I have been an avid user of Twitter for a couple of years. You might say I’ve been enamored or addicted. Today, though, I decided our love affair is over. It’s been good, Twitter, but you became abusive. Now I have chosen to leave.
For a few months now I have been troubled by how nasty it has been getting. Twitter has always allowed for posts by bitter and angry people, but I thought I had populated my feed with people I liked. The trouble is, some of those people were quote-tweeting people who were rude, or stupid or, well, just wrong. Even those who are quote-tweeting to disagree or to mock are still spreading bad stuff.
It all just got too much. I was starting to get depressed even though I really have nothing in my personal life to be depressed about. I was being dragged down by politics and bad news. Even though I am adamantly supportive of some of those causes, it just became too much.
Admittedly, this departure has been triggered somewhat by a silly Twitter-spat in response to something I said about Fox News. Initially, I was responding to a Tweet by someone who said (in so many words) that Fox News was in too many public places and was responsible for a lot of harmful propaganda. I added that when I was driving across the country, Fox was in all the lounges of the hotels that I stayed at. Well, you would have thought I had threatened to strike the first amendment from the constitution. The feedback went on for over two days. It was out of all proportion.
I have decided to leave the Twitter link off of my computer desktop. I will keep my account because I want to connect my blog to it, but I’m going to stop reading the daily feed.
It’s not as though I had a lot of followers or people whom I followed, so the few people connecting to me there probably won’t even notice I have gone. I hope they will subscribe to my blog if they want to know what is going on in my life, but it’s ok if they don’t. Twitter doesn’t have that goal. It’s more about finding your ideological tribe than keeping in touch with people you know.
Am I being thin-skinned? Perhaps. Can I not take the push-back? Maybe. But, at this stage in my life, I just don’t need the hassle. I also don’t need any more reason to feel brought down by the terrible things going on in the world. If the Alberta government is going to steal the funds from my pension plan, I will find a way to cope. If America is about to trigger a war, I can’t do anything about it. I don’t need reasons to worry more than I already do.
So, Twitter, you’ve been a great sidekick, but I think now you’ve become toxic. I’m going to take a break and look for some sort of Twitter antibiotic. I hope that will involve music and laughter.
Robinson Meyer has written a fascinating article in The Atlantic discussing the phenomenon that if you Tweet to criticize something, you make that issue more popular. “Twitter is a machine for misunderstanding other people’s ideas and identities.” The Atlantic.