I recently quit Twitter or, rather, I deleted it from my computer and Ipad so as to remove that temptation. My Twitter account is still linked to my Facebook account so anything I put on the latter appears on the former.
The social media have been promotional tools, or at least that’s what I told myself. They are also a support in a profession that is pretty introverted. I get to chat with fans, some of whom have turned into friends. I tell them what I’m doing, have exchanges about science fiction, science and politics but, as ever, it is this last that is a problem.
There’s a difference between Twitter and Facebook to me. It could be that Facebook has a more mature demographic than Twitter. It might also be that the latter is more amenable for the drive-by comments, the trolling and brief spats during which no one has the time or words to calmly explain themselves . . . or that the medium attracts those who don’t want to. However, as people have suggested, it is more likely that this is just a matter of who I allow to be ‘friends’ and who I either block or mute. This has some validity since for years I’ve been very selective on Facebook in cutting out those whose opinions annoy me. But the problem I feel is also me.
On Twitter I allowed more of the angry political stuff and vented more myself. Ranting has its attractions, it’s letting off steam, allowing oneself to blow . . . but as time goes on it becomes an addiction. I find myself scrolling through Twitter (I visualize myself staring at the screen with a moronic expression) just looking for stuff to be angry about; looking for stuff I can make cutting comments on. This is all very well if you have time to waste, but I do not. I have books, blog posts and other stuff to write, a website to update, a garden and a house to keep tidy, books to read, a life.
Anger is also a negative emotion, and I have had quite enough of those for four years now. I can go on Twitter, get only involved peripherally in some spat, and it still makes me feel sour. And what does any of this achieve on the political front (where most of the anger resides)? In the end our effect on the politics of our country is limited to one vote every now and again and, as has been demonstrated recently, that vote can be all but ignored. Some argue that one must make a stand on the basis of the old aphorism that ‘for evil to prosper all that is necessary is for good men to do nothing’, which I have to counter with the reality most sensible people have come to understand, that arguments on the social media change no one’s mind, they just leave people pissed off.
So I’m out of that. I’ll leave Twitter alone for a couple of weeks, then go back to do some muting and blocking. I’ll also adjust my settings to limit comments to my followers only. Thereafter I’ll check in only intermittently.
This is better for me. The sour political world of Twitter can bugger off.