Every day, I thank God for twitter.
No, I’m not making a joke. No, don’t stop reading. Hear me out for a second here.
First of all, I am a lover of words. Reading them. Writing them. We use them everyday, yet I believe they have powers we may not always understand. Words can tear people apart, they can divide us into groups and factions. They can cause hate. Anger. They can strike fear in the hearts of others, bring tears to their eyes.
But words can also heal. They can teach us about one another. They can pull us into another person’s world and give us a different perspective. Words may not be able to embrace us, but we can seek and find comfort in them. Words can inspire and motivate us. They can change the world.
On twitter, I am surrounded by words. Maybe I don’t agree with all of them, but they are there. It gives me an opportunity to express myself, to try and find the words for what I am feeling and to describe my situation. If I can’t come up with them myself, maybe I can find someone else who has.
This brings me to my second reason. People. Connection. Twitter, along with other social media, can allow us to find people both alike and different from ourselves. It can build and connect communities. It can allow conversion and learning.
Of course, all of this is on my mind after the election of Donald Trump. At a time when so many of my friends are scared and hurting, at a time when I find it so hard to find joy, I’ve been able to find comfort and community on twitter. Thousands of people mourning and trying to support one another. People struggling and conversing, attempting to learn and understand other’s points of views. It was similar after other big events. Celebration as Hamilton won eleven Tonys. Collective mourning after the Pulse nightclub shooting. Anxiety as Keith Lamont Scott was shot less than a mile from my college dorm. When the world becomes too much, I retreat for a second into social media. I surround myself with words, both mine and others. It gives me hope. It lets me know that I am not alone.
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” -Marcus Zusak, The Book Thief