Tuesday I did something I’ve been contemplating for a long time now, going back to the point that I deleted all my old posts on this blog to start over. I started a new Twitter account, in effect rebooting my social self. Unlike the blog, I did not delete my old account just yet. That will happen in January, and in the meantime, I’m posting notices every day that I’m moving addresses. That way if someone wants to follow me over, they can.
The reason why it took me so long to reach a decision on this is due in most part to my follower count, which at present is 1,947. But lately I’ve come to realize that maybe half of that count is marketing accounts. They started off with people behind them, but then one day the owner of the account decided to use a bot to post ads for their stuff, and they never came back. They don’t engage with anyone, they just toss out the same 5 or 6 tweets every few hours to keep their stuff in the stream. (And by stuff, I mean books, music, and marketing services.) So really, what’s the point of keeping 1,000 followers if they never read what I’m saying day to day?
There’s also a very compelling reason for me to start fresh. More and more often, I see on blogs and in comments that Twitter is regarded as one of the most toxic social sites these days. I think it’s no more or less toxic than, say Facebook or Tumblr, but Twitter stands out more because it’s where so many people go to just rant about everything that’s bugging them. It’s a micro-journal, but I think lots of people end up getting tunnel vision, only using Twitter to air their anger without giving their positive side an equal chance to to be shown. People reading their streams get triggered by that negativity and go on the attack, and soon, it’s all just one big fight that no one can possibly win.
Thing is, I’ve been just as guilty of doing it. For a long time, my Twitter stream was all about what was bugging me, and I didn’t spend enough time presenting any other side of myself. I see a lot of people yelling at Twitter to change the way the site works to filter out all the hate and anger, but I feel like as far as I’m concerned, I need to be the change in the system that I want to see. I need to take more time to be positive, to help promote a more welcoming environment.
A few months back, I started easing back into Twitter by posting random stuff I say, or conversations between myself and my husband that were amusing, or at least seemed funny at the time. I’ve started doing more tweets talking about my goals with workouts and my paid editing gig. And even more recently, I’ve started posting music videos that I’m watching, just sharing something that I’d like for my followers to check out. But anyone who digs that and then goes searching through my old archives is going to see how much time I spent being just another one of the angry Twitter crowd, and I’d rather start with a clean slate, even if it means having to rebuild my followers list from scratch.
Now please understand, I’m not saying “everyone needs to lighten up.” If you use Twitter as a place to air grievances and you like it that way, you keep doing what helps you feel better. But I’m feeling like I’ve been a part of the problem, and I don’t want that. I want to get back to my early days on Twitter, when I might post something and one of my followers jumps in wanting to chat about it. I want to get back to being engaging and fun to be around. I want to give people a reason to go to my profile and just scroll down through my feed. I want them to be entertained, you know? That’s where I started at, and somewhere along the way, I lost the plot and became angry over everything. It got to the point that I wandered off to recover myself, and now that I’m back, I think more than anything, I just want a blank canvas to say “Okay, here’s who I am and what I’m about.”
Anyway, my new account is https://twitter.com/Zoe_Whitten, and if you want to follow me there, I’d love to have you as a guest on this new journey. For right now, if you’re a follower of my old account, you’ll notice I’m mirroring tweets on both accounts. So if you follow me on the new account, feel free to unfollow the old one. No need for duplicate tweets in your stream, yeah?
After January, I’ll close the old account and shift all my links on my blog and other social sites to reflect the change. I could do this all at once, but among the other 947 followers hiding out among the ad-bots, there are people I talk to and I want to give them time to see the change coming and decide if they want to follow me over to my new stream. We all know how fast that stream moves, so they might not see the first few announcements that this is happening. If they miss all the announcement, or if they decide not to make the move with me, I’ll miss them. But I guess that’s what makes every move bittersweet, losing touch with friends.
It’s a little scary starting from zero. I can’t be sure if I’ll get back up to my high mark of 2,500 followers, before the numbers scaled back and then began a seemingly eternal ebb and flow. But I think that maybe if I do what I’ve been doing here on the blog and give folks a reason to want to visit, with a little work and effort I might blow past 2,500 and get back to building my audience instead of struggling to reach the followers I already have.
Or, that’s the general plan, anyway. We’ll see how it goes in a year or three.