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.