This is probably going to across as one of those good old days post but I promise that is not my intention, the past is just a point of reference, I’m not one for holding onto the past, things change we need to adapt if we are to survive (or at the very least keep up) and all that. But I do remember when the internet was almost a place to escape to, now we talk about taking social media breaks to escape the constant barrage of ‘noise’.
I’ve been on twitter a while and whilst I have contributed a lot in terms of pointless tweets and nonsensical ramblings, lately it feels that it has got very noisy on there. That is probably due to the current political climate, Brexit and Trump are probably the two biggest political failures of the western world so far this century. They will be written down in history books as the ‘how we never learned anything from past mistakes and history is doomed to repeat itself through ignorance and complacency’ chapter. It will be remembered as the era when everything was doing okay and then we decided to ruin it for the lols. This isn’t a dig at being political, I think being political is a good thing, it serves in everyone’s interest to be into politics because it affects so many aspects of our everyday lives but that is not what I want to talk about.
When I realised last year that I was probably getting in too deep and pissing everyone with my non stop political rants I decided remove the source of angst! The mute button is godsend to be honest but I don’t it use nonchalantly. Some people block and mute like there’s no tomorrow, that’s their prerogative, having been on Twitter with one account or another over the last nine years, I have found it to be useful tool for networking and meeting like-minded people. As you know I deleted Facebook at the end of last year because quite frankly between the stupid algorithm and it being a cesspool of misery I just couldn’t see the point anymore, people literally do not go on FB to catch up with people or chat, they only want to put in there ten pence worth when something crap happens but it’s also a good way to engage where people stand politically because they forget that you can see what memes and articles they share.
Twitter is not much better but then you don’t have that added moral dilemma of putting up with some racist family member you can’t block in fear of causing a family row. Yes you can mute them but here is why I think the mute button shouldn’t be used in haste. Yes people can be boring, yes even you and me but that isn’t a reason to mute them, in these instances you should just probably unfollow them. Not agreeing with someone’s opinion is not enough, we are never all going to agree on anything at any given time and by muting them your effectively blocking any communication without them being aware, at least with a block function you know why communication has been cut off that person does not want to speak you but with muting that person probably thinks you just being rude and ignoring them, which you basically are.
It’s well documented on twitter how easily people are blocked for simply not agreeing with someone or debating a point. I don’t believe you should mute someone just because you don’t agree with them on a point, just unfollow them. That’s the beauty of twitter you don’t have to follow each other. People change sometimes you no longer have anything in common so it makes sense to just unfollow. the whole follow back brigade phenomena is a discussion for another time but pointlessly following someone just for numbers etc does not work. And yes I have muted blocked people I was once quite chatty with but only because they revealed themselves to be narcissistic and toxic, do not feed the trolls! If someone comes across as with a specific gender to cause trouble or just there to abuse people then yes I will also mute, you do not have to attend every conversation/argument you are invited to.
So when do I use the mute and block function? Well when it someone or something begins to affect my mental health and sets off my anxiety. So yes I blocked the antagonists, Trump, Farage, Morgan, Hopkins et al. I do not think they have anything constructive to say, they all suffer from an attention disorder and have no problems with creating click bait dramas to get their fix for attention because they know how the system works. Brexit has caused me untold mental stress, watching your country go down the toilet hole whilst people try to convince you it’s for the greater good is just downright depressing! My business has suffered because of the yoyoing pound! I worry for my future, I worry for other people’s future it’s made me extremely anti Tory, which is wrong because I know not all Tories but still that’s the effect it had. So I muted the word Brexit! By blocking these people and muting their names and specific words you begin to take a little bit of control back over what is put into your timeline. I was no longer endlessly scrolling to catch up, skipping past the endless hot takes on Trumps latest late night ramblings! Or how much of a twat Farage or Piers Morgan is. My timeline immediately became much lighter to read and the anxiety ebbed away.
Recently I decided to mute the word vegan from my timeline, just for a short period because January/February is the time of year is when food and exercise takes over as industries/brands push their business in the whole new year/new you bullshit. As someone who has their own personal and physical issues with eating food, it just makes me anxious. Personally I don’t think you should push your lifestyle on anyone else. I personally don’t have anything against anyone turning vegan, I think it’s a good choice but what I am against is the small bunch of people who think it’s okay to berate people for not being vegan and lets’ be honest there is a lot of snobbery and arrogance paraded around by some because they think they are holier than though because of their lifestyle choices. If you come from a place of privilege, shouting at someone for not being vegan because ‘it’s so easy’ just makes you an arrogant (fill in blank here). The amount of bitching and sniping that was getting RT’d into my timeline just went against the whole point of being vegan in some cases, it just seems some people are using veganism to up their social status. Veganism is not a trend or bandwagon to be used to one’s advantage or boost one’s career. Like most people pushing a wellness trend, they’re not experts and berating someone with an eating disorder or chronic illness for not trying hard enough just winds me up and there is no arguing or convincing some of these people to be more mindful or aware, as always the extreme few ruin it for everyone else. So I temporarily muted the word. It’s not personal, well it is, it’s for my own personal benefit and well other people’s food choices are none of your damn business. I eat what I can within my restricted remit. I’m vegetarian and quite frankly I don’t need to justify my choices and I didn’t ask for your ‘expertise’. The one thing twitter has been great at is people telling you you’re wrong and they’re right!
Now the easiest solution could be to just switch it off but when you run an online business, it’s not that simple. The internet is something that is apart of our culture and the way we communicate, so we need to adapt to using it according to our needs. I need to use to promote my creative business. The thing with social media is you can to a degree control over what is streamed to you, algorithms aside. You can tailor it to your taste, you do get to choose who you follow, you do get to choose whether an argument is worth your time or not, we’ve just lost the art of choosing what is worthy of our time.