Hear Me Out is a weekly limited series where Ifoghale and Ibukun share the unsolicited opinions some people are thinking, others are living but everyone should hear.
I love my closest friends, but my burner account will only stress you out.
@IfoghaleWilson. @The_Black_Prime. @iTITAN_X_. And most embarrassingly, @CyberLord_R9 — my very first Twitter username. Still, none of those times I changed my Twitter username brought me the same satisfaction as when I opened my burner account.
We’ve all got one. Whether it’s for posting racy photos or confessing long-suffering feelings for your ex from two years ago, we can all agree our burner accounts are our little kingdoms. Our private beaches where we can strip without shame. That’s why we keep it locked and anon. And yeah, sometimes, that means locking our partners and besties out too.
It’s only now, in my 20s, that I can look back at all the times I’ve changed my Twitter username over the years and be like, “yeah, I wasn’t insane.”
I was reinventing myself, again and again. At 13, my brain said I was into Megas XLR, and I signed up on Twitter as @CyberLord_R9. At 14 years old, my brain said I needed to become cool for my crush, so I became @iTITAN_X_. @The_Black_Prime was me entering my mid-way into my teens. I wanted to be unknowable — “this guy’s so mysterious and cool.”
But I was 16 and dumb, not mysterious. And on and on, I wasn’t satisfied. Changing my Twitter username was fun, but there were still the limitations of my main account: I can be opinionated but not unhinged. I can share stuff about my life, but I can’t overshare. Oh, that guy’s tweet was dumb AF; I need to tell him he’s not wise. But what if I become the first person to die of insult?
Yeah, there was no way I’d ever become the main character on Twitter. I gathered all my hot takes, horny tweets, embarrassing confessions and emotional baggage, opened a burner account, and dumped them all in. Do you smell that? — freedom.
Everyone with a burner account is looking to be free. This means everyone with a burner account is hiding something from someone they love. Hear me out.
There are things we struggle to tell even our closest friends. This might be true in a relationship. Sure, you’re in love, but you’re still an individual with your dark and heavy thoughts. It’s a kind of mercy to want to spare your lover the stress of communicating every small, dirty, depressing thing your brain can conjure, even if your brain won’t spare you as it begs for you to let them out.
In comes your burner with its eight, maybe nine followers. People you know just enough to not really care what they think. Friends of yours mostly, but nobody you’re scared of hurting with your words. The followers on your burner won’t be worried sick about you, so you spazz.
I keep some of my closest friends out of my burner account. I love you, but nah. You’ll be stressed by it. You’re going to go to bed wondering if I’m okay or where I learned to insult somebody’s child like that, and I won’t have an answer. I don’t want that for either of us. I want you to have peace of mind.
Maybe I shouldn’t be afraid to approach my friends and lovers with my hideous and beautiful parts. Maybe I should trust them to handle these parts with grace, but it isn’t always about the fear of being judged (though this is half of it). It’s also that becoming aware of my less-appealing parts actually suck. Of course, it’ll take some time before I share everything.
Okay, I don’t know about “sharing everything.” I’ve got friends on my burner account who post pictures on their burner accounts — pictures they don’t want some of our mutual friends to see. They love our mutual friends, but I’ll bet they love the privacy too. Bless the burner.
A friend of mine opened a burner to escape her bosses at work who follow her main account. She simply wanted to complain about work and be horny in peace. Bless the burner. It’s about privacy at the end of the day.
I’ll admit that I owe the closest people in my life all my many sides and faces, and maybe I’ll eventually get to show them.
When I do, it’ll be free from the view of the over 200 million other Twitter users. When I open up, it will be from safe within my burner account, where I’ve got the keys. If you know, you know. Bless the burner.
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