My Apology to Facebook for Cheating with Twitter
October 24, 2018 § 9 Comments
I’m sorry I cheated with Twitter. I know you think all the years we spent together don’t mean anything to me. All the likes and loves and angry and funny emojis, all the exploding congratulations and mazel tovs—don’t think I didn’t notice how hard you worked to make a Jew like me feel comfortable on your site. And who can forget all the times we reduced meaningful issues to profile frames together? Not me, Facebook, not me. You let me go on and on, no matter how boring or tired or offensive I became. You never cut me off. Never showed me how many characters I had left or that I had used too many, so no, you wouldn’t post my tweet. How could I give all that up? For what?
I didn’t mean to stray, but I guess no one ever does. It started small, just a few retweets while I waited for a barista to make my coffee. I have a book coming out, and I thought, what’s the harm in doing more than one social media channel? I thought I’d spread the love. I thought you’d never find out. And Twitter was funny! I’m not saying you’re not funny, Facebook, of course you are. It’s just your sense of humor is a little like my Aunt Roslyn’s. Videos of talking dogs? They’re funny, Facebook, just not that funny. You’re like my hometown, filled with people I’ve always known. I’m comfortable around you. But Twitter was like the big city, teeming with strangers whose tweets I might never see again. Twitter was exciting. Twitter was edgy. And the chance to go viral on Twitter? Do you know what that could mean for a writer? The woman who wrote the cat story got a million dollar advance for a book of short stories not so different from mine. How could I resist?
And then there was that whole Cambridge Analytica privacy situation, Facebook, and the election. I started to wonder if I really knew you. I know. It’s no excuse. You were always there for me. You cared about my memories. You kept my posts around for days. With Twitter, it’s wham bam thank you ma’am. Before you know it, you’re old news.
You’re nice, Facebook. Really nice. But what woman can resist a bad boy? The thing is, you don’t have to worry anymore. I got burned by Twitter too often. Tweets liked by only one follower, the same one who always liked my tweets, the one with only 17 followers. Tweets no one liked—no one!—that I deleted, hoping they’d be forgotten. The times I retweeted my own tweet in desperation, telling myself there’d been some mistake, that people had just missed it somehow. I’m not proud of myself. But I’ve gotten help. I installed one of those Twitter blocking apps on my laptop. It’s true, I can still see Twitter on my phone. But I hardly ever check. Maybe once when I wake up. And occasionally during lunch. You’ll hardly even know I’m on there. Really.
Facebook, I miss those sappy videos you put together to remind me I’m friends with people I already know I’m friends with. You think Twitter would ever make me something like that? Please take me back. Don’t make me return to Twitter. I can’t keep up with the feed.
Yours Forever If You’ll Have Me,
R.L Maizes‘ short story collection, We Love Anderson Cooper, is forthcoming in July from Celadon Books/Macmillan. Her stories have aired on National Public Radio and have appeared in the literary magazines Electric Literature, Witness, Bellevue Literary Review, Slice, and Blackbird, among others. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Lilith, and elsewhere. She was born and raised in Queens, New York, and now lives in Boulder, CO, with her husband, Steve, and her muses: Arie, a cat who was dropped in the animal shelter’s night box like an overdue library book, and Rosie, a dog who spent her first year homeless in South Dakota and thinks Colorado is downright balmy.