It’s not you, it’s… who am I kidding, it’s you Twitter.
It has been a long long time between drinks on this blog. My apologies. Sometimes you get caught up in life and routine just falls off the radar. It’s got to have been at least six months since the last update. Well, since then, I’ve returned to opera singing (including landing a principal role with a company here in Sydney), been buried with work, and getting invited to join the board of an arts organisation. Add to that a busy social life and suddenly there’s less time in the day for writing…
But speaking of being social, a survey landed in my inbox last week from Twitter (amongst about 15-20 weekly emails from them). I hadn’t posted on the platform in a while, but I thought I would bite and answer the survey. Halfway through, it asked whether I had observed abuse on Twitter. Yeah. Far too much.
By the end of the survey, I had made my mind up to delete my account.
I’m over Twitter. I haven’t been looking at it as regularly, let alone posting. My last tweet was half a month ago. And on average I might retweet something once a week. For a platform where content is a firehose of information, a single post is meaningless. Less of a scream at the aether than a whimper.
It wasn’t always like this. We all used to engage more, have conversations, connect. I used to host rotational curation accounts like the @WeLoveAural music lover’s account, and spend a week posting music videos and conversing about the joys of music. Last I checked, that account was on hiatus, looking for new hosts.
What I have seen rise in the place of that community is more angst. Nearly every tweet is a venting of rage, or a retweeting of the abuse that gets spewed forth by bots and trolls. It’s unhealthy, seeing that as an ongoing feed. Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four referred to “Two Minutes Hate”.
Twitter made it a 24/7 enterprise.
It’s not something that has emerged recently though. It’s just hit a breaking point. The platform has been restricted from the beginning by a fundamental flaw: you can’t hold a civilised conversation in 140 characters. Sure, you can link to something long-form, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of people won’t read it. It’s especially true when they’re trying to process a firehose of information.
Perhaps the difference is that some years ago, people used to respect that (for the most part). A polite agreement to disagree, or to move the conversation to a channel that allowed deeper discourse.
Now it’s all shouting.
There’s too much angst in the world right now, and a lot of unnerving things have happened. I’m still processing it. But Twitter isn’t helping.
I quit a social platform once before. Facebook. I was one of the first Australian users and an early adopter of using it to promote organisations. But I quit it because at the time it was making me less social, and I wanted to spend more time communicating with friends. It didn’t quite pan out that way (that’s another story which requires a few beers). But life went on.
So Twitter, I’m out. I doubt I’ll miss you.
Observations on music, coffee, and the occasional controversial thought.
Copyright © Gerard Atkinson 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the owner is strictly prohibited.