Two ways you might want to read this:
- "Cassandra's starting a personal experiment with Twitter. I'm curious to read how and why she's doing it."
- "Cassandra's starting a personal experiment and I wonder if there are elements of this experiment I want to apply to my own life, whether it be with Twitter, social media, or simply my awesome life that I get to experiment with and choose how to live!"
- Yeah I did write two and this is #3. There's always a third path! I am not into being prescriptive so read this in any way that feels aligned to you!
Maybe you know this about me... for those who don't, a few years ago, I stopped using standard social media.
I don't know what to call it other than "standard"... I honestly kind of like how it sounds so regular and... blah?
For the past year or so, I've actually been contemplating experimenting with Twitter.
This experiment serves as an excellent example of how I move through my own experimental process.
Let's get into it.
I made a Twitter account May 2021. I didn't post anything, made some "retweets."
I was putting my energy into low lift, behind-the-scenes exploration.
Whenever I'd have the urge, probably once every few months, I'd log on and explore around, pondering questions like how are people writing? What are people saying? How are people connecting with one another? How do I feel here in this online community (or rather, ecosystem of communities)?
Two things I've learned about myself
- If I let something simmer long enough and it either keeps tugging at my sleeve or falls away a few times but after each fall it climbs back up my sleeve, I understand it's something I want to do.
- One of the ways I learn best is through trial and error. I don't enjoy the error part that much but I know it's all apart of the package.
So, with Twitter tugging at my sleeve for awhile now, I couldn't simply read about someone else doing the thing I was feeling called to do.
I needed to do it myself.
Before I could accept this experimental invitation, I needed to get curious about my stance on social media.
Because I have had a very clear stance.
- that it offers a distorted sense of reality,
- has done considerable damage to individual humans, our groups and communities, and our social "connective tissue,"
- and perpetrates the assumption that bigger, faster, always on, and more is always, always better.
These aren't simply opinions. They are true.
Though, the more playful, experimental parts of me have been tickling me lately and inquiring whether this stance is the whole story.
These more playful parts of me have also inquired if I want to continually grip onto a sense of "holier than thou" moral superiority.
And that maybe, just maybe..., because I keep getting these inner tugs at my sleeve, I might be yearning to drop the moral superiority and play a little?
The thing is, if the tugs at my sleeve were coming from something in the outer world like pressure from a business coach who said "the only way to make it as an entrepreneur is to be on Twitter!"
I'd definitely ignore those tugs – or more likely, pull the shirt off, throw it as far as I could, and run from that business coach.
Anyone who says there is only one way of doing something is likely not into experimentation.
As of the writing of this note, I'm a week and a few days into the phase of simultaneously jumping in and setting parameters and boundaries.
This phase is simultaneously two elements because parameters and boundaries and being immersed in the experiment are a bit of a "chicken and egg" situation.
I can't fully know what parameters and boundaries I need in place if I've never been in this experimental situation before. And I can't be myself in this experimental situation if I don't have any parameters or boundaries in place.
A boundary I've had since the very beginning is that I exclusively log into Twitter on my laptop. I've never had it on my phone. I log on when I want to post and log off when I'm done. I don't stay logged on – even though Twitter always asks me if I'm sure if I want to log off because I could make my life "easier" and stay logged on.
As I've entered this phase of simultaneously jumping in and setting parameters and boundaries, I am starting to see that this dance of intentional action and intentional boundary+parameter setting can be such a juicy dance.
The keys are...
- to remember this is an experiment and I am the lead experimenter. I call the shots. I can adjust the experiment if and when needed.
- the balance of action and boundary+parameter setting is crucial. Lean too heavily into boundary+parameter setting and it's merely a journaling prompt. Lean too heavily into action and I forget that I'm a nature body and eyes aren't made solely for screens.
- this experiment is one part of a much larger, regenerative ecosystem that is my life and I'm one part of a much larger, regenerative ecosystem that is the home and pack in which I live – larger still, the ecosystem of my human and more-than-human neighborhood and close-by connections, larger still, the city, the Puget Sound, the Pacific Northwest, the country, the continent, the skies, the waters, the volcanoes, the sun, the planet! This experiment does not exist in a silo though it can be helpful to play with it as if it does exist in a silo to sidestep the -whelm of being one small speck of stardust in one of a multitude of universes! Wait... multiverses?
At some point this experiment will shift into a new phase, which might be a phase of closure?
In this present moment, it makes most sense to me to pause the tale here, at my current phase, rather than attempt to write about the unknown.
Do you remember at the very beginning which way you chose to read this note? I honor whichever path you chose!
Below are questions that I'm pondering while moving through this experiment.
Read on if you wish.
As per usual, take what works and leave the rest!
Til next time,
Questions I'm pondering as I move through this experiment
- How does it feel to make and sustain friendships exclusively through the Internet? And even more exclusively through Twitter?
- What are the alternative paths different from the two extremes of fully opting out and fully immersing oneself in a social medium?
- How will this experiment affect my perspective and stance on social media?
- How will this experiment affect my relationships on the Internet (virtual spaces that I have been committed to for awhile now, like this newsletter homebase with you!) and in tangible, in-person form?
- Who will I connect with? Who will I be inspired by? Who will I want to meet in-person? Who will I be turned on by? Who will I want actually become friends with? Who will I want to co-create with?
- Who will resonate with me? Who will I inspire? Who will want to meet me in-person? Who will actually want to become friends with me? Who will want to co-create with me?
- How will the group of people I follow shift over this experiment? Who will I be drawn to more? Who will I shift away from over time?
- Which communities within Twitter will I become involved in?
- Which features of Twitter will I try out? Which user-designed elements will I try out?
- How will intentionally adding social media into my life affect me?
- What boundaries will feel good and aligned to me? Which won't? Which boundaries or parameters will shift over time?
- When will this experiment shift into something else? How will this experiment come to a close?