Very few of you folks have tried to reach me via Twitter of late. At one point, with 40K “followers” (mostly other writers), I was pretty active over there. But then I removed myself. I re-added myself a few months back, but didn’t work too hard at it. Now I’m going away again. Will I return? Well, who knows? Also, who cares? I’m pretty sure I don’t. But what the hell; I figured I’d let you know I’m deleting Twitter’s account in my brain. The site’s access to my thought processes is hereby revoked.
Twitter is unquestionably fun to use. It’s a quick way to get news, and to interact with folks online. But…I don’t really want that sort of quick-response interactivity with people I don’t know. I don’t like having my brain taken over. It happens so fast, you know? I’d prefer a more drawn-out form of courtship. Maybe some foreplay, even. The “twitchy mental leap” mindset is diverting, but I doubt it helps me provide much value–to myself or anyone else.
I’m extremely susceptible to that sort of thing, you see. I rarely listen to music–not because I don’t enjoy it, ’cause I very much do, but because it seems to derail my thoughts so thoroughly. Or perhaps I allow that to happen, and could in theory stop doing so, but have trouble finding a logical reason to listen to music without thinking about it. Whichever; I generally prefer thinking the sort of thoughts that require time to germinate, and things like music and Twitter don’t help. I task-switch too frequently while under their influence.
Same thing with TV, by the way. About 25 years ago I moved into an apartment and put my TV sideways under my desk. Temporarily. Six months later, when moving out, I realized it was still under the desk. So I haven’t bought a TV since. It’s not the shows I mind so much–I totally watch Netflix and find hours of fun from that and other video sources–it’s the commercials. But I don’t have any sort of ideological problem with commercials. In principle, I even approve of them. It’s just…at one time, I helped create infomercials. I did business-type writing of various sorts. I get very interested in the advertisements I see. And I don’t want to do that. Therefore, no TV. Large monitors? Sure. Projectors? Sure. But I don’t want distractions that are chosen for me by someone else.
Do I read lots of news? Am I an odd sort of political junkie? Sure. I love walls of text. Am I a “digital native” in spite of that? Well, maybe. Definitely a geek, anyway. But I like to grab information in large gulps. I’ll find a blog I like, and go read all the posts. Read a few books on a subject that interests me, maybe. I very very rarely watch any sort of supposedly informational video, because the information-density is too low and I feel my time is being wasted. (I read quickly, by the way, and can generally get through a video’s transcript in a fraction of the time it’d take to actually watch the damn thing. But I find video transcripts are rarely enjoyable to read.)
Having people waste my time is one of my least favorite things. I show up on time for meetings–even if they’re only for a beer–and I avoid the company of those who don’t. If I know my attention will be derailed, perhaps pointlessly, I may go along with it for a while…but I start feeling the warm glow of cheerful resentment before too long. And I rearrange my affairs. I’m probably too militant about this. Twitter, for instance, hasn’t taken up much of my time lately. But just knowing it’s there is a distraction I’d rather not have. (Oh, and I find their “security” and “privacy” practices to be anti-cool…but that’s a side issue.)
How ’bout you folks? Any of you out there who, like me, prefer a fire pit to a television? Walls of text to videos? The company of in-person people, farts and belches and crude remarks notwithstanding?
But, lest I seem too much a Luddite: my wife and I gave away thousands of paper-type books before we left Alaska. We kept a few, which sit on a single shelf (and will soon be packed, most likely in a single box). I don’t even have paper copies of all my own stuff. Bear in mind that we spent many an hour, over many years, collecting and reading those books. But we mostly have them in ebook form, now. For us, the “book” experience lives on via devices we carry around. Only it’s…better now. The digital type of text is simply easier to read.
Thing is, I loved those books. Sometimes I see a copy of a book I’d owned for decades, and my heart yearns for my (more literal) walls of text. But you know what? I was never going to read them again in that format, and it was time to move on. Paradoxically, I’ve read a couple of print-form books since getting rid of our collection, though it had been at least a year before that point…but I found the experience awkward. And I had no urge to keep the paper copies around, afterward. So I didn’t.
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