storyteller and all-around creative distraction

social toxicity: the Twitter psychotic breakdown

It occurred to me this week that out of 250-something people I follow on Twitter, all but maybe 100 of them post content that makes me feel anxious and dysfunctional. How about that for inviting toxicity into my life?

To reign in my work day, I’ve made a drastic change to my Tweetdeck screen. (Yes, step one, you NEED Tweetdeck!) I got rid of my “Home” column. Yes, I did! Just like on the Twitter website, the “Home” column displays everything from everyone you’re following. I didn’t outright delete it, but I moved it and buried it way back behind my other columns, behind my #chicklitchat, behind my #amwriting and #selfpub, behind my DMs that I always forget to look at because I get email notification for them anyway.

Yes, it is important to keep up with the industry news, but I found that most of the stuff that’s being thrown at me every day, all those links you just have to click and read right now – how to sell more books, why you’re not selling more books, how you should or shouldn’t sell your books, should you even be trying to sell your own books at all!?! – it freaks me the hell out! It puts this bad omen over my work environment that is very unproductive for me. Because then, in my writing time, I’m following link after link after link about what I should be doing and how I’m going to fail because my book’s not selling and self-publishing is about to implode and I’ll never make any money at this and die an old penniless woman who nobody’s ever heard of and nobody will ever read my books EVERRRRRR!!!!!

Are you having a panic attack yet?

Most of what I’m trying to filter out is marketing and social media advice. Or most kinds of advice, really. I guess I’m not at a place in my life right now where advice is helpful. I know what I need to be doing with myself right now. It’s just a matter of DOING it. And all that anxiety and dysfunction really gets in the way of my doing things, because I just click links and worry instead.

Now my Tweetdeck screen has 4 columns and I love them all. The first column is a list of “twitter buddies” – it’s a private list, and contains my close friends and regular twitter acquaintances. Second is responses to me, which includes most of those same people, because, well, nobody else ever talks to me. #3 and #4 are posts and responses from my gaming friends! With a setup like this, it’s like the whole world only consists of instagram pictures, funny quotes, video games, food, Ryan Gosling memes, and only happy publishing news that isn’t going to stress me out.

When I decide it’s “industry news time”, then I can just take a deep breath and scroll ALL THE WAY BACK to that “Home” column where the rest of the world is still talking about industry stuff, still sharing links, still proclaiming to know how I will sell more books or how I will fail. Though it may sometimes be necessary, I don’t need its toxicity infecting the rest of my day every day.

My Tweetdeck screen will instead be a safe and happy place, full of book releases, and Sims, and awesome songs people are listening to, and Tumblr posts of Dean and Sam pictures, and what people are eating for lunch or planning to bake this weekend, and only happy news. Nothing is imploding. Nobody is going to fail.

11 thoughts on “social toxicity: the Twitter psychotic breakdown”

  • I like it. I think this is a very positive step to make you more productive. Odds are, none of that industry news is new to you–you just need to write, write, write….so we can read it already!

  • Good for you! If the negativity affects you to the point where you’re focusing on that and not your writing, then this can only be a good step for you!

  • Thank you, everyone! It’s hard to tune out when there are so many people out there telling us what we need, isn’t it?

    Annie, oh no! lol! Why do you hate Tweetdeck? I don’t think I’d use Twitter at all without it! <3

  • Ah, I didn’t know I could do this w/Tweetdeck… I’ll have to check that out. Lately I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed w/all the social media “How To…” advice. It’s just annoying!

  • This is why I generally avoid following anything Uni-related because it tends to give me hives. Also anything Cosmo-esque, health related (of the: 5 foods that WILL lead you to an early grave-type things) and anything media related that’s Norwegian (mainly it’s because I’ve already read ALL THE THINGS on my own and don’t want to be bogged down with it on twitter too). I don’t follow that many people though so it’s less of a problem. But yeah, Uni stuff I don’t touch, retweet or follow even if someone points a gun at me xD I generally just end up feeling miserable and bound to fail.

    TL;DR: I’m really glad you’ve worked out a system for you that’s beneficial and will help you actually keep moving forwards to the goals you’ve set for yourself rather than lead you down detour after detour until you’re not entirely sure if you’re in China or Diagon Alley 🙂

  • On my phone, I’ve been using an app called Slices because I can zip people. It makes it easier to look at Twitter when I’m not bombarded with things that annoy me.

    This is a great post! It’s good to remember that it’s okay to not always listen to advice, especially if it becomes overwhelming. We always spend so much time learning that we need to listen if we want to be better writers that I honestly think we forget that!

  • Lol i’m sorry but this post made me laugh so much. I don’t follow that many people, but there are few who spam the hell out of my twitter feedit’s that bad that I know I will alwyas end up scrolling through it for agesso for last month for that reason I haven’t even opened my dear twitter as facing pointless scrolling over that rubbish is just making me shudder.
    I’m so glad you found a system for yourself to eliminate stuff you don’t want to see at that point of time 😀

  • Yes! I stopped looking at Tweetdeck for exactly this reason. My raw social feed was making me feel less than and left behind. Maybe I’ll try to find an app that lets me organize my feed in the way you suggest. It won’t be Tweetdeck, though. I can’t stand many of the “improvements” made to it since Twitter acquired it. Great piece. Thanks.

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