A little room to breathe

The thing I’ve always loved about the people I follow on Twitter is what they bring to my timeline: their curation, perspective, and criticism helps me learn. They bring a variety no editor can, but of late, my timeline has become rather unidimensional: it’s almost entirely about politics and news, and the OOTD (Outrage of the day). The problem with the outrage is that it usually makes for great conversation, and now dominates offline conversations if you have many friends who are active on Twitter. Which I do. I don’t want to be the one asking ‘so, what exactly happened?’, which is true of many of us.

But we need room to breathe, to think. Something a mentor said in a conversation earlier this month: he schedules his email and news reading because he needs contiguous free time to think. I also feel we need contiguous free time to do, which is a luxury that someone in my line of work (entrepreneur + journalist) doesn’t get.

So how do we deal with this? We take social media breaks, and schedule our usage, and block people who do the telemarketer thing: poor targeting with no respect for the other persons time.

Scheduling doesn’t quite address the other compelling problem. One thing that @mrajshekhar said to me a few years ago constantly worries me: at a time when I had become completely consumed with medianama, so much so that it was the only thing I’d talk about, Shekhar told me that I need to change, lest I become too unidimensional, which I never was. I’ve tried, not always successfully, but I’ve tried and keep trying.

The same thing, though, is happening on Twitter: the people I follow have become too newsy and too caught up in things of immediate concern (not necessarily of immediate importance). There are those who’re constantly posturing, sermonising, outraging, whether through tweets or retweets.

I was discussing this with Rishi Majumder in Mumbai, when we met at the Prithvi Theatre Festival: Twitter used to be my primary source for gigs, and for interesting things to do. Now, I invariably miss these gigs because of the flood of news, even from friends. I’m going to do two things, and I hope people won’t mind: I need more than a little room to breathe, and to discover more stuff that doesn’t feel like work. News does.

The third thing is that for my own sanity, I need a bit of positivity around me. There are people who’re negative and bring you down by what they say, not just to you. Then there are those who are positive, and make you believe that good things are possible. I need that bubble right now.

I’m going to create two lists: one for newsy folks, and one for temporarily unfollowed, for those who are going on a rant. This means I’m going to unfollow some people, and can only hope that they don’t treat it like a break-up (I’ve had that happen to me thrice already).

Then I’m going to follow people who do the artsy thing, because that’s the part that’s being crowded out.

p.s.: In case it wasn’t evident, I think I’m becoming to newsy too. Time for me to change too.

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1 Comment

  1. I know what you are talking about. I have been a workaholic, not because the work demanded but it is cos of love for the internet. The curiosity, the itch to be updated and hear whatever is being talked about. Being in the kind of space I am in, the work might come anytime and an awareness of that always kept me on my toes.

    It has been a conscious choice for last one year, I try not to think about work or handle work related issues over the weekend. May be give couple of hours on weekends. I tend to have more time to explore my hobbies or give more time to friends. Recently, I can see myself moving away from Twitter which demands more real time attention and moving to Reddit, which has lot more content to learn and practice.

    Also, one thing which I learned very early – Never indulge yourselves with people who are there just because of one thing, and that is their agenda. One dimensional profiles arent much help.

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