The Loud And The Desperate

Stop Twitting Yourself - The Awl

There is nothing you will eventually hear about from Twitter that will make you think, “Gosh, I wish I knew that earlier.” You are not missing anything. You do not need to march in the mediocrity parade of frustrated comedians trying to make the same stupid joke a fraction of a second before anyone else. Your image does not need curation, because all you are doing is broadcasting your desperation. No one is cool on Twitter. It is a giant assemblage of sad people trying too hard in real time. You do not need to do anything in front of an audience. ... Your desire to play to the crowd is both symptom and expression of the sickness unto death. All social media is poison, but Twitter is a particular type of toxin because it takes the lack of nuance that makes the Internet in general so abrasive and it dissolves it down to its ugliest essence. Everything that happens on Twitter is a nightmare, and every time you turn away from your screen and wonder why you feel like you want to die that’s why.

Bold emphasis mine, ital emphasis theirs.

The bolded insight is something that came to me sometime before I actually started using Twitter, and may well have informed my decision to step away from it as a regular medium. Blogging happens on your pace, not everyone else's. It's not real-time by default. It can be, but mostly, it isn't — it's more akin to the older models of letter-writing, diary-keeping, column-authoring.

And then there's this:

The only reason there can be a market, let alone a black market, for social-media engagement is because these services are marketplaces of attention, not of ideas, products, or services. That’s why Twitter counts followers, likes, retweets, and all the rest so prominently. If the numbers were less visible, or entirely hidden, everyone might live more meaningful, more productive lives online, using posts as means to ends rather than as circulations within the system. It’s hard to imagine such a change taking place while companies like Twitter rely on the aspiration of visible metrics as a compulsion to use their services. That compulsion produces the attention necessary to sell advertisers and satisfy investors.

People now want the marketplace of attention more than the outcomes the attention might be directed toward.

Again, with blogging, those attention stats are not featured by default. I don't even look at the statistics for my websites anymore, because that's not why I keep them. It's nice to have attention, but I'd rather have a little of the right kind than a lot of the wrong kind. I blog more to keep a running record of the evolution of my thought and outlook than because I'm trying to sell people on something, and

The toxic behaviors described above are not exclusive to Twitter, just amplified by it. But the amplification is a big part of what makes it so toxic. You can still want to play to the crowd and try too hard in any format, but the medium is the message, remember?

Tags: Twitter  social media 

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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the category Uncategorized / General, published on 2018/01/31 18:00.

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