This place is still going!
Once I decide I’m going to do something, I hate waiting to do it…So, it’s a done deal. ToTheChest is now @DreadfulSinger and the old @DreadfulSinger account is @Dreadful_Singer …Confusing enough for you? It won’t be for long, as the new account will be killed off soon.
Again, sorry for the inconvenience. This whole deactivating, changing names thing is completely new to me.
So, as some of you know, I started a new Twitter account called @DreadfulSinger. My goal was to clean up my act a little bit (not a ton)…stop going for the gross-out shock tweet so hard, make my account one that I wouldn’t be mortified for someone I knew in real life to find.
So, I started the new account, tried to get a bunch of my favorite people on-board with it, and then deactivated my @ToTheChest account. Thing is, my new account is fairly dull. The timeline moves slow. I don’t get the interactivity that I’d like out of it…and I’m not talking about RTs and stars. I’m talking about conversations, interaction. Now, maybe that has something to do with tweeting a bit less and being less vile when I do, but that can’t be all of it, I’m convinced.
What I should have done was to simply change ToTheChest’s name, remove the site’s url from my profile, and gradually morph the account into something with which I could feel comfortable. That way, I could have retained the followers/followees I put so much effort into getting, and still achieved my goal of cleaning up my act a bit.
There would be a handful of followers that were keeping me around for the obscene stuff, I know. They’re free to unfollow. I don’t mind that. I can’t help but think there are way more great people out there who were turned off by some of my “content,” and left out of sheer disgust.
I still have the opportunity to reactivate ToTheChest and change the name. It won’t be completely deleted for a few weeks. So, I’m thinking, at this point, that that’s what I’ll do. Probably early next week.
I’m genuinely sorry for the waffling. But, the truth is, I’m doing it out of incompetence, not dramatic effect.
I probably wouldn’t have deleted @ToTheChest if I hadn’t known that I could reactivate within 30 days. I don’t expect to, but it’s a nice feature Twitter offers; one that wasn’t available back when I started over two years ago.
Anyway, just wanted to take an opportunity to thank everybody for being so cool to Pete Puma.
My less offensive, still racy, non-dad/husband tweeting account is @DreadfulSinger. Happy to be followed there, but no pressure.
So, I’ve made a decision. I’m saying goodbye to Pete Puma. It was a great run for me, I think; vile, disgusting, offensive, but fun.
I do like Twitter. I enjoy having an outlet for humor, and I will be continuing with a new, less blunt-force-trauma account. I’ve grown tired of harboring a “secret” Twitter account/alter-ego for over two years now. However, I’ve met a number of people that I am happy to call friends, and I have no desire to lose that aspect.
Yes, I’d be really bummed out if my work ever found out about Pete Puma, but it’s more about my children at this point. They’re getting to the age where they may wind up on Twitter in a few years. When/If they do, I want no trace of Pete Puma there…and no way for them to make the connection that their father was the person behind the things he wrote.
How would I effectively explain that those tweets were purely *jokes*? How my kids think of me is not something with which I want to toy. I always purposefully steered clear of topics suggesting I was a pedophile, those advocating violence toward women etc., but it was impossible for me to remain completely insulated from those topics when I was battering the shit out of some of the “other” topics.
My wife always knew about my account, but, to my knowledge, she opted not to read it, which I was always happy about. So, I guess I’m leaving that account because I’d rather cut ties before it’s too late and the “wrong person” finds out, whoever that might be.
Pete was always an alter-ego to the nth degree. It was done in fun. I’d forever hoped that people realized this. Just about all of it was ludicrously fictional. After all, I am a happily married father of three girls, and I love my family very much, despite the fact that Pete Puma was staunchly averse to children and monogamy. I am also completely straight, and uninterested in anal sex, believe it or not.
I’m not sure what will happen to my web site at this point. I’m not even really sure what will happen to the ToTheChest Twitter account. I’ve locked it down and stopped tweeting from it, more or less. I just think it’s premature to delete it. I don’t know why.
If we’re following each other now, and you think that a subtler, less in-your-face approach to tweeting would suit you, DM me on @ToTheChest. For the record, I will never be a “dad/husband” humorist. That’s not me, but I promise it will be more suggestive than overt.
Not enjoying social media much of late. Feels like it’s something I have to do, rather than something I want to do.
Everything is fine on a personal level. No drama. I just need a vacation. I need to feel productive. I’ll be back, I’m sure. Hope all is well where you are.
We all have hot buttons, I suppose; those topics about which we cannot even joke-tweet. I have a short list of topics I won’t joke about. I keep them under my hat. But this article isn’t about hot buttons, mainly because we are often somewhat helpless with regard to how our minds react to them. So, for the purposes of these next few paragraphs, let’s just except them from the discussion.
I’m writing about our casual Twitter interactions, the daily back-and-forth with that seemingly random group of accounts whose owners are scattered about the globe. I’ve just made a distinction between Twitter accounts and the people who own them. I’ve done that before, in previous writings here. I’m doing it again because it’s a fucking important distinction.
I make the distinction because people on Twitter tend to write things they would not write or say to people with whom they shared a face-to-face relationship. We are not our accounts, as much as we like to forget that. Some of us, like me, are not even close.
When I’m on the receiving end of what seems like it could be considered a personal attack, I do a few things:
1. Assess the source - Is this person just trying to troll me? I ignore that shit. Some people get their jollies out of getting a rise out of people while they, themselves, sit back in relative anonymity and watch the fireworks. I can’t relate to these people, but I know they exist and I stay mindful of it. I’m not inclined to give them any satisfaction on that front.
2. Assess my own mood - If I’m in a shit mood, I have a tendency to take things more personally than I would on a normal day. I try to factor that into the equation before I let my emotions get the best of me.
3. Remember that this isn’t real life - The person tweeting the said attack is not someone close to you. He/she doesn’t know you, has never met you, probably doesn’t even know your real name. How can you take an attack from someone like that personally? The simple answer is that you can’t, not reasonably. This goes double, triple, quadruple for tweets where your account name isn’t even mentioned specifically.
4. Remember what they’re attacking. - Your account. They are attacking your account, a sliver of who you are as a person. If you think your account is more than that, you should probably get out more. How offended you get by tweets is likely directly proportional to how much of your life is occupied by participating in, and thinking about, Twitter. Twitter is an enjoyable sideline to life, but if you make it too much of your personal identity, you’re just sabotaging your actual self-image.
All this said, I attempt to make my account one that respects the feelings of others. Sure, I write repulsive tweets that may offend some people. I use words that make some cringe. That’s a natural side-effect of any humor that’s not milquetoast-y. I do not, however, attack people personally. That’s not a conscious decision I’ve made. It’s simply not a part of my personality.
I’m not the type of person who feels better about himself by making others feel worse about themselves, and you probably aren’t either. They’re out there, though, and I think we all owe it to ourselves to remember that it’s just Twitter.
As I approach 3,000 followers, I’ve found myself getting somewhat pensive over my involvement with Twitter. I’m two plus years into my “tour of duty” and, while I’ve been thinking about the 3,000 follower milestone I’ve fabricated in my own mind, I’ve been left wondering why it matters to me. I’m happy to say that I’ve come to the conclusion that it probably doesn’t.
The number that actually matters to me, I’ve concluded, is my “following” number. That’s because those are the people I’ve chosen to follow. They’re the ones with whom I’ve interacted in some meaningful way. My follower number is littered with people who’ve become inactive, are content to lurk, or are just too lazy to unfollow me. They’re not the ones who have chosen to reach out to me.
This climb to 3,000 has been a real slog. I seemed to hit 2,800 with relative ease, but that last 200 to my arbitrary goal of 3,000 has been really slow…glacial, even. Most weeks, I break even between new followers and unfollowers. I’ve pondered changing my bio, altering the things I tweet about, getting a little softer with the vomit-factor in my tweets. To be honest, none of it has mattered much.
In high school and college, I was popular enough to suit myself. I had a smallish, core group of good friends, and was on good terms with most of the rest. I never considered myself “popular” by any standard, really, but I was always popular with that core group of friends. I was an insider there. I belonged. The main reason for that is that I am a loyal friend; honest, faithful, considerate. This has all followed me to Twitter, probably because I conduct myself in much the same way as I have my entire life.
I suppose I’ve somehow managed to hoodwink myself into thinking that something would change once I’d reached 3,000. But it won’t. It’s a number. The only thing it might do is imply to potential followers that I’m some kind of elitist cunt, not likely to follow them back, too stuck on myself to respond to a mention. I can’t imagine that that’s a good thing, if only because it misleads.
I like Twitter because I like to interact. I like to entertain people, sure, but more than that, I like to exchange ideas (i.e. jokes). I’m not a stand-up comic, nor a frustrated celebrity wanna-be. Anything that stands in the way of meeting and interacting with new people is a disadvantage from my standpoint.
In real life, I once had coffee with a marketing guy who happened to be after my business. I never hired him, but he said something that stuck with me. He said that he knows enough people. His goal, he said, was to get to know the people he already knows better. I’m sure he was full of shit (as most marketing guys are), but it certainly got me thinking that it’s not your number of relationships, but your number of meaningful relationships that matters.
And I’ve decided that that’s where I am. In the past week, I’ve begun to more faithfully read tweets on my timeline, initiate interaction more, reach out to the people who’ve reached out to me.
This all sounds sappy, maybe, but the fact is, Twitter is different things to different people. To me, it is a form of two-way communication. It’s not an audience or a fan-base. If I want to be entertained in a non-interactive way, I have TV, movies and YouTube.
I feel better about Twitter now than I have in months; now that I’ve released myself from the misconception that my number of followers makes a significant difference. As long as I have a core group of people who see my avatar and read what I tweet, respond at least occasionally, I’m happy. And that’s where I am.