It’s been six weeks since I abandoned my primary twitter account. I keep my professional account, and use it to discuss health care delivery and talk to a few close, personal friends. People I know in real life. But I engage in almost no politics and that sort of thing there. Unless you count arguing over science policy, but I think of that as a professional interest, and not really a political one.
A few things have happened. Traffic on this blog is dramatically down. Without tweeting about posting here, I find I get many fewer visitors. Something between half and a third of what I used to. But I’ve also been writing here less, so that’s not surprising. I’ve gone through a little bit in the way of withdrawal. There have been a few events I can’t talk about because it wouldn’t be appropriate to discuss them from an account I use professionally. But fundamentally, that’s ok too. I don’t need to chime in on everything.
There are things I miss about that account. But there are a lot of things I don’t. I might resurrect it. I might not. But if I were to, I’d need to interact there in a new way. Sometimes I bring the account up on my phone and feel myself itching to engage in ways that I’m trying to resist. As long as I feel that way, I don’t belong there.
There’s a deplorable tendency among humans to want other people to change for our own comfort. For our own agendas. It’s nearly universal, and it’s especially virulent in the online academic community. People insist that everyone adhere to the behavioral strictures that satisfy their own sense of well-being. Those who fail to are ridiculed and ostracized. I don’t enjoy participating in that environment. But it’s an environment with a critical mass of adherents. So it persists.
I cannot change it to suit my own comfort. The only appropriate response is to disengage. I don’t get to make my community operate the way I want it to. Especially when the thing I dislike about it is that it tries to force everyone to operate the way it wants them too. So I’m staying out.
That’s what sobriety has taught me. We say, in AA, that if I am feeling bad, it’s because something is wrong with me. Even when the insult, the injury, is coming from outside of me, I’m the problem. I need to change the things I can. And usually, that’s just me.