i deleted twitter*

*by twitter i mean the twitter app on my phone and not my account (unfortunately)

perhaps deleting twitter isn’t a big deal for most of you reading this. after all, it’s just twitter. as far as social media websites go, my tweets are relatively unassociated with real life updates. i only ever use twitter to:

a) keep myself updated with the news (both local and international, ranging from politics to games);

b) retweet art;

c) like memes;

d) interact with friends that i exclusively interact with on twitter; and

e) talk shit about the stupid and absurd things i read on twitter.

despite that, being on that cursed bird app for the past 12 years or so means that scrolling my twitter timeline has become so incorporated into my daily routine that the act of doing just that is my go-to reflex everytime i find myself wanting to take a break, or if i’m waiting for something. it’s different from accessing other social media platforms (eg. facebook and instagram) which i usually only do if i am actively looking for something, or intending to post something. twitter to me is like the magazines and newspapers people put on the table of in front of the mirror at the hairdresser’s. i don’t even tweet much but i’m still scrolling and retweeting and liking tweets. i’m just perpetually there.

but (and to be honest this is kind of a surprise i suppose, considering how much time i’ve spent on the bird app) two weeks ago i found myself in a bit of a, what some people say, pickle when i tweeted an opinion (which, though not entirely uncontroversial, was relatively innocuous) not knowing that the person whose tweet i was referring to had a rather massive following on the local twittersphere which i wasn’t even a part of. things that got really, really toxic very, very quickly, even though i’d immediately muted all notifications and halted all engagement the moment they started trickling in. even when i locked my account, some residual notifications still managed to snake their way in.

in all fairness, it was my fault for not realising who i was engaging with, albeit indirectly (i did not even interact directly with the person’s tweet). i don’t go out of my way to pick fights, even less so on twitter where anonymity is a default setting, even less so when the other person actually has a fanbase. in retrospect, all ingredients were ripe for an unnecessarily toxic hate campaign, but i really wasn’t thinking that much. and that, kids, is how i learned about the full-fledged consequences of posting in public.

i knew that the only way for the shitstorm to die down is to literally give it time to die down, but it was still hard to evade the trickling notifications as and when they appeared despite all my efforts to block them out. eventually the only logical solution was to stop going on the website/app altogether.

now again, this probably sounds like no big deal to anyone else, and honestly at that moment, i was just “eh”, craving distance and immunity from the ongoing shitstorm that i was relatively already blind to, but i started feeling that awkwardness in the ensuing days when my thumb would automatically and reflexively move to where the twitter app button was, only to find it not there. it really did feel like something was missing. i started having bouts of moments where i would not know what to do – it wasn’t like i didn’t have anything to do, but rather those in-between moments which i usually reserve for scrolling twitter were now vacant.

it felt strange, but honestly i also felt relieved. it wasn’t a feeling i expected to have upon deleting twitter, but todate i’m glad i did. and honestly, i’m considering never returning there again. i definitely still get random itches and reflexes to check twitter, and finding out about news on facebook is not very enjoyable, but in the larger scheme of things, it seems like a worthwhile “sacrifice” (lol).

this recent occurrence is also rather in line with my gradual preference to reduce my online presence and engagement. now that i’m faced with more responsibilities (a full-time job being one of it), anonymity appears more enticing than ever. head empty no thoughts is really the aspiration of the modern age.

this is the perfect segway to explain my decision to stop publicizing my blogposts on my social media accounts. one of the main reasons why i stopped writing for so long was a fear of public perception – which is incredibly ironic because hello i am writing on a blog on the internet – and i think it’s time that i revert back to the comfort of writing for myself. i am aware that this post and indeed the entirety of this blog still remains very much accessible to the public, but i’m hoping it will at least allow me to regain some confidence to speak to myself, before i speak to the world again.

Published by

Michelle Teoh

26-year-old cynical Asian, book enthusiast and purveyor of fine sarcasm.

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