17 November 2020
Do you have that special place or moment where your brain is free to wander, where you feel more at peace than anywhere else? For me, that has been—for several years now—the thirty minutes between when I get up in the morning and when my kids get up. A peanut butter bagel, a cup of coffee, and for longer than I'd like to admit, doom scrolling through Twitter.
Wait. That doesn't seem peaceful, does it? The bagel, great. The coffee, awesome. Twitter, increasingly terrible. Twitter breathes life into the saying "slippery slope." What once was a utilitarian tool slipped into a mindless addiction engine. That then turned into doom-seeking behavior. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of bad shit happening in the world. But Twitter doesn't solve the problems that lead to that bad shit.
When I first joined Twitter in 2013—late to the party, I know. But I did so strictly to follow baseball news. I had started a blog that covered baseball injuries and it became popular among fantasy baseball players. Getting instant access to baseball news was critical, so Twitter was the perfect solution.
Later, as I grew into creative writing and went through my MFA program, Twitter became my source for #Writing news and updates. It's where I learned about literary journals, shared links to my published stories, and where I learned about the stories and books others were releasing.
And as I began starting my own companies, Twitter became a marketing channel. I could reach thousands of people quickly and efficiently. Any new product I released, I could tweet about it. Even if it resulted in just a few link clicks, that was worth the literally 5 seconds of effort.
Yet, throughout each of these cycles of Twitter usage, my Twitter bubble grew beyond the self-contained topics I was interested in. It grew into a true news feed. Journalists, bloggers, news publications filled my timeline. The bubble became a doom bubble.
If you don't recognize this about social media, and I'm sure you do, just look at all the people who say something like "taking a break from twitter, see you in a couple months." How healthy can the thing you are using be if you have to take months away from it because of the mental strain it has caused? And yet, despite seeing the warning signs, I consciously chose to continue using Twitter.
On a whim, while sitting at the dining room table Sunday morning, I held my finger down on the Twitter app on my phone until a screen popped up asking if I'd like to delete the app. I clicked delete, and it was gone. I've been documenting how each day has gone without Twitter here on Indie Hackers. But I've discovered something interesting. Things I would normally share on Twitter don't have their traditional home.
Realizing only recently that I could send emailed posts (like a newsletter) to members of my site right from the blogging interface, I thought it might be cool to start a weekly newsletter of the things I would have shared on Twitter. I promise the intro to each week won't be this long, and in that vein, I'll keep the things I share short this week.
My sister lives in Portland and has seen the protests and police brutality that came along with those protests first-hand. She shared with me this documentary (WHICH IS ONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH TODAY).
Considering the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, the light shined on police brutality, and the awakening to a larger socio-economic problem in our country, this documentary will surely be an important one in helping understand not just how the American people have found their voice but how Portland, Oregon helped lead the discovery.
In removing Twitter from my phone, I have found myself directly visiting sites more frequently. In fact, I've done this enough that I have begun "installing" these apps on my home screen. Despite progressive web apps (PWA) becoming more and more standard, not many sites make use of the technology and that's a shame. So, here are some resources on PWA:
Is Discourse the Key to Growth?
As you may have noticed, I do not have comments on my blog. This is because I want to share information, and I don't necessarily think the discussions that may be attached to what I share help me or anyone else grow. This comes from years of watching the comments sections of various platforms. It comes from the fact that we have all heard the phrase Don't Read The Comments. And yet, as was pointed out to me by someone on IndieHackers, platforms like Reddit thrive and maintain mostly civilized discourse through comments.
So I leave you with the question: Do you grow as a person through learning without discussion or by reading and participating in the discussions associated with what you are learning?
That's all for my first week of this. I hope this is enjoyable. I hope you'll share it. And I hope it doesn't cause you to drop your membership on my site 🙂.