Twitter is that enigma that no matter what, I just can’t seem to crack.
Of all the social media outlets that I’m a part of, I’d easily say that Twitter is my favourite platform. I think it’s a really great way to connect with people and stay on top of entertainment and news, but I also feel like it’s a really dangerous platform. The thing about Twitter, like most platforms, is that anyone can join and send out any thought that comes to their mind whether they think it through or not, sometimes spreading out unreliable and harmful information.
And in this platform, of course there are niche communities where people with similar interests come together to talk about the thing they love, and one of those communities is Book Twitter. But in my opinion, there are two different kinds of Book Twitter. One is where authors, bloggers, and readers all come together to support their books and promote themselves (or their blog and website) while the other is generally readers who think of themselves as “connoisseurs” of a certain book and hold their opinion, and likeminded opinions, higher than others; an extension of “stan twitter,” if you will. That’s a side of Twitter I won’t get into and not the Book Twitter that I’ve chosen to talk about today. For me, it’s the former kind that I believe just isn’t for me.
About two weeks ago, I tried a little experiment where I would only use my Book Twitter account (the one linked to this blog) for an entire week and see how I liked it. And honestly? I didn’t like it at all. I felt like I was trying to be someone I’m not, suppressing my actual personality, in order to get people to like me and follow me and all this did was make me feel worse about myself. It reminded me about how I would pretend to not be myself when I was younger so I wouldn’t come off as weird and actually fit in with people I went to school with. It made me feel like I couldn’t be my actual self because no one wants to see that; they just want to see the shiny bookworm persona with a blog to promote.
So this idea that Book Twitter is essentially a community of promotion and fake personalities is a thing I couldn’t make myself get on board with. I felt like what I was seeing was mirror images of what I was trying to do with my own account, but those people were better at faking it than I was. They’re better at promoting their blogs or making sure people look at their opinions and ultimately I felt inferior and insecure because while I wished I could have accounts like theirs, I’d never be able to present myself in that fashion because of how it made me feel. I like to look at Twitter as yet another form of escapism, but being in a community where it’s all about the selling and the promoting, it was like I was right back in the thing I was trying to escape from.
I get why Book Twitter exists. I know what its purpose is for. But because of who I am as a person, I’ve never been able to really get into it. The idea of using the platform as nothing but self-promotion, trying to sell a version of yourself that other people will like, is not something I’m comfortable with. I don’t think it’s wrong that other people use Twitter for this purpose, it’s a great way to connect with others and share your work and passions, but I know that I personally don’t enjoy the platform in that way. That’s just who I am.
I wouldn’t go as far as saying the Book Twitter community is dangerous. It’s full of love and support for readers and authors alike, but I think there’s a sense of danger when it comes to a person’s psyche and a bit of their mental health. At least, it is for my own.
If you feel this way too, maybe try making a more private account where you can find a space that you’re more comfortable in. Twitter is a great platform to have fun and be expressive, and it doesn’t have to be something that stresses you out.
We all use social media differently and it’s best to find a way that allows you to breathe.