I share these stories, not to laud these individuals, but as a way to remind us that the web we had before the madness and monetization of relationships began, is still around. We don’t need to focus on the negative, and instead try to use the social web, by being accountable to each other. All it takes is one to focus on how to be good to each other on the Internet – not by shouting, but by helping and encouraging absolute strangers.
The random acts of kindness that made Internet so beautiful and magical still exist.
I know I’m supposed to hate Twitter–and some days I do–but mostly I love Twitter. I have whittled down the people and companies I follow to those who generally share positive, funny, interesting, or useful things. My follower count is low enough that I’m not terribly susceptible to trolls.
As it stands my experience on Twitter is mostly positive as long as I don’t wander too far into the weeds. I understand that as a white male my odds of being piled on or harassed is drastically lower than for many others.
So, as someone who seems to have finally found a balance and uses Twitter for discovery, entertainment, and local news, should I delete Twitter on principal? Am I being insensitive or selfish by “perpetuating an atmosphere of harassment and hate”? Am I simply rationalizing an addiction? Can I quit any time I want?
I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud here.
If I listen to people on non-Twitter (or more accurately, anti-Twitter) social networks, I’m part of the problem by simply having an account. That feels unfair. I’ve made a concerted effort to be positive and helpful whenever I post something. One could argue that I’m protesting by “being the change I want to see in the world” but that’s probably stretching it a bit.
I hate that Twitter has become such a garbage pile for so many. It’s terrible what people are subjected to for just voicing an opinion. It’s scary that it’s being used by buffoons in a way that puts us at risk of nuclear war. It’s disappointing that Twitter’s leadership seems to be flailing about, unable or unwilling to fix the most serious problems.
Yet, I continue to learn, discover, laugh, share, and interact with interesting and generally wonderful people on Twitter every day.
There may come a time, possibly soon, when it’s no longer sustainable for me to remain a participant. I admit that there is a certain amount of guilt and anger associated with Twitter. But now that I’ve curated things sufficiently and cut back my time there dramatically, these feelings remain mostly at a low level. Background noise.
I like the idea of quitting Twitter. Quite often I consider quitting on principle alone. There are times I think I’m simply addicted to the stream of new stuff that keeps me from having to do real things.
On the other hand, for me, the beauty and magic Om mentions is still there. I’ll be staying. For now.