#321: The Followers

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As I write this, I have almost the same amount of followers on Twitter as I have blog posts on here. It’s really grown over the past few weeks, and I’m happy to see it expanded because it means I have more people to interact with who love my stuff. It’s fun to see people from throughout the fandom come to my profile and discuss shared interests with me. It’s even more fun to make friends who you can then play Monster Hunter with. There’s so much out there in terms of what you can do thanks to social media, and in this day and age, I appreciate it immensely. Leaving an online footprint in places is, under some circumstances, a bit troublesome, but to me it’s just the same as leaving my footprint in other people’s lives. I’ve met people who haven’t liked me, and that’s fine. You can’t please everyone. I don’t think you’re meant to, anyway.

To me, having followers doesn’t mean I’m popular; it means that my tweets resonate with people and they’re interested enough to follow me. Popularity does not necessarily correlate with interest. I consider having few close friends better than having many acquaintances, and that mantra applies definitely to life online. You can be inundated with so many people, but you have to be selective about what you choose to do.

I decided on this blog title and topic because the number next to the title was really close to the amount of followers I have, and nothing more. As I write this, it’s actually at around 325, but I figured this is close enough.

I had to close this blog for a bit to finish writing something else, but now I’m back. Sometimes you just need to relax and wait for the ideas to come back to you.

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#273: The Twitter, Part 2

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This blog post is a continuation of a previous blog post, so if you haven’t read that one, you may want to go back and do that first.

Most importantly, there’s joy in being able to share in online experiences with other people. I’m happy to share details about myself, though I wish I were more talented in the ways of art or drawing or video editing, so that I could be of a better use to the fandoms that I claim membership of. I’ve recently started talking with more people on Twitter who are part of the Persona fandom, and it’s been fantastic thus far. We may even play some Monster Hunter: World together sometime in the future. I look forward to whatever that has in store. It’s exciting to think about.

Twitter is there for cultivating friendships, and I’m thankful for its existence in that respect. I don’t know where I’d be without some of the friends I’ve made on that site.

Using Twitter, though, is like staring into the abyss; you never quite know what you’ll find inside it, but you’re interested enough to stare into that black mass anyway. You look because you’re bored, or craving some kind of excitement or news or something. You want to be thrilled again. Having a Twitter in and of itself is great for networking and communication, but not always there for professional purposes, as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t used my professional teacher account very much so far. I think that the main purpose of the site is to keep yourself occupied while you want to be occupied by it; if you aren’t interested in what Twitter has to offer, it’s pointless. But the catch is that you cultivate the feed yourself, so you create whatever the site has to offer, if that makes any sense. It’s a conundrum.

#272: The Twitter, Part 1

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Having a Twitter is, in some ways, a blessing and a curse. It provides you with endless entertainment, memes, news, or whatever you really want to fill your feed with, but on the other hand, it can be a deadly distraction. You might be tempted to keep scrolling through your Twitter feed even while new tweets keep coming up, and you might be tempted to wait and see how your group chat feels about the recent news. I’ve already written about how wonderful it is to have a group chat available with friends from all types of backgrounds and interests and hobbies, but today I want to focus more specifically on what having a Twitter feels like, how it affects the day-to-day.

On a given day, I probably check my various Twitter accounts at least three or four times, some accounts more than others. It depends on what I post and whether it’s attracting any attention, too. Sometimes, if people are responding more to my tweets, then that means I’ll be on the app more than usual. I don’t frequently check my teacher account because I don’t frequently post there, but on my hobby account and my private account, I post much more often. I have made and met some friends there already, reminding me of what it was like to do so years ago, during my senior year of undergrad, when I first met the friends that would later form the group chat I have. I look forward to potentially having more group chats to share in, and I look forward to meeting new people online.

As a teenager, I made lots of friends online, so I feel familiar with this whole process. But it’s still a bit nerve-wracking at first, not really knowing anyone who you’re talking to really.

#243: The Group Chat, Part 2

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This one is coming in two parts!

Two of my friends on the chat are huge anime fans, for example, so I feel like I know a decent amount about Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure just from them, even though I’ve only ever watched the pilot episode with Alex in Boston one night.

The group chat started back in 2016 or 2017, when I was still on Twitter under a different account name. I had an account I used to follow people from hobbies I was a fan of, and I found a bunch of wrestling fans who shared similar interests online. We bonded over the wrestlers we liked, but most of all, we bonded over our shared connections and long-winded discussions about heated topics, such as booking, match results, and video games. There were lots of things to be angry about back when we watched the shows regularly, but also lots of great, memorable conversations involving people I’ve never met in person. These people are some of my greatest friends, and yet I don’t know when I’ll ever get the chance to see them. Does that really matter? Aren’t online interactions just as genuine and worthwhile as interactions in person? I’m not sure, but I’d like to think they are. A person you communicate with, by whatever means of communication are available, can still be a friend of yours. A pen pal from across the country is still a friend regardless of the fact that you may never meet them, either.

When I was in high school, I had a difficult time making friends, so to be able to have access to the internet meant having access to a world of online friendships, too. I knew people on the internet from World of Warcraft, the Rock Band forums, Last.fm, and more, and all of those people I owe so much to. I don’t know where I would be without them, so they definitely mean as much to me as any of my other friends do.

#242: The Group Chat, Part 1

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This one is coming in two parts! Here’s the first one, about a fantastic group chat I’m a part of.

While scrolling through Twitter, I discovered something worth writing about: the group chat I’ve had for so long, and all the wonderful people I’ve met because of it. I was playing Persona 5 earlier today when I remembered that I could share my experiences in the game with my friends who recommended I play it in the first place, years ago. I remember reading the group chat, also known as “Paige fam” or whatever other title it has on a given day. It usually changes with the season, but that’s one of the more endearing parts of the chat. I’m not going to mention any of the chat members’ names, as I haven’t told them that I’m writing about them and don’t want to spoil their privacy. But it’s a great group of about 9 people, all of whom I’ve spent a lot of time talking with. We’ve gone through stages of allowing more people into the chat, only to have them either spoil who’s in it to others or just not participate very often. Those people aren’t part of the chat any more. There was a time when the chat had 11 people in it, for example.

We’ve talked about and shared opinions on all kinds of topics, from Game of Thrones’s latest season (and its ultimate failure) along with football championship victories in Europe and earthquakes in New Zealand. The people in this chat span across countries; the diversity isn’t just in location, but in gender, ethnicity, and personality. It’s that kind of diversity that makes the chat so great, and so wonderful to come back after taking a few days off from looking at Twitter or social media. There’s always a fruitful, interesting conversation to look at afterwards.

#239: Social Media

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Social media is funny. For starters, it allows us to connect across the world with friends we might never hear from otherwise. Without Facebook, I probably wouldn’t know a damn thing what my friend Rachel, who lives in Australia currently, is up to. It’s nice to see updates from friends who mean a lot to me, even though we don’t talk super frequently. I also have friends on there much older than me, people I met and became acquainted with during my various internships, and whom I owe so much of my professional success to. It’s nice to see them comment on my professional updates, especially when I’m really trying to take care of myself more. Social media is what allows all this flourish, and I’m thankful for it in that sense.

Though, social media also gives me anxiety from time to time. Sometimes I think life would be simpler if I didn’t constantly see updates from people I went to college with, telling me what they’ve been up to since then. Some of them are completing their second year as teachers, and while that’s very exciting for them, it leaves me with a feeling of emptiness. Not everything I do needs to be compared to other people’s lives, but social media almost encourages us to compare the two. It’s a part of social media’s DNA. Every post you make, every story you upload, every status you write, every like you share, every click you make, everything eventually is tied to someone else, and it’s connected to your online profile, either through Google, Facebook, or what have you. The people who “like” it, the people who ignore it, the people who are online but have better things to do. It’s tough not to take personally.

Was social media a mistake?