How Twitter Saved My Mental Health

My index finger used to scroll through miles of square photos containing evidence of exciting boozy nights out, beachy vacations with significant others, new friends, old friends, glitzy outfits and unnaturally appetizing dinners. Even if I didn’t realize it, my hours of Instagram-induced jealous-swiping took a great toll on my general happiness. At the end of 2017, one of my many random New Year’s resolutions was to “switch the mindless scrolling to Twitter” in 2018. I am forever grateful that this was the one resolution that I actually stuck to, because replacing the intake of highly-edited, fake photos with astute and original thoughts was the best change I’ve ever implemented.

Many people, especially baby boomers, are quick to generalize that all forms of social media are toxic to society. I find this not to be true. Twitter is a realm where doses of realism come to the surface, and to be noticed by the masses, one doesn't have to be a skinny and wealthy influencer.

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On Twitter, you don’t get recognition for posting photos in your bikini on the beach. Tweets that go viral are the clever, unique, funny and just plain random thoughts that can emerge in anyone’s head. Due to the democracy of Twitter, any random user with any number of followers can become viral. I would choose to live in the Twitter world any day, where we all have equal opportunities for fame and success.

While Instagram scrolling made me unknowingly frown at my phone, I laugh out loud and smile and, even if for a moment, forget all of my struggles while I am gliding through an app where absolutely no one is pretending to be someone they’re not.

Twitter users share what antidepressants they’re on with each other, post disgusting texts from their exes and complain about work and politics and the intricacies of the modern world. Perusing through these honest testaments is refreshing and makes me feel like I am not alone.  

One of the greatest parts of the social network is that you can be a part of the Twitter scene without feeling obligated to post content. Once I started posting on Instagram, I felt as though society wouldn’t let me stop. There’s pressure to post a certain amount every week and to keep my followers up-to-date with aesthetically pleasing Instagram stories. On Twitter, you are just as much a part of the vibrant scene if you are a follower, but you can retweet or favorite to your heart’s content.

If you do choose to produce tweets, getting one or even zero retweets is so normalized and accepted. There is no anxiety to get to a certain amount of responses because the way the app is structured, you can’t see all of your tweets displayed in all their glory like Instagram photos are.

Some people assert that they only use Instagram to see the “best” memes, and to that I say, you are mistaken. It is often alleged that all of the “good tweets” end up on Instagram anyway. I disagree. The selections that become Instagram-famous memes are stale viral tweets from three days ago. Thank you, next. I saw that tweet about middle school awkwardness last week. This fact alone rules Instagram basically obsolete to me.

On top of seeing funny tweets, I have also become noticeably more well-versed in politics, just by seeing tweets about the most recent policies and the thoughtful responses to them. I have noticed that my political conversations are much richer and more substantial than they ever were before. I’ve gotten many friends and even family members to hop on the Twitter bandwagon with me. I always tell my most Instagram-obsessed loved ones that their lives will truly change by just switching the apps they choose to scroll on.

Now, instead of beating myself over not looking as pretty as my peers that I barely interact with in real life anyway, and getting upset that my dinner wasn’t as gorgeous or expensive as someone else’s, I am laughing at people’s random and thought-provoking shower thoughts and hilarious photos, and even getting doses of modern and original political commentary.

True, it is not beneficial to stare at a screen for long periods of time regardless, but it is like the difference between smoking cigarettes and smoking E-cigarettes. It’s just as addicting, but it won’t have as many adverse effects.