Twitter: Matt Lewis can't love it or leave it

The Week | The Awl

Matt Lewis joined Twitter in 2008, but now finds it a prison: "It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment it happened — but at some point, Twitter became a dark place," he writes.

Once everyone was on Twitter, everyone's problems were on Twitter. The early adopters might have been tech-utopians, but the succeeding waves were angry cynics and partisan cranks who used the technology to make the world even louder and worse than it was before Twitter.

Compounding the problem is that — unlike everyone else — if you work in journalism, you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave. Being on Twitter is now part of the job, meaning that you can't not be on Twitter. What was once an inspiring place that gave you a competitive advantage became a prison.

Twitter has become like high school, where the mean kids say something hurtful to boost their self-esteem and to see if others will laugh and join in. Aside from trolling for victims after some tragedy, Twitter isn't used for reporting much anymore. But it is used for snark.

It certainly was used for snark about Lewis' post, perhaps proving his point:





Some thoughtful reaction:



Choire Sicha elaborates on that fact:

Whenever someone writes one of these screeds, they have to ignore that Twitter is entirely self-selecting. You chose who to follow. You chose to behave like a jerk, or a needy child, or a boor. Twitter didn't make you an ass. Twitter gave you an opportunity to exhibit your lack of impulse control. ... Twitter gave us all a chance to prove to again that sometimes we have no boundaries. So if you can't simply unfollow people you don't care about, or block people that gross you out, you need to go back to therapy. Twitter is almost entirely a projected fantasy life of people you think or wish were your friends and your society.

Related: "Are Journalists Joking Too Much On Twitter?" (The Huffington Post)


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