A vocal minority

It's been a little over a week since I logged off Twitter — since I made my X-it (you're welcome to acknowledge my dad-joke skills). Since then, I've received numerous emails in support of that decision. It made me realise something important; two related things, actually.

My first realisation was that one of the biggest factors preventing me from leaving Twitter was FOMO — fear of missing out. The fear that I won't be up-to-date with what's happening in the PHP community anymore. The fear that I won't be relevant anymore. After my blog post and email last week though, lots of people reacted, which made me realise that FOMO is a thing, but more importantly that I shouldn't have that fear in the first place. That's where my second realisation comes in.

I learned about the spotlight effect: "the psychological phenomenon by which people tend to believe they are being noticed more than they really are". I think the same effect can be applied on communities of people. Having been in the Twitter bubble, I started to believe that it was a crucial part of being involved in the PHP community. However, given the amount of people who told me they have left Twitter long ago, and oftentimes social media in general; I can't help but conclude that Twitter isn't as representative as I liked to think.

That's the spotlight effect in action: Twitter has been my most important communication channel for years, so naturally, I got biased towards it. Most likely though, it only represents a vocal minority, a small subsection of the PHP community. The thing with vocal minorities is that they stand out much more compared to silent majorities, and trick us into thinking that those majorities don't exist, or that they aren't as relevant compared to our own bubble, our own comfort zone.

This is no one's fault, no one's doing this on purpose. But coming to this realisation makes me much more chill about leaving Twitter. I probably won't miss out on as much as I thought I would. My plan forward is to rely on RSS and email as my primary channels of communication. We'll see how it goes. On a personal level I can say that I haven't missed Twitter this past week, and the need to check up on it is subsiding.

Overall I had a good week, I finally managed to write down a couple of chapters for a scifi novel I've been wanted to write. I'm 9000 words in, and it's been such a great project to work on, just because I want and can. I hope you don't mind if I share some more updates about it with you in the future. Do let me know if you really don't want to hear anything about it though, I'll keep your feedback in mind.

Finally, if you mailed me and I haven't replied personally to your answer on my previous post yet: I do plan on replying to all mails, I just have been AFK a lot these days :)