I have a little yellow Daisy on my front porch that I’ve been trying to keep alive for a few weeks. I’m not doing a very good job of it. The flower lives life on a strange carnival ride of forgetfulness, swinging wildly from healthy, golden vitality to a state of near-death droopiness over the course of each week, and I feel bad for it. I feel guilty just long enough to give it another starvation ration of water from a measuring cup out of the kitchen, that is, and then forget about it for another few days. I really have no idea what I’m doing.
I feel the same way about Twitter. Like the flower on my porch, I abandon it to time and entropy six days out of the week and overwater it on the seventh. It also gives me anxiety. I think, “I need to be better at Twitter.” I wonder, like most everyone with a high opinion of their own voice, “how can I get more engagement?” Just last night, I fell asleep thinking about how social media is a tool that I haven’t learned to properly use. Like an awl, maybe, which I also don’t know how to use.
Unlike the flower, which needs me to live, there’s no reason for me to feel that way about Twitter. Twitter is probably demonstrably better without me on it. But I can’t help it. I fret over it, like the Tamagotchi I got in a kid’s meal from KFC in 1996 that quietly beeped its way into my psyche until I pulled the battery with a pang of guilt and a whoosh of relief two weeks later. It’s the same mechanic: press one button to clear a need, another to build a relationship.
I need to figure out why the internet makes me feel this way.