Mongia, A., 2017. Woman Draws Curtain On Twitter. [image] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/20/sunday-review/maggie-haberman-twitter-donald-trump.html?auth=linked-google1tap> [Accessed 1 July 2020]. email@example.com
I have been feeling a bit low lately and with mild general anxiety. It was a general malaise, but I couldn’t put my hand on it.
I had similar feelings before. Worse than this but generally there was a direct cause (usually connected to my health anxieties), I put it down to the general sentiment we are all experiencing, you know the ‘We are living in strange times’ because of the Coronavirus.
But I had no reason why I should feel this way. OK, there is a general concern about my job, being employed by a university, but this will be something I may need to worry about next year.
Touch wood all my close relatives are healthy. I am healthy (although since working at home, not riding to work and back every day I think I did put on a couple of kilos).
So, what was happening?
My twitter addiction
I started to think that this was connected to my twitter use. I have had signs of addictive behaviours for some time. Keeping refreshing the twitter page every second for new tweets, lying to my family about how much I was spending on it, and most dangerous of all it has interfered with my work and family life.
But the COVID-19 provided a perfect storm. Working at home my temptation to check twitter increased. Adding to this was news about the virus itself and other things like the Black Lives Matter protests etc. Irresistible for a news junkie like me.
I found myself having to give up things like going outside for a walk or exercise because I spent most of my free time on twitter. This was having an effect both on my mental but also physical health.
Twitter is a pit of negativity
One thing that twitter seems to have become is a vortex of negativity that to me at least has dragged me down. Not sure whether people are like that or whether twitter attracts a particular type of people. Looking at both sides of an argument is not common. Everything is commented upon through partisan eyes.
I stayed away from commenting on what right wing tweeters wrote (what’s the point) but the same can be said for lefties like me. The litany of complaints every Sunday morning about Insiders for example. Some twitterers seem to watch this program solely because they would search for any bias against the ALP or the Greens. This journalist was really easy on the Liberal politician but tough on the ALP one! Why do they have right leaning journalists on it? I can’t understand why people would deliberately spoil their Sunday that way.
And the way some of these twitters would be so HATEFUL against these journalists. The angriest tweets I received were when I stated that Joe Hildebrand was actually on the left. A very moderate left, what he writes was stuff I heard a lot from Centre Unity ALP members in my day. But no, he has to be slain, hated. Same with Annabel Crabb and her Kitchen Cabinet episode on Scott Morrison. She is blamed by some that single-handedly made him win the election. Forgetting that Crabb did heaps of programs on ALP and Green MPs as well. The one with Penny Wong was particularly moving. The accusation was that that program ‘humanised’ Morrison. and that’s very telling about twitter. Politicians have to be hated or loved no shades in between. In my opinion, Morrison has crap policies bit I still would invite him to a BBQ if he was my neighbour.
This is also reflected in the tweets about my other interest, soccer. To be truthful soccer fans have a tendency to be negative, but twitter gives this negativity a fertile ground. It seems that everything is gloom and doom. This may have been warranted as the Coronavirus hit all sports, and soccer the hardest. But to prove a point just weeks after soccer got the best news with being given the Women’s World Cup, some journalists left their jobs and it felt like they departed for the big commentary box in the sky. Some even stated that this would jeopardise the future of the code! It seems that ANYTHING does that for some soccer twitters.
Over the edge
In pre-COVID times my addiction was checked my other things. Going to my workplace, going to a soccer match, doing a bushwalk with my club. But now as I work at home my world has shrunk. I work in front of a computer and twitter is always present, luring me like sirens to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.
The combination of outbreaks, negativity (the anti Victorian sentiment is particularly bad – ‘sing with one voice I am, you are, we are Australian’ – what a load of croc.) and my addiction is dragging me down and doesn’t need to be. I got lots of things to be grateful for.
It’s not forever
I am not going to give up twitter forever. When I will come back? Who knows? It could be a week, a month a year. I don’t know. I think it will be when I feel I have re-established some equilibrium and my mood has lifted.
In the meantime go on as usual. If someone wants to contact me they can do so on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catch you later and stay well.