“Twitter is my grass” is a phrase I never thought I’d utter
I used to believe that I had a healthy relationship with social media. Facebook updates only happen when family reunions need immortalizing, and a new Instagram post only occurs when I need a portfolio update. (Instagram stories are another situation.) My main Twitter profile only gets opened once in a blue moon. But my private account? She sees my day-to-day thoughts and holds all my secrets. She gives me the news like a newspaper informs someone with a better sleep routine and stands as a springboard for most of my pitches before they come to life as stories. So it’s totally normal that I spend a lot of time there, right? Wrong. It turns out that I have an unhealthy Twitter dependence, thanks to last weekend’s fiasco about rate limits.
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You can imagine my panic when the “rate limit exceeded” page appeared instead of a fresh new batch of memes and K-pop boy updates, AKA the main occupants of my Twitter use. I thought, “Was I suspended? Am I going to lose this account for good? That can’t happen!” Immediately, I checked if my barrage of rage statements from the night prior would get my account suspended. Thankfully I wasn’t that rebellious in private, and I wasn’t the only one losing my mind over the fact that I couldn’t refresh my timeline. But things unfolded, and Elon Musk announced a daily post limit among Twitter users.
Sensing how unfair it is for a free app to do this and feeling a hole form in my day-to-day routine, I wrote a statement I never thought I would type out, let alone utter, in this lifetime: “BUT TWITTER IS MY GRASS.”
Twitter = grass?
To break it down, “touch grass” is a statement that has become a call for help in a post-pandemic era. It indicates that someone has spent so much time online that they need to unplug and refresh around nature. But by definition, I have been caressing so much grass thanks to work events, friend catch-ups and out-of-town trips that social media has become my reprieve from real life. A silly little happy pill when the going gets tough or the waiting time has become too long. Soon after, the rate limits made me upset, uneasy and lost about what else I should do in my spare time that doesn’t involve hitting the like button or retweeting. My day felt empty without mindlessly scrolling through blocks of text, chuckling because of another Hurt Copain banger Tweet—that’s what made me realize that the roles have reversed. Twitter has become my grass, if the 15-hour and 50-minute total of Twitter weekly screen time is any indication.
So, after reevaluating this weird emptiness without my beloved blue bird, I realized that this Twitter dependence of mine is crazy unhealthy. Something that I can’t exactly excuse, such as how my caffeine intake dictates my productivity. Everyone and I can say that Twitter in moderation is fine. In times of calamity, distress and solidarity, best believe that many people are ready to show up by Tweet or by force. But to rely on the bird app for most of my serotonin boosts and feel like something is missing when the platform no longer cuts it? It’s high time for me to undergo a detox.
How’s the detox going?
TBH, not fine. Letting my feelings out in a journal has been fun, but not as straightforward or as fast when drafting a 10-Tweet thread that goes on a tangent for three of these. My solution to using Twitter is jumping between my phone’s app, my phone’s Safari browser and then my laptop—whichever gets rate limited first. But it got tiring later in the day, so now I’m confident that my Twitter usage has significantly decreased.
Nonetheless, I still need my mindless scrolling and pop culture updates, somewhat satisfied by the clock app. My Twitter time may have bled on to TikTok and Instagram, but they don’t scratch the same itch. Plus, all the videos and photos and sounds can get noisy after a certain period. So if you were to ask me, I don’t mind getting used to these changes. Especially when it forces me to put my phone down and enjoy my surroundings. Try a new TikTok recipe! Take a hot girl walk and reach 10,000 steps! Walk my dog! I now have reasons to use my time wisely.
But I admit—it’s a reach to say that I might use my phone less as the week develops. I know that I’ll still find ways to consume my silly little pop culture spaces one way or another. Heck, I might just take Tumblr up on their offer.
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But it’s only been two days since it happened—and we aren’t sure how long thing swill stay this way. Will I find another social media platform that will take up all of my time? Perhaps. Will I finally be free of the shackles of Twitter dependence because I’ll never find a platform that will come close? Maybe. The only thing I’m certain of is that I haven’t touched, caressed and eaten enough grass to make me survive without this platform. So as I attempt to reset my habits, this just might transform into a “how to quit Twitter” endeavor.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver