By Chelsea Kuchik
I‘ve been a part of the twitter-verse for some time now, but the relationship has been touch and go. In freshman year of college, my social media peak (I’m talking 3-4 Facebook posts a day. Yes, I was that girl.) a friend recommended I use twitter as an outlet for all of this “expression” I was spamming via Facebook.
Yes, the truth was harsh, but honest. I eventually came to really like the beauty of twitter, the ability to subscribe yourself to all these little blips of…whatever, really.
I could follow @seinfeldquotes, @sprinkleschicago, @evilhag (Aubrey Plaza), and all my friends in one place. Scrolling through for a good laugh or a possible codeword for a free cupcake while sitting on the train, or being able to post my sassy witticisms made the app something I thoroughly enjoyed.
Or at least, that’s how it was.
As a journalism major, or just a young adult slowly hurtling towards the “adult world,” things started to come into perspective. I started to learn twitter wasn’t just a place to dump Facebook status overflow, or sassy things you didn’t want everyone to read.
For one assignment I had to try to reach a journalist for an interview. I wrote a nicely worded and well thought out email, and waited. No response. I told my teacher and she quickly responded “Tweet ’em! Retweet and comment on their stories! Tweet ’em!” Let’s just say it was a shock. A 40-something year old woman was telling me I was using social media wrong. The world spun.
Long story short, I had no clue what to do. How could I reconcile this sassy twitter persona, who I felt was me, with professional writer Chelsea, who was another version of me? I wasn’t sure I could be both in one place. Could the girl who tweeted “omg everyone is a dumb idiot today” (not my most eloquent moment, but it was a rough day, okay?) also tweet links to her articles and comment on important hard news?
I did what any normal 20-something would do, avoided the problem. I created a second account.
Is it harder to manage? Sure. Do I feel safer from future employers or teachers judging me based off of my “trying to be as funny as Mindy Kaling but not quite there” tweets? Definitely.
Overall, I feel like my twitter experience does mirror many topics covered by Nicholas Carr and then disputed by Clay Shirky. On the one hand, my on/off again relationship has ebbed and flowed with my beliefs not only as a person, but as a fledgling journalist. Do I want to think that I know the news because I read a headline? (Because let’s be honest, how many times do you actually follow that link?) Do I really want my thoughts to be turned into English mush, where even hard news can look like a tween tweeted it?
Not only that, but like Eli Pariser said in his TedTalk, am I subscribing to a universe where I only hear what I want? No wonder I was trying to tweet like Mindy Kaling, hers and similar twitters were all I was really following.
So maybe I am only seeking what I want, but maybe that’s why twitter is so popular.
Maybe my “avoidance” of the split-personality issue was actually the answer to another problem. By subscribing to two universes: funny and professional, personal and public, I haven’t completely eliminated my information bubble, but I’ve certainly had to expand it.