#TOT and the Search for Self
I noticed that most every time I stray outside the narrow range of “Travel on Twitter” topics, I’m unfollowed.
When I question someone’s viewpoint, for example, or offer an alternative way of looking at a travel topic, I get into Twitter trouble.
Recently I raised a question about a traveler’s Tweet which expressed her love of horses and pate.. and how she loved to eat horsemeat pate.
What followed was an aggressive flurry of “mind your own business” comments from the Twitter universe, or “don’t impose your values on us.” Or, why was I straying outside the NMT “brand”?
I was asking a question that came from a genuine inability to grasp how someone could love horses and still eat them.
I was more curious than judgmental.
In response to an animal cruelty Tweet, I criticized Ernest Hemmingway for turning the violent blood-sport of Bullfighting into a romantic “man against nature” event.
I lost more followers.
I began to wonder if “unfollowing” was simply a way of expressing disapproval and a substitute for discussion.
Then I read a magazine article (Psychology Today) that said, Social Media in general “thwarts imagination, creates superficial selves by focusing on the immediate social world, and avoids dealing with any complex, substantive human issues.”
I Tweeted that. No comments. But could the article be right, in that Twitter (and all Social Media) “avoid dealing with any complex, substantive human issues?”
Or is it just Travel on Twitter.
In the few thousand Tweets I recently looked at, the vast majority were about bucket lists, places to see before you die, best beaches, best sunsets, romantic hotels, how many countries or continents someone traveled to, what they’re drinking and how much, etc.
But travel raises many questions about travel and travelers:
Why and how do people travel?
What attitudes do they bring to travel?
How do they open up to a destination?
What kinds of interactions with people do they seek while traveling?
What are the responsibilities of travelers and of those who live where the travelers go?
Does it matter how the destination treats its women? Environment?
Is the culture fair and respectful?
What are the dreams of the people we meet and how do they express them?
Is Twitter the place for these kinds of thoughts?
And is “unfollowing” a conversation killer?
Twitter can be both a place to highlight a remarkable sunset, and to ask questions about the peoples’ lives where the sun is setting.