Working Tools 11. – Twitter

Twitter. It’s a dumpster fire!

This has become a cliché. Facebook is, in my opinion, corrupt to its core. It’s mission, honestly expressed, would repulse its users, so it publicly  espouses a different mission, while quietly pursuing the first. It may be that Twitter is the same, but my personal experience of it is different. I have never shared much personal information in the same way as I did with Facebook.

Where Twitter gets ugly is in the arena. A new user might not realise that they are entering a Coliseum, but they surely are. Try tweeting “I think Donald Trump is an honest, straightforward man, much maligned.” Or “Brexit. Seems OK to me.” Go on. I’ll wait.

Welcome back. How did that go? It’s war out there, isn’t it? I wasn’t an early adopter of Twitter, but I’m told that it was not always like this. There were, and I would argue still are, pockets of Twitter that are fun, supportive and useful. I met my writing buddy there for example. However, these pockets are hard to find.

Twitter has started to monetise; to make lots of money. To do so, as an early step, it is exerting control over the timeline. (Facebook did this too). So, rather than only seeing Tweets from people that I have chosen to follow in chronological order, I have to see what the service has curated for me. To this end, Twitter is removing support for third party clients, whom I could pay to avoid advertising, making it harder and harder for me to exert control over my own timeline. The risk is that more and more entities will pay to use the platform to try to influence and manipulate me – although that’s not my greatest fear. I have learned to avoid that risk, I don’t regard tweets as a news source.

Twitter reminds me of a Terminator from the eponymous movie. It’s relentless. Merciless. I can mindlessly scroll on and on through Twitter, and it will keep serving me more and more tweets, retweets and ads. Minutes can become hours. Sometimes, I can actually feel my time and my energy slipping away in the endless scroll. I’m schooling myself to focus on the good and ignore the bad.

I have adopted a similar approach as with Facebook. I ignore the metrics and don’t advertise. When “fires erupt”, I simply scroll on through. Unlike Facebook, I do still visit Twitter, but only for short durations at the beginning or the end of the day.