Twitter, the chatter, and the they-self
There is something about Twitter that brings out feelings of existential angst in me in a manner and degree that no other social media platform does. I am painfully reminded of what Heidegger calls das Gerede, the endless chatter; it is a surrender to das Man, ‘the they-self'/'the they'; a socialized, superficial, inauthentic mode of being; the clamor of the multitudes. (Heidegger says that the chatter serves to distract and insulate us from the confrontation with das Nichts, the Nothing.)
I am embarrassingly aware that a lot of my offline and online social life would be considered das Gerede in pure Heideggerian terms. I am not trying to be broadly dismissive of twitter or social media in general. I know that many people, including myself, have found some measure of authenticity through these platforms, which was otherwise lacking in daily lives. There is also nothing inherent to Twitter than makes it more inauthentic than, say, Facebook or Instagram. Perhaps it has to do with the volume and speed of the tweets, or perhaps something else that I haven't quite identified yet... whatever the element is, it somehow makes me personally more conscious of the general inauthenticity of online chatter, and makes me want to withdraw into silence and reticence.
This blog is my antidote to the chatter of my existence. It feels like a conversation with the self surrounded by a void. It helps that it has a reticent relationship with a small readership, and I hope it never succumbs to das Man.