I’ve been slow to the Twitter party for the usual reasons, but have finally found my niche. It turns out that @dropkickjeffy is the sad, neurotic clown who exorcises unfulfilled stand-up comedy demons by typing snarky non sequiturs then stewing in silence when no one tells me how clever I am.
Every quip, whether dashed off in haste or crafted with care, sits there, waiting to be noticed and judged in Twitterland, a busy and loud province that simply does not give a shit. And though I keep lobbing jokes, the chances are high that they will be lost in the noise. It’s like grabbing the mic at a wedding reception.
When I crack wise to actual people right in front of me and hear nothing in response but crickets, at least I know I’ve bombed and can move on. With Twitter, I wait. And I torture myself, hitting “Connect” over and over like a mouse waiting for a food pellet, in hopes that someone, anyone, will comment, or retweet, or at the very least, favorite it—the equivalent of polite applause. It’s the most gutless and unsatisfying comedy forum ever. If someone is laughing, I don’t hear it. And silence begets only doubts.
Damn. Why did I tweet that at 8:15 a.m.? No one’s on Twitter at 8:15! No one saw it! That’s why no one responded.
But my East Coast friends, an hour ahead…why didn’t they…?
Maybe I should tweet it again now. Yeah. That’s what I’ll do. It’s 1:15 and everyone’s back from lunch and they’ll like it.
But…what if people saw it before and didn’t think it was funny and now they’ll know I’m begging for approval? Forget it. I’m not posting it again.
Hell, who am I kidding? That quip was too good to just let it fade away. I’m posting it again. There. Done.
Then the whole thing starts all over. Connect… connect….
Sometimes, of course, people do respond. And where I initially feel grateful and kindly toward those who give me feedback, inevitably I start to question their judgment and their motives. Are they sucking up? Do they want something from me? Are they stalkery? Or… good God… do they need my approval more than I need theirs?
When I’m not trying out my brilliant material for people who obviously don’t deserve it, I’m counting my followers. And if someone “important” follows me, like Senator Al Franken or J Mascis (the guitar god from Dinosaur Jr), I refuse to believe that either is simply using social media for their own needs and auto-following whomever follows them. Instead, I fool myself into thinking that J Mascis is really into the Chicago food scene, and Franken finds me so on-target with my pithy observations that he waits by his computer for my bons mots.
While all this is goes on, others put themselves out there on Twitter in much the same way, and I’m so locked into my own mental shitshow that I don’t feel compelled to comment on their Tweets or link myself to them through their words. Because it’s not about them, dammit! It’s about me. Me!
For neurotics no matter how many times you click connect, you will never connect. Because Twitter is not about making a connection. It’s about filling up that deep, deep well of need—one drop of praise at a time. Oh, by the way: don’t forget to follow me @dropkickjeffy. I’m a lot of fun!
Photograph: ajari (CC by 2.0)