Why I Won’t Use Twitter

Every weekday morning, I scroll through my Regular Reading Rotation (RRR) and check out the news of the day. I have recently added Bloomberg News to the mix, because why not, and saw this nugget:

Twitter knows it is swimming against a strong current. The company has said it is focused this year on winning more users and on turning non-fictional profits. That is grand but it’s really Twitter’s only choice when its revenue is falling.

Well, I’m here to announce that I’m Part of the Problem(tm). I refuse to use Twitter, but for some reason I have a magnetic attraction to listicles on BuzzFeed like “literally 39 tweets that will make you say ‘hmmm’.”

I was a Twitter user, once, and having dumped it years ago I don’t miss it. In the interests of unsolicited feedback, these are but a few of the reasons why I have no desire to return:

  • I have yet to see clear evidence that Twitter is doing anything substantial concerning trolling and other forms of online harassment. I don’t allow unfettered commenting on this site or on my YouTube channel to mitigate this risk. Jaime and I are aware we are putting ourselves “out there” for the world to respond to as they may, and I am fairly generous with approving comments. But any that cross the line into sheer ugliness for its own sake will never see daylight on any platform that I moderate, period. Twitter, by design, doesn’t really allow for that short of making everything private, which to me defeats the purpose of Twitter. If you want to send me short messages that only I can see, text me. You have my number, right?
  • The signal/noise ratio was horrendous, in my experience. I have enough digital distractions, thank you, and reading a feed of 100000000 people all saying “dat dress, tho” during an awards ceremony isn’t particularly interesting, to me. YMMV etc.
  • Yes, it was cool to be able to reach out to someone who uses Twitter, such as famous soccer players and getting a reply. But I don’t need it. I may live to regret not having that capability later on, but up until now I can’t say that I missed out by not knowing if John Hodgman ate a burrito last night.
  • Twitter was laid bare as being rather unnecessary years ago, back when I was high on using it, and my online buddies tried to get someone to join in. They finally relented, and wrote back, “I signed up, and found out one of my friends just ate a taco. Now what do I do?” Really, we have Facebook for that, and I’m not complaining, just observing.
  • One thing I really dislike, speaking of my Regular Reading Rotation, are “news” articles that rely heavily, if not exclusively on Tweets for their content. “Tweetstorms” strike me as “things that could have been an article or a blog post.” I get it that people want to get their message out by any available means, but come on. Martin Luther may have delivered the famous 97 Theses, but even they were in a single document, not 97 missives sent individually (“nailed”, or “mailed” to the church, scholars seem to differ on this point).
  • Don’t even get me started on hashtags and their utter irrelevance, not that they’re native to Twitter. #hatethem #icalleditwhenisaidtheywereterrible #contextabuse #whydontijustsaythisasasentenceandnotasabullcraphashtag #sandwiches

I dare say that in this digital, connected age, there are numerous opportunities for “engagement”, however one chooses to define it. And maybe that’s at the core of the perhaps inevitable doom facing Twitter: There’s nothing directly compelling me to use the service. Boom. Fix your business model.

/Goes back to reading Tweets on BuzzFeed

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