It’s been over a month since I’ve involuntarily left Twitter. I don’t think I have enough thoughts about this for a full-blown newsletter, but I did want to say some stuff about how my internet life has been since its demise. It was such a huge part of my life, as silly as that sounds, so it’s important to talk about what’s changed.
I made sure to document the last remnants of how my profile looked before being suspended. We ended at 5500 followers and a vaguely depressing first line discouraging people to follow me: “this is an astrology account now.”
I hated Twitter.
I’ve always hated social media. I don’t really do too well at the more pictorial based ones, but the social media websites that revolve around words… hoo boy. I say it’s a curse, others say it’s a blessing, but I know that if I put in a modicum of effort in any growing text-based medium, I can get a following.
Then, followers beget followers, I hate myself, I despise every single thing I’ve ever publicly said, then I delete it in a rage. This is the first time I haven’t rage-deleted my profile, although rage led to the deletion of my profile. This cycle has been going on for a decade now.
So, it’s been over a month since I was suspended. How has it been?
It’s been simultaneously the worst and the best timing imaginable. I feel sick when I think about how much negativity I exposed myself to on Twitter. There was not enough positivity to make up for it. It weighed on my soul to log into that app and be involved in that community every day. I can only imagine how heightened that anxiety would be during covid19 and shelter-in-place orders.
I’m doing great with shelter-in-place. I’m calm, I’m hanging out with friends in video games, I’m reading a lot. My internet distraction is writing 2000 word stream-of-consciousness essays here and binging celebrity gossip on YouTube. It’s private, there’s no disgust at people finding my rage to be funny, there’s no one misunderstanding who I am. This stream-of-consciousness with unlimited character counts and no readers is exactly who I am. Hello stalkers, meet Radhika — a rambling, film-obsessed, vegan girl.
So, mental wise, hobby wise, output wise, I’m doing the best I ever have. I don’t regret Twitter. We were in an abusive relationship, but I really needed it when I moved to the Bay Area. It served its purpose to me, at great personal cost.
There’s some lingering doubts in my head, though. In my announcement of Twitter closing my account, I said that unless something went catastrophically wrong, I wouldn’t ever plan to publicly job search again.
Well… Something has gone catastrophically wrong, and my job, just like everyone else’s in the country, is no longer guaranteed. It’d be great to have 5500 potential referrals instead of the 900 who are subscribed to my newsletter. The worst part about the newsletter is that I expect those numbers will shrink. Newsletters as a marketing medium aren’t really known for massive growth. I just hope that I have the sort of career that I’d expect your average UC Berkeley (my fake alumnus) CS grad to have. They don’t need Twitter. I hope I don’t, either.
It’s a worrying time to lose it. I don’t think I would’ve been okay last year without Twitter. I just hope the same isn’t said for this year. I want to believe that my in-person network, LinkedIn, and resume will stand on their own. I have 2 years of experience now, dammit, that has to mean something! (It won’t until I’m 3 years in, I think.)
If my job survives this pandemic, I know I’ll never need Twitter again. If.
So, let’s talk about the two things that came out of Twitter: my newsletter and this blog.
Isn’t it interesting how it all went back to long-form, barely edited writing? It always does.
The newsletter was the best idea I’ve ever had. It initially came out of a need to vent, but it grew into my real voice. People who followed me for a long time knew that Twitter was mostly a joke to me, and that my real thoughts about the industry came out in my newsletter. Some of the topics I’ve covered are the discrimination I faced, burnout and fear of a caste system in tech, an extremely detailed deep dive of my last job search, and real thoughts on how to actually get ahead.
I think it’s the most valuable non-technical content being made by someone early in their career. A lot of folks seem to agree.
I hope that it’ll be a valuable networking gateway for me. I’m not so sure it will, though. For now, it’s at least a gateway to a voice. So much of my writing has come out of frustration, and I really need that once every few months. It’s extremely low commitment (~5 hours a month) and I think it’s been extremely useful to people.
Secondly, this blog. I think it’s interesting how both of these writing avenues came out of feeling suffocated.
People have been telling me to start a personal blog like this for years as an outlet for all my myriad thoughts about media. I’ve often felt a desire to do so, but I always wanted to do so as a life wiki. I even tried this idea when I was 16.
Basically, I’m trying to create a personal database, and I want to put my whole life into it, without it becoming my life. I want to look back in one year, five years, even fifty years, and find an amazing plethora of writings that shows my own progress, growth, and change. This was all inspired by this quote:
“What sort of writing could you create if you worked on it (be it ever so rarely) for the next 60 years? What could you do if you started now?” —Gwern
I want to start with this as early as I can. I’m nearly 17. I can record my experiences at my first job, my first time outside of my house and city, and my first time being truly lost. I’m very excited about the possibilities for this, and I hope you join me and see how this goes.
This is going to be long-term, even if the format, the design, the host, or even the world changes. I have the website backed up in 3 different places, just in case. Rmorabia.com is coming with me, wherever I go.On the Website Redesign, May 23rd, 2014
The personal side of this became too much too fast. It turns out, as someone who has no social media (Twitter was professional!), I find the process of sharing my personal life online extremely difficult. How do you figure out what’s important while it’s happening? How do you have time to write down what’s important while it’s happening? What if you don’t want to remember the important things?
I started this website because I was feeling way too much pressure from Goodreads and Twitter. Goodreads felt like the “currently reading” list was following me wherever I went. My private Twitter started to feel like I was just using it to talk about really random stuff just to talk about something that wasn’t what was going on in my timeline on my main. I needed an outlet.
I wanted a blog.
I really just wanted a tumblr. I wanted a place to talk about whatever I wanted, mostly media, in a shorter-form way, that I could also do on mobile.
I remember logging into tumblr every day when I was 13, eager to consume the new content, but also eager to write 300-character updates about my personal life that 2-5 friends would comment on or ask me about. That 1-2 year span on tumblr was the most beautiful social media experience I have ever had.
Tumblr is …dead, so long-live WordPress’ mobile experience. I paid $48 for 4 years of very shady hosting, and here we are. I’m committed.
I decided to not put any stringent pressure on myself to have any deadlines or content restrictions. I can publish anything that I would’ve wanted to share on Twitter. Thoughts on Inception, a movie I finally finished for the first time 10 years after it came out. My favorite song right now! Something I’m thinking about!
Most of my posts have been written on my phone. Now that I’m working from home, there’s more of an instinct to write long pieces like this. I’m sure this will stop soon.
I’m really enjoying just tracking the things at this pace. I no longer use Goodreads. The only tracking site I still use is Letterboxd because I’ve never felt much pressure from it anyway. I still want to watch movies and note that I’ve seen these movies. I don’t necessarily have much to say about a lot of the movies I watch.
I’ve been having a good time on the internet, far away from all social media. I hope I don’t have to put myself in harm’s way just to make it in the tech industry again.