The thing I took away most from the Phil Fish video was the conflict between the 'true' self and the social media persona. On Twitter there is a demand on us to be informative and insightful and if we are not these things then we are unfollowed. Instead of a person I am an RSS feed. Because what goes on the internet stays on the internet, we are constantly censoring ourselves. Self-censorship and the need to please our audience makes it impossible to portray yourself as a normal human being. Weakness is not allowed, either because we may offend, create disagreement or cause people to become bored with us and move on. I do this too, I unfollowed some people this morning because I found myself disagreeing with them more often than I used to. My relationships with people who have never met me change and this involves (on my part) all the emotional stuff that any relationship change incurrs.
I used to love Twitter because I felt like I was always connected. I took comfort in just having a way that I could use at any time to start a conversation about almost anything. There is something reassuring about watching this steady stream of human interaction just chugging along. Both my partner and I have found work just through Twitter and word-of-mouth. I have friends that I only communicate with on Twitter. Over the last few weeks though, I have felt this change a bit. I've always had this internal fight about self-censorship. Some things I cannot say because they will endanger my career. Some things I cannot say because there is a subgroup of people who, if they found me, could make my life a living hell. Mostly, there are things I cannot say because there are people who would break my heart if they chose to unfollow me, or lost respect for me. I don't feel connected anymore, only isolated. Sometimes we feel most alone when we are lost in a crowd.
The moral of the story is that we are all human beings. If you follow me because I'm a coder, don't unfollow me when I talk about gaming. If you follow me because I'm a gamer, don't unfollow me because I write about porn. If you follow me, you follow *me* with all my insights and all my weaknesses. Accept that of everyone you follow and maybe we can all be much more honest with each other. When everyone only posts happy things, the individual can sometimes feel that they are the only person who is unhappy, or struggling when this is never the case.