Just 23 days ago Chrissy Teigen quit Twitter with a short, sweet, and sort of sad missive that read, “My desire to be liked and fear of pissing people off has made me somebody you didn’t sign up for, and a different human than I started out here as! Live well, tweeters. Please know all I ever cared about was you!!!”
Well now, she’s back. I guess if you love something, delete it off your phone, and if you re-download it less than a month later, it was truly meant to be.
Early this morning, Teigen tweeted: “turns out it feels TERRIBLE to silence yourself and also no longer enjoy belly chuckles randomly throughout the day and also lose like 2000 friends at once lol”.
While her feelings are certainly valid, as a person who skulks about the Twitter ethos all day for work, mostly trying to discern what everyone is fighting about and whether that fight needs blogging, I cannot help but notice that roughly 80 percent of all tweets I come across read like cries for help from people trapped in the purgatory of the app, yearning for liberation.
So why don’t we all pull a Teigen and leave? It’s not that easy, especially for media types. Years ago, when I was an aspiring novelist with an agent peddling my little tome around town, I was told that it was possible editors kept almost buying and then passing on my book because my Twitter follower count was in the triple digits. This means I did not bring my own built-in audience for a book, and despite the fact that publishing houses have marketing departments and publicists and all manner of people paid to do the work of announcing a book into the world, it’s also a huge selling point—for women writers especially—if they can flounce in with a lot of blue check followers who might tweet about how good that book is for free. This same scenario has happened to most women writers I know, though oddly enough, every man I know who has sold a novel has been asked nicely by his publisher after cashing that first book check to maybe get some social media accounts. Like, if he wants.
This has very little to do specifically with Chrissy Teigen, a person who was already sort of famous and very, very rich when she started saying funny things to mean people on the bird app (and will continue to be very famous and now very, very, very rich with or without the bird app). But it does have to do with Teigen indirectly, as her (and other Twitter famous women, writers, and women writers) success on the app has taught the media and publishing industries to demand that others replicate that success, even if we, like Teigen, desire to be liked and hate pissing people off a little too much to be any good at the platform.
If my livelihood didn’t depend on my climbing down into that hellmouth every day to lurk and listen to the wails of the damned, you can guaran-fucking-tee I wouldn’t be in there wondering what torments are happening in the eighth circle when it’s a slow news day in the fourth. But it does, and I do, and that’s just the world I live in. Also, don’t forget to follow me, babes! No sense writing another book if no one’s around to tweet it!