This is going to be harder than I thought. I never considered the possibility that I would have difficulty managing to find the energy to write one measly post per day.
Things have certainly changed for me over the past few years. As a result, what I was once – how I defined my life, how my life was defined by others – has just as certainly changed. My Twitter description, “Marine, Yankees fan, Libertarian, Small Biz Owner, cyclist, tech geek & Crohn’s patient. FAIR WARNING: I’m opinionated” is a great reflection of my life – as it existed 5 years ago. But my current reality is not the same. If anything, I spend more time being a Crohn’s patient than anything else now, where before it was a sidebar to my life. Although I’ve owned several small businesses in the past, I cannot even manage to find the energy to run one now, even on a part-time basis – that would have to be amended. One of those businesses was a bicycle shop; it was a successful little store that allowed me to take one of my life’s passions and earn a living. As recently as six years ago I completed the 235 mile High Point to Cape May ride, but today I get to carry oxygen with me. I can’t even ride a mile. Can I possibly call myself a “cyclist” in light of that?
Then there’s my LinkedIn profile. To be perfectly honest, the only reason I even maintain it, is there are literally dozens of terrific people I’ve worked with in the past – and if simply being connected to me can help their careers, then I’m happy to oblige. It is a bit of self-aggrandizement, as are all marketing sites. I am constantly reminded (usually by the emails and phone calls from HR professionals) that I once was considered one of the very finest professionals in my field. It was a lifetime ago. It is not my current reality.
So where do I go from here? Well, that depends on a few things that I cannot control. In some ways, things have changed very little for me: I am still a Marine and (much to my friends and family’s consternation) as ornery and determined as ever. I don’t know if I’ll beat this infernal disease, or if it will beat me, but one thing is certain. We are locked into mortal combat with only one possible winner. In the meantime, the Good Lord gave me one gift that has proven indispensable over the years – the ability to reinvent myself as needed. Over the years, my profession has changed to fit the circumstance. From tech inventor to retail sales, project management to short-order cook, I’ve always found a way to keep myself occupied. Just as importantly, the founding ideals of our nation have allowed me the time and space to develop and thrive in those roles, as disparate as they might be. Because of that, I am confident that whatever the future may ask of me, I will be successful.
An open letter to the leadership & employees of Twitter:
I, along with millions of others worldwide, enjoy using your service. In my case, I originally joined the “Twitterverse” in 2007. Over the nearly 5 years since, I’ve engaged thousands of others in discussions regarding current events, political affairs, health issues and my beloved New York Yankees. During the popular uprising in Iran, I was one of the tens of thousands people around the globe who helped spread the word. As the Arab Spring grew and rose, I was one of those men and women who retweeted the eyes-on accounts from those on the ground.
Your company has provided a unique platform for sharing ideas and organizing the global community. More than any other company, you became the epitome of what “social media” can and should be. Regardless of whatever platform changes you’ve made throughout the years, you never lost sight of what it was that makes your service unique and valuable to millions of people, of all ages and backgrounds, throughout the world.
Never, that is, until today. With your announcement that you will now engage in selective censoship, you have abandoned the very ideals of free speech and expression that make your service at times aggravating, others hilarious, but always thought provoking and important. But once you engage in censoring those short bursts of independent thought, your service is no more relevant than any other propoganda tool.
So, for that reason, I am taking the boycott planned for tomorrow one step further. Effective tomorrow, I will stop using your service until you renounce your current course of action. If you again pledge to support a free and open internet, free of censorship, then I will happily return to using Twitter. The links from this blog, my Facebook account and numerous other sites will all be deactivated. What’s more, I’m asking all of my followers to do likewise.
So, until then, au revoir, Twitter!