i’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately about “just write for yourself”/”don’t worry about follows/stars/favs/likes/RTs/RBs” etc. i get where the writers of said blogs are coming from, but i disagree with the idea that writing for yourself doesn’t intersect with worry about perception and feedback.
i started tweeting because there were things i had in my brain that people in my daily life didn’t necessarily appreciate or want to hear. dumb little observations or jokes that weren’t appropriate for many of the conversations i have, because almost all of my conversations take place at work, where i am a “professional” and therefore cannot be silly/funny/weird. moving to the bay area was a really rough social transition, and while i’ve made a decent number of friends, i would say that many of them don’t truly get me. most of the weird shit i say is met by blank stares, serious explanations in response to sarcastic hypotheticals, or- my personal favorite- uncomfortable silence followed by an immediate change in topic. it isn’t that these folks aren’t good friends… they take care of me and they hang out with me despite the dumb shit i say/think/do, but friendship with them is also a bit unfulfilling because there is a part of me that is not understood or appreciated.
so, i needed an outlet and i hoped to find a place where i could connect with people who appreciate the ridiculous bullshit that is in my head; a place where i could feel like someone else out there relates to me. now, i’m not the most original person on the planet, and i’m certainly not the most eloquent, but i think i say some relatively funny stuff every once and a bit, and i won’t lie that i am bummed when it doesn’t get a response. i’m also bummed because i don’t have a lot of followers, and the number isn’t even realistic because half of those “people” are either robots or businesses who added me because i said something they are connected to, but in a totally tangential way. like the farmers market people that “follow” me because i made fun of how a dude was trying to sell bread at one or the doula (!) who “follows” me because i said something about portland when i was there for bridgetown. all in all, i have a feeling i’ve got about 6 or 7 people who actually read the shit i spew on the internet, and that’s almost as isolating as just having the thoughts pile up in my skull.
the reason i think that attention on twitter and “writing for yourself” are connected and not discrete, and many of the blogs i’ve read have claimed, is that what i want out of writing is connection, and connection is demonstrated by the stars/RTs/likes/RBs/whaever-your-social-network-currency-is. i write for myself to feel some sort of relationship with others in the world. a feeling that i am not alone, and not in some bullshit emo “nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess i’ll go eat worms” way, but in a “i know there are people out there who are just as weird as me, and i want to share our weirdness” way.
i have no idea how to promote myself on twitter or how to connect with people, other than following them first, but i also don’t want a bunch of tit-for-tat-i-don’t-really-read-what-you-write followers, either. ideally, people follow me because they relate to me. i feel lucky every time someone rolls the dice on me; i guess i wish i knew how to broaden that group.