Dear @MyFriend:

You unfollowed me on Twitter today, and I simply haven’t been the same. There are salty beads of sweat slithering and agitating the angry furrows of my aging forehead and my left testicle has just popped out of my boxers. I am considering switching back to briefs, but I don’t think this will help. And I don’t think any of this will encourage you to follow me again on Twitter. But I must tell you the truth. Because you are, in no small sense, responsible for all this. I bought some fresh glue from a Duane Reade so that I’d have a new habit to take up. Something to help me through the sadness. But nothing can distract me from the dismal truth. Forget the economic upheaval. Thanks to Twitter, I now have some inkling of how David Kellerman felt. I wonder how many followers he had when things got bad for him. My guess is that you would not have unfollowed David Kellerman if you knew that he was on edge. I don’t know if I’m on edge, but the glue sure is helping. And I’d probably do the same thing that David Kellerman did, but I’m too cowardly and too lazy to hang myself right now.

All this is your fault. I followed you, knowing then that you had around 700 followers, some of whom were following me. When I followed you, I thought you might eventually follow me, and that the two of us might follow each other for life. It would be like a marriage. We’d be committing to each other, but we wouldn’t have to live with each other or cook or clean or shout at each other or eventually pay alimony. I retweeted your posts, figuring you would eventually see that I was fond of you and hoping all the while that you would follow me right back. And sure enough, you decided to follow me when you had around 925 followers.

Well, I was quite impressed. And to show my appreciation for your act of kindness in a prominent social network, I believe I bought you a beer once, or maybe it just happened to be another person who had your name. (You know Twitter. After a while, you see the fail whale everywhere.) We may have felt each other up in a broom closet at some point. Who knows for sure? But we definitely had some fun, if it was indeed you. The real details aren’t important. What’s important is the pithy bits of significance we express online. The problem, of course, is just how well we know each other or whether this whole Twitter thing even begins to encapsulate anything close to the social experience.

But now I know that it doesn’t. Because you unfollowed me. And if social networks actually mattered, then this cruel act would never have occurred. Now I don’t know if I can approach Twitter the same way. Because you have unfollowed me, I cannot DM you to clear up this misunderstanding. I am here by my computer, begging you by email to follow me again. To consider my emotional well-being over your organizational convenience. I mean, I simply don’t understand why you follow someone like @stephenfry, but not me. It’s not that I’m as smart as @stephenfry. But @stephenfry doesn’t tweet nearly as much as I do. And I’m more inclined to @reply you. Has @stephenfry ever @replied you? You see, I have. And while I may not have @stephenfry’s clever wit and conversational acumen, wasn’t there some small solace in knowing that someone was out there @replying to you?

Perhaps you’re one of those fools who believe that Twitter isn’t the center of the universe. Or maybe you’ve fallen asleep right now and you’ve lost your grip on the bottle of Pilsner Urquel and it’s all dribbled down your loud Hawaiian shirt. (I also feel uncomfortable using your first name or assuming that these biographical details are true, but what else do I have to go by other than your tweets? These details came from tweets that you posted, respectively, “8 hours ago,” “1 month ago,” and “3 months ago.” I have carefully studied all of your 1,247 updates.) Maybe I’ll never know you through Twitter. Maybe I’ll never know myself. But surely you must understand that there’s another person at the other end who will eventually figure out that you’ve unfollowed him, and who will spend many hours weeping.

I thought we were friends or, at least, acquaintances. Did you ever really like me? Or was your follow just a put-on? I won’t sleep easy until there’s an explanation. Or maybe you can just send me a check for $6.00 (beer plus tip) to recompense me for the expenses I blew. You were, after all, simply pretending. Or you can just follow me again and we can act as if nothing ever happened. Alternatively, if you know of a good therapist who you can recommend to me — someone who is on Twitter and someone who I can follow — I think you owe me at least a reference under the circumstances. My ethical core is this: I would never unfollow my worst enemy, in large part because I wouldn’t follow him in the first place. You’ve caused me endless emotional distress, confusion, and psychological pain. I wish I could unfollow you right back, but I can’t seem to quit you.

Very truly yours,

Edward Champion

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One Comment

  1. Dear Ed,

    Your talk of salty beads of sweat recall this great descriptive from Zoe Heller: …”her elbows pinned to her sides in an attempt to hide the dark flowers of perspiration blossoming at the armholes of her dress”

    Don’t worry,friend, be happy.


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