On the Internet

I began my Sunday ordinarily enough. My husband and I lovingly annoyed our dog until she woke up; I made coffee; I watched Nathan Chen win another National Figure Skating title. And then I sat down at my computer, fresh to-do list at my side, but instead of doing anything on said list I typed the following into my browser’s search bar:

What is Wordle?

“what is wordle,” 2022, honest question on screen, K. Markovich.

I’m generally pretty good at keeping up with “things,” but I swear I blinked and everyone was posting tiny colored tiles and talking mad shit to each other on social media. Imagine my surprise when I found out a game about words had been out for 3 whole days and I’d yet to engage. (Also, quick gripe: Searching “what is wordle” does not actually yield a link to Wordle. I had to sift through about a dozen articles that all explained that Wordle is a hot new word game, but not a direct link to be found. Thanks for nothing, criminally underpaid freelance writers!) So anyway, after I found Wordle, I did it! See?

Now I’m part of society again. And I’ll be honest: it feels good. Until tomorrow, of course, when something else happens on the internet and I’m yet again late to the draw.

I struggle with how much I want to be involved with the Internet. On the one hand, I don’t want to be here. Really, truly, please believe me (me, a person who has blogged semi-steadily since like 2008, I honestly don’t want to be here!). But to be a writer, you have to be on the Internet. You just do. I attended a writing conference in 2012 and at one of the panels, an audience member asked: Do I really have to be on Twitter? Like me, this audience member was (presumably) asking for permission to not engage, to remain head-down in their work and not have to Be a Brand on the Internet. Seemingly without even considering the question, though, all the panelists nodded in unison and offered a resounding “YUP.” For what it’s worth, these panelists were not “young”; in fact, they were an older generation of writers who probably didn’t want to be on Twitter either. But they laid out the truth for us, point-blank, let us know that if they were jumping on board then we should, too. Besides, it’s not that hard to Tweet, right?

But I find that it is! I don’t like it there. It’s strange: I am definitely a verbal person (as opposed to visual) but I much prefer Instagram. I put pressure on myself to be GOOD at the WORDS and then I look at a blinking Twitter cursor and I think, “I know, I’ll subtly refer to an article I assume we all read BUT THEN I will use that to further refer to a bad but obscure movie” and I hit “Tweet” and then I have the nerve to get disappointed that no one liked it. (To be fair, a very famous person could Tweet something similar and it would end up on the front page of The Cut.) I have quit Twitter so many times. In fact, I seem to remember a particularly self-righteous Tweet in 2019 in which I declared that I vowed to spend more time listening instead of constantly inserting myself into conversations. To be fair, I remember feeling gross and overwhelmed at the assumption that I, personally, needed to say more in a fraught political/cultural landscape. (Hello, yes, I know that 2022 is still not perfect, but I’m just saying!) So I announced that I was LEAVING and nobody stopped me and then I legitimately did not look at Twitter again until 2021.

I went back to Twitter because…I missed the world? I think I touched on this the last time I blogged (which was also a long time ago), but the pandemic has made me miss people in specific, gutting ways that I didn’t know possible. I haven’t lived in the same state as many family and friends in almost 10 years now, but the impossibility of traveling/gathering sent me spiraling. I will never see you again bounced around in my head like a screensaver any time I saw people I loved on my phone screen. Those pictures, still moments on Instagram, felt too frozen. Too final and untouchable. So one day I opened Twitter on my computer (because it had been long deleted from my phone) and I saw that my friends were still having conversations, still talking about movies and sports and politics, still existing in the present. Movement was happening somewhere. So I Tweeted. I asked Twitter what I had missed in the year and a half since I’d been there, and almost immediately people responded. I remember feeling very emotional, perfectly shocked at the serotonin coursing through my stubborn brain. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it felt good to be seen. I didn’t know I needed it, but that stupid app that truly does more harm than good had it.

Which brings me to now. I deleted the app from my phone again. It’s been a good year of reconnecting, but now I hate it again! What can I say, life has seasons and all that. (Also, if you linked to this post via Twitter then yes, I can see where you might be confused/tempted to point out my hypocrisy, but I’m back to Twitter ONLY on desktop, baby! Balance and what not.) Maybe I will blog more (shout out to my seven fans), a medium I do truly enjoy, because I find that I need the time and space to fully explain myself. For example, I needed 1000 words to tell you that I learned what Wordle is and that Twitter is my nemesis. But I think that’s fine. I can whiff on Twitter and know that it’s okay, because this blog exists (and so does my beloved ‘gram and hey! this podcast I wrote!) But I resolve to lean into the Internet, which is so asinine to see typed out, but I’ll try. I will be here if I need to be here! My online presence will be what I make it, for better or for worse, on this website that badly needs redesigned but it’s mine-all-mine, name attached to it and all.

3 thoughts on “On the Internet”

  1. Twitter is where people go to be miserable and share their misery. Instagram is where people go to try to show themselves and others they aren’t miserable. Healthy people stay away from it all, I assume. (I don’t really know, I don’t know any healthy people). I’ve pretty much eliminated Instagram from my life, but Twitter just speaks to my miserable side (and has the best memes).

    1. 100% agree–Twitter is for shouting, Instagram is for pretending you’ve never shouted in your life. I need both the rawness and the pretense. And re: the memes on Twitter, that’s what ultimately keeps me there!

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