlet that not only makes it easy to do so but allowed me to feel like my opinions matter. While for some people dropping Twitter can be the easiest thing in the world I was wary that for all it provided me, it might not be a ‘dropping’ of it that I needed but a re-evaluation.
So here I am 28 days later, back, but in what capacity I am not sure. I’ve had sometime to think about Twitter, other social mediums, my presence in life (in general, not simply online) and how I want to interact with the world, present myself and contribute in meaningful ways to communities across the board. If nothing else what the past 28 days have provided me, in the form of a digital sabbatical, was an opportunity to think and reflect to gain a better perspective.