Twitter has long been my preferred social media outlet, especially when browsing as an adoptive parent. The adoption community has been one of my greatest sources of hope, support, and information since starting my adoption journey and I am a great champion of the website to new and prospective adopters.
Like all social media, it does have its dark side though. Recently, the tirades and vitriol espoused on there have left me feeling anxious and unhappy. Largely, this is not adoption related, more a reaction to current events and a reflection of the mood in Britain right now. For the sake of my sanity I have chosen to step back from the platform, but that has left a void. To some extent, I have (tried to) filled this with Pinterest and Instagram: fluffier, prettier, lighter alternatives. They have served a purpose, but they cannot satiate me in the way that Twitter does.
Admitting to other adoptive parents that I was finding Twitter tough was met with support. One of the things I most love about the community on here is that people will share their experiences, frankly and fully, reassuring me that I am never completely alone. Some kind souls even urged that I don’t give up on the site, that I would be missed. I valued this and it affirmed why I would never give up Twitter easily.
However, I have decided to take a few steps back, in the name of self-care and self-preservation. I am limiting the time I spend on my account, using my iPhone settings to alert me when my allotted time is up. I have muted various words and phrases that cause general and specific angst. For now, I am muting adoptee voices. This feels like an awful thing to do, but I am struggling with the anger and despair. I empathise, but I cannot understand. I need to step back and reengage when I am stronger and more able to listen kindly and keenly. I have also stopped following several accounts – mostly non-adoption related – that offer little in the way of edification. Marie Kondo’s simple question of “does it spark joy?” could well be applied to Twitter.
After all this, I am still hopeful, because amid the doom and gloom there are shining examples of why the Twitter adoption community is so precious. @DanielHugill is gorgeousness personified. The warmth that radiates from his shared stories – of school, of family, of religion, of his allotment, of his life generally – soothe my soul. @Suddenly_Mummy is one of the most insightful and considered adopters I have met. I value all her opinions on a range of matters, but especially education, and squeal with delight when she unveils a new blog post. @adoptionblogfox responds well to the hot topics on Twitter, candidly sharing her own views and experiences. Often these are developed further through her excellent blog, allowing greater discourse and engagement.
I’m enjoying spending more time on other social sites, but I anticipate that as my mood improves, I will gravitate back to my adoptive Twitter family. I will continue to manage my use carefully and champion good practice. Perhaps I will be bolder – saying more, rather than just observing for the shadows. Probably, I will be grateful for the solidarity and community it offers me.