A new journey has begun

In April of 2012, I created a fictional character, The Product Poet.

This fictional account I created on Twitter for a variety of reasons, such as utilizing poetry in crafting marketing messages in haiku. I dubbed these tweets as “Product Placement Poetry” and I was enjoying what I was doing for free, “all for my love of poetry.”

My fictional character was followed by celebrities such as Snoop Dogg to brands I loved and adored to athletes to every day people, like you and me.

I was — and still am — a tremendous advocate of poetry.

In fact, people were calling me “Twitter’s unofficial poet laureate.” That was nice and made me feel my poetry was impactful and meaningful.

From 2012 to 2018, I was able to successfully grow my follower base up to over 150,000 followers. Some of that growth was hyper-targeted in nature by following rappers and rhymesters as poetry is akin to rap in many ways.

Some of the growth was purchased as a way of testing fake followers and skirting around some of the initial limitations of Twitter’s followers — such as you could not follow more than 2,000 people or the 10% threshold.

Some of the growth was due to churning — the dreaded follow and unfollow.

And then in 2018, I just didn’t care anymore. I slowly stopped tweeting and following people back and eventually my followers dropped to around 101,400 on Twitter.

Yet despite this growth and after over 109,000 tweets, today I deleted my Twitter account and started with a fresh clean slate.

So you might wonder why would I do such a thing?

Well for me, it was about needing the separation from reality and the fictional character I had created. It was as though my alter-ego had taken over a portion of my subconscious mind and I truly thought at one point I was important and that people would listen to me as an influencer.

I also realized that I was nothing more than a pawn for the brands that I was promoting for free to my follower base. And I was okay with that as I love to write poetry and rhymes, but it felt like it was becoming a job versus the personal fulfillment.

Furthermore, I cherished the anonymity and I even wrote about this from time-to-time that in my “real life” I am an anti-”social media expert.”

Yes, I loved the dopamine rush I would get when a celebrity followed me or I interacted with one of my favorite brands or simply conversed with people in poetry. But it wasn’t real. I thought my self-currency was valued in likes, retweets and comments.

But I also hid several of my secrets within my anonymity.

Mainly, I was miserable with my life, yet portrayed an image of happiness.

I rarely complained — I bottled things up inside and would rage for no reason what-so-ever.

I rarely, publicly-used Twitter to call out horrific customer service experiences — I simply swept those under the rug, as Mr. Nice Guy.

I didn’t want to “rock the boat” in both worlds — my ego and my alter-ego.

Second, I had a successful career and then due to my own ethics in the workplace, I walked away from that career. It impacted my own-self being as well as the relationships around me with my now-ex wife and my children.

I was made to believe that everything that happened from me walking away from that career in 2007 was all my fault. I mean fuck me. I guess having ethics definitely doesn’t pay.

Third, I ended up having an affair. It was an affair with the wife of a industry colleague of mine. It was nothing more than sex — even though we both told one another that we loved each other. But I know that not to be the case. It was nothing more than sex.

And fourth, the most important, I ended up falling in love with the most amazing woman in the world, Anna.

After 15 years or more of keeping up the appearances to be happily married I decided I could no longer pretend and walked away from that marriage. At last I wasn’t afraid to be on my own and finalized the divorce.

Yet when I met Anna, I was still married, miserable and felt like I was worthless and a piece of shit.

I lied to her about the status of my marriage, as I felt I truly wasn’t married — as well as painted lies around the affair. I badly hurt her with those lies, painted lies and half-truths. She has scars that I hope she will allow me to soothe or repair.

But I realized that the past two years of being with Anna have been the most fulfilling moments for me. I feel amazing and blessed to be able to spend my days and nights with her. She is the most intelligent, witty, captivating, sexy, intriguing, mysterious, passionate, loving, caring and beautiful woman I have ever met in my entire life.

The day she came into my life I can call myself the luckiest man in the world. She is the personification of pure love and by simply being herself she makes everyone around her feel good, accepted and important.

I am sure that all of you that have had the pleasure to meet her in real life or online would agree.

I realized that nothing, including social media, matters to me, except for having Anna support me though my ups and downs.

Finally, when it came to social media and Twitter, I saw significant changes over the past three or so years and nearly completely walked away from the platform.

I had lost interest in tweeting due to the issues that I had created — with my ex-wife, my children, the affair and then finally my one-and-only true love Anna.

I never hid behind my tweets. They were there. I wrote them. I take full ownership of everything I tweeted.

In October of 2020, I started to purge the Twitter account. I used a service that could mass delete tweets and likes. It made me feel good to begin to start anew.

And then today, I deleted the account entirely. And it feels really good. Like really good. Liberating in fact.

It feels liberating to finally realize that I am not a good person.

I lied to the person that I love more than anything, Anna.

I lied to myself in thinking at one point I was more important as a fictional character, than I am as myself…

No more Mr. Nice Guy.

I am simply me.

My name is Robert and I am The BBQ Poet