The Smoky Poet

The Pitmaster, Poet & Storyteller

Dear Twitter

Dear Twitter

By on August 15, 2013

I’m having a much better Twitter day than yesterday.

As a follow from yesterday’s post, I’m having a bad Twitter day, it appears that calm and order have been restored to the Twittersphere.

To recap, a strange thing occurred yesterday around 12:00pm Central Time. All of the 60,000 plus “tweeps” I was following were automatically un-followed as well as all of the 110,000 plus “peeps” following me, automatically un-followed me.

I thought to myself, “What did I do?” I don’t spam folks, I don’t use an auto-direct message function and do not auto-follow back “tweeps”.

I was however still able to tweet and retweet and didn’t receive any message from Twitter indicating my account had been suspended.

I changed my password, revoked access to all of my third-party applications and sat quietly having a little bit of a panic attack.

I emailed and tweeted to various Twitter accounts and did not receive an official confirmation of what exactly had happened. Therefore I’m left to only speculate that it was a systems issue. Perhaps a function of unforeseen growth or perhaps because I use a fair amount of rich media with photos and videos.

Egotistically, I like to think I crashed their system. Of course not, I’m just joking.

Around 3:00pm CT, my “followees” were returned and my those “followers” were starting to return. By around 4:00pm CT yesterday, nearly all of my followers were returned, but the damage had been slightly done.

I received numerous tweets from people saying that I had un-followed them and since the rules of engagement are a tit-for-tat, I was un-followed by those folks. No worries, I do the same.

As of today, I’ve lost about 0.40% of my follower base. In the grand scheme of things, not too bad. Twitter purges fake accounts and bots all of the time.

One of the minor side-effects of this ordeal has been all of the auto “new follower” direct messages I have been receiving. Unfortunately, it has been an inordinate amount. Yet thankfully, with the recent iPhone and iPad Twitter updates, the ability to delete on on device, now deletes on my desktop as well as my iPad. Whew! Otherwise, until recently I would have had to delete this same message three times.

However, this situation did make me pause a bit.

Like someone fighting an addiction, I confess I am AppDicted. I mainly use Twitter as my “news” outlet, my one stop source for all of my daily information needs.

“Why was this happening to me?” I thought to myself.

I then thought of Simon Sinek and that I was correct in starting with this “Why?”

However, the right question should be, “Why am I so concerned?”

Then the answer hit me: Dopamine.

Let’s rewind a bit, to July 31, 2013, where I had the fortunate opportunity to speak at the North By Midwest Summit, sponsored by the OLSON Agency.

One of the keynote speakers was Simon Sinek. I also confess, I hadn’t heard of Simon Sinek. In fact, I don’t spend much time on YouTube, I really don’t know much about TED Talks, which I noticed were mentioned in my Twitter lists, but had yet to watch one myself.

Leading up to the summit, I began to reach out to my co-speakers of this summit, to try to engage them in dialogue. Several tweets were sent and many of the other speakers engaged in dialogue via Twitter. That is what Twitter is for after all, right? Engagement.

As Sinek began to speak, I was quite enamored with his presentation.

As a true “Renaissance Man” myself, I have an unusual background blending science, finance and poetry. I quickly grasped the concepts Sinek was speaking about pertaining to certain chemicals in our body that helps us to react certain ways. “Why do we get sad?” or “Why do we get angry?” and “Why do we care which ‘circle of trust’ we are in or out?”

Sinek explained that individual biology and physiology have specific chemicals in our body, one of which is dopamine. He further discussed that dopamine is the certain pleasurable feeling when all receive when we seek and receive rewards. All of us get this dopamine hit when we do positive things or get “attaboys” in our work place or home environment. “Great job on the presentation” equates to a dopamine hit. “Thanks for taking out the garbage honey” equals another dopamine hit.

There it was. Sitting in front of me the whole time. I had my answer. Although I didn’t know it at the time, dopamine relates to my bad Twitter day yesterday.

Let me briefly explain. I lead a stressful work and home life. I run a couple of different companies and I’m looking out for others and encouraging and giving the “attaboys” and releasing dopamine on my colleagues. I also try to put my family needs in front of my own. Yep, more dopamine hits released.

However, what about the non-personal dopamine hits we can receive through social media versus face-to-face interations? I asked Simon Sinek this question as it pertains to social media random acts of kindness. He was somewhat dismissive saying that it was more about the retweet, versus the act itself. But for me, when I write poetry and receive a like, retweet, a favorite or am followed by a brand, celebrity or individual, I also receive the dopamine hit that Simon Sinek referred to in his presentation.

It makes me happy. It keeps me sane.

I write poetry purely for myself to combat the stress in my life.

For me, living in a virtual world of social media, I know I am AppDicted. So when Twitter was having issues yesterday, I was panicked. I didn’t know what to do. Fear set in. Momentary depression set in.The other chemicals Simon Sinek referred to were coarsing through my veins and into my brain.

While not a crisis to most people, my Twitter feed and my poems represent a significant amount of internal reflection, which in a technological hiccup, suddenly had ceased.

As Published on Medium