“I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
As I sit i the coffee shop waiting to meet with a woman from a network group I belong to I comb through my Twitter feed to see if anything interesting is going on. It is, of course, everywhere, in big ways and small, but nothing really grabbed my interest.
My morning habits have changed since the election. Instead of heading directly to Facebook to be shown my “memories” in the morning, and catch up on friends’ updates as I’d done in the past, I’ve switched over to news sites as my first stop sometime during the election.
Looking back, that was pivotal. My morning draw, interest changed. No longer was I easing into the information of the day. It became a jolt, an onslaught of, an overload of disquieting information and news that would set the tone for the day.
I stayed away from Twitter. It wasn’t my platform of choice. The combination of wide ranging interests and never ever getting up to date or getting to the end, and then missing out on the latest, drove me nuts. I guess it just always pointed out in real time that I was not up to date, and that made me uneasy. Life comes at you fast, and Twitter just kept me aware that I would forever be behind. Besides, my industry of choice never really mastered the art of it. Engagement is the key, and in Marketing, most businesses talk AT each other, or rather, AT no one. It has become a platform to put content out, but not do anything with it. For me, I couldn’t find a balance of contributing and consuming, and I don’t know if my audience was there.
That changed. Everything changed. I changed. Twitter is now my first step. My need for feeding my hunger for information has surpassed the standard news outlets. Once I made that switch months ago, from focusing on personal networks, interests, friends, even self, first to the election, a feeding frenzy in m awoke. And it awoke in others
Facebook became somewhat of a pariah as we got validation that the stories, views, articles our friends and family shared, resulting in a digital age fights & break ups, were fake news, conspiracy theories, and just plain lies. Months later, these splits still exist as one side holds to dignity and what has become a habit of holding those stories of truth, not willing to admit they were connect and outed, and the other side is still stunned at the hatred, bigotry, and frankly, the bald-faced stupidity that those in their circle had fallen for and still cling to.
Many went “secret”, finding groups that allowed like-minded folks to continue rants with the absence of dissent, while keeping public timelines happy, filled with puppy pictures and innocuous memes, pretending we’re “safe” to talk to, that we won’t go off on politically and culturally based rants at the drop of a hat.
Yet still, we haven’t reached out to reconnect. And neither have they. The divide is deep, suggesting it’s more than the “sore loser” syndrome the other side claims is underlying the current state.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Now the morning starts with Twitter. First stop is to see what 45* is ranting about, to revel in that and then dig in for the trigger lie; what cover up is it serving.
Then, oddly, as if to gain energy for what I’m about to do, I check the “rogue” handles. The rogue Whitehouse ones. Yes, I’m fully aware they’re fake, even satire, and possibly even designed to mislead. But I know that going in, so when I read that they’re frustrated or a comment bout 45* pounding corndogs in anger, it’s soothing, because it’s what I needed to hear that there’s chaos, frustration, fear INSIDE there, not just outside. It’s oddly reassuring and amusing, and prepares me for the vigorous trek ahead.
(Go ahead, tell me how ridiculous and whatever public outrage of supporting mocking and ridiculing of the president, or how stupid I am being by even entertaining the accounts. Then tell me how many times you’ve watched any of the Real Housewives shows, or any other reality show, and talk to me with a clear conscience.)
Then I begin in earnest. A cursory check of the timeline begins and usually leads me inside, down, down, down into the rabbit hole.
I follow comments, threads, and select journalists, experts, personalities, and strangers. Twitter allows me to see ideas form, events happen, and research take shape. It provides an “in the weeds” view of like, perspectives, challenges, and red herrings take form.
It is also expectedly, confusing, frustrating, and terrifying. To balance, I follow what used to be considered fluff — commercial breaks from reality, or rather, our current reality — jokes, memes, comedians and inspirational theories.
What I have found, unexpectedly, in Twitter, a platform I previously believed as one sided, bland, and lonely, is real time engagement and live action involvement. Clearly I must have been pretty boring before not to find this, but … times change.
Twitter allows direct, immediate engagement with all walks of life. I’ve gotten into discussions and tirades with trolls and with folks the other from the other side. I’ve engaged with reporters, celebrities, researches, and allies. it’s an excellent forum for an introvert
In some ways it allows for truly understanding the narratives. I watch the news and now know backstories, I know what ISN’T being said and wonder Are they not saying it “yet”? Has it been disproved or not fully validated? If it goes longer, I research more, going to different sources, to find out where it is.
But Twitter isn’t my life, despite it feeling like it sometimes.
I also find other sources, and those articles lead me to other platforms and outlets. I’ve gone back to reading the New Yorker, Atlantic, Slate, and other journalists, and have re-upped my subscriptions to real reporting including the NY Times and Washington Post. I regularly seek out new publications and authors, and seek out original sources.
Truth and honesty matters, as does integrity. The journalists become people on Twitter, in ways they never do on Facebook or even in their articles. There’s a raw authenticity about Twitter.
My cursory infotainment now goes back to an old favorite, Facebook. I still check my newsfeed, but it’s not as interesting, as most folks have gone “undercover”, and I don’t interact with others as much so they don’t show. I get my secret and private groups, and interact there, with a camaraderie that is comforting and empowering, and enlightening. So many different perspectives even on the same side.
Social media is a source of news, and while many polls show that it’s the main source of news for most, the entire concept of news has changed. It’s not just reading the newspaper in the morning anymore and catching up on the news shows in the evening. It’s ongoing, continuous, multiple sources and platforms.
“Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.” ~Lewis Carroll
And it’s totally scalable. Whether you have a few minutes in the morning, breaks throughout the day, or evening dual screen catching up, you can escape into it just as you would any other interest, for however much time you can spare. But it’s up to us, as individuals, to determine how much we need, and the effort we’re willing to put into consuming information.
For me, there’s a chaotic hunger, and since we have our independence to get our news our way, we also have the responsibility to verify it. Mainstream media failed all of us, and so we all look at it critically (or at least I hope we do, but I know many won’t). Ever since the phrase “equally flawed candidates” was used the level of reliability of integrity was raised. But that’s ok, because it’s our personal responsibility to be informed, and be informed with information that can be validated, holding aside that which can’t, yet, and knowing the possibility that it won’t ever be is a possibility.
Stop with the click bait. I am a marketer, I completely get the value of a headline, and how it’s the most read piece. But that’s for Ads, not news. Get it together, people, if you fall prey to click bait, don’t beat yourself up about it and find a way to spin it that you’re super smart and therefore there’s truth in the lies you’ve found yourself immersed in. Every one falls for them at some point. The headline is intriguing, it’s designed that way. But it doesn’t mean you have to trust the stranger that wrote it by offering up your integrity to believe a lie no one cares you clicked on. Trust then verify. You’re the one who will look bad if you promote it to your friends, family and their extended networks.
I just realized It’s been an hour, and my breakfast guest hasn’t arrived. I don’t even feel bad I’ve been stood up. That’s how life has changed.