I don’t tend to follow rules, or follow the crowd, or follow up a compliment with a polite ‘thank you’ (I usually run away). I do ‘follow’ 100 Tweeters. Tweeters being the only word I can come up with to define all of them: celebrities, comedians, chefs, bands, writers, organisations, associations, TV shows, one coffee shop, a breaking news site, London public transport updates, and Frodo.
My Twitter feed is starting to feel a bit full. My 100 Tweeters tweet a lot: to promote, to display their wit, to inform, to brag. Many of them re-tweet much of the same, causing things like ‘Justin Beiber’s hair’ to trend worldwide. Forget things that matter… 4000 12 year-olds have decided that the Beebs floppity hair is more important than the conflict in Syria.
The whole purpose of Twitter is light entertainment and sometimes, light entertainment fits. Without a doubt, tweets (travelling at the speed of light!!!) make the 32-minute journey from London Waterloo to Kingston-upon-Thames go a little quicker. Reading about Elijah’s ‘new jam’, the delays on the District line, and Pee-wee Herman’s private life might make you forget that your own life hasn’t quite turned out like you thought it would. (But hey, Real Housewife from New Jersey Teresa Guidice follows you. She does!) I mean, sure… you could be writing a letter to your Grandpa, or reading up on the God particle, or learning French, or rolling the lint off your trousers… but Twitter sure does pass the time.
But when did we all decide that we wanted to pass the time? At 33 and a third, I feel like my life is moving far too quickly. I want time to slow down. I wish I had more time to spend with my family and friends, to complete my screenplay, to vacuum the corners of the living room, to travel back to the Blue Lagoon and really stew in it, to laugh more, to cook meals rather than buy ready-made at M & S. I don’t want to pass time; I want to hold on to every second of it!
I don’t have much time. (That sounded rather dramatic, didn’t it? But the truth is the average life expectancy for women in the UK is 80. The average life expectancy for women in Switzerland is 82. So, yeah… I may have to move to Switzerland if I want to complete my screenplay.)
A few days ago I was realised that I was following 112 people. It took me approximately 23 minutes to look through my Twitter feed. Yes, I learned that Justin Beiber was Canadian (who knew?), that Neil Patrick Harris was in Windsor visiting the Queen (presumably), and that there were delays on the District line… but my husband and I had a frozen pizza for dinner. See the correlation?
I definitely do not have time to follow more than 100 Tweeters, so I decided to ‘unfollow’ 12 people. I will hold fast at 100 Tweeters. If I come across a new Tweeter of interest, another Tweeter will have to be cut. I won’t say who or whom that I cut (I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings)… but I will say it was very necessary. Please don’t judge me.
The best metaphor for this situation was a closet. You can put a lot of things in your closet: shoes, bags, a fur coat, a bag of dominoes, a Settlers of Catan board game, love letters from your ex-boyfriend. You can keep buying sale items from John Lewis because they fit, not because they looked good. You can keep underwear with holes in them and socks that are far too slippy for most surfaces. But one day when you go in there looking for something (like a clean t-shirt or a pair of trousers that fit), you are not going to be able to find it.
In the immortal words of rapper Eminem, ‘I’m sorry momma*! I never meant to hurt you! I never meant to make you cry; but tonight I’m cleaning out my closet.’
* In this case ‘momma’ is those 12 Tweeters that didn’t make the cut.