I’ve been on the internet my entire life. I remember my first introduction to it in the same kind of visual flashes that I remember learning to ride a bike in, that I remember elementary school in. I can see the room it happened in. If you broke me down to my constituent parts you’d find the internet amongst the rubble right next to things like comics and reading in bed and taking a quick sip of water from the fridge if I’m gonna stand up anyway, you’d find it next to whistling along to music and the vague belief that if I sat down at a piano I’d be quite good at it despite having never touched a piano in my life. There is no “me” without the internet. But that doesn’t mean I can’t define “the internet” however I damn well like.
I was on Twitter for sixteen years. Literally half, at 32, of my entire life. It’s not easy to be 16. But Twitter made it easier, because Twitter was where I found my people. Some people must never find theirs, and I can feel it chafe when I try to make new friends online, now. Not that I don’t manage. But when I was 16, somehow, we were all in the right place at the right time. I– We– The sheer luck that we found each other.
In the end, then, what I resent about what happened to Twitter, first slowly, over years of time, and then, more recently, very quickly, is that it’s still there. It’s called something else now, and I knew, in my heart, even before the most recent turn, that it would never feel like it used to again, because I’m 32 instead of 16, and because, frankly, it was weird that the website where we talked about what we had for dinner also had elected politicians and famous people and literal criminals on it in a way it didn’t always. I knew I could never go home again, but it sucks that it’s still there. It sucks that it feels like I could still go there. It sucks that I could go there and for a little while know where all the doors go without it feeling like I have to know which ones are the exits just in case it all goes wrong. I’m not easily upset, but I’m upset.
Because it sucks that it’s still there.
There is no “me” without the internet. But there is a “me” without Twitter. There’s gonna have to be.