Like This Post if You Remember #FollowBackFriday on Twitter
This was a happier time in Twitter’s lifespan — people cracked jokes and didn’t get defensive, no one thought they were smarter than every Twitter user not in their peer group, and mob mentality wasn’t so pervasive. Ten years later, PEOPLE ARE PISSED on the social network and the media use it all to its advantage. These days, I’m convinced some Twitter users go to sleep at the end of a rant and wake up thinking and by the way to add to their prior day’s diatribes. This was the fourth Saturday morning in a row I opened Twitter to see a bunch of angry tweets complete with confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, and virtue signaling. There were some facts mixed in but you could only know this if you’re not a victim of any one of the aforementioned behaviors. I guess the angry Tweeters don’t run errands or just don’t do more productive activities in general on Saturday morning anymore.
It requires courage to cast the accumulated myths of a lifetime to the wind. Our natural desire for simplicity, certitude, and the approval of others occasionally causes us to defend even our most flawed worldviews as if our very lives depended on them. Dead belief systems are difficult to bury, for in doing so we enter a world we do not recognize; we watch the carefully crafted towers of our understanding crash down in ruins; and we lose an integral piece of the only reality we have known, reinforced and imprinted on our minds by a thousand voices, internal and external. — John Perazzo, The Myths That Divide Us, p. 17
Making use of the mute functions for keywords and periodically unfollowing people who are social landmines is the only way I’m able to not delete my account — something I’ve done with ease a few times since 2009. Twitter can be a great source of information and connection when used civilly, and depending on the accounts you follow it still is. But when you start following personal accounts with a social, political, or economic focus, things can get crazy. The worst part of all this is Twitter users represent such a small part of the world’s population, with active users being an even smaller number. Yet too many not-so-popular and relatively unknown users view the words of some popular Tweeters as all facts because they type in ALL CAPS, are well read, and are verified. If I ever become popular on Twitter, which probably won’t happen because I’m bound to delete my account again, please use your best judgement and listen to your gut. If you think anything I’m saying is suspect, fact check me and please let me know if I made an incorrect statement. Whatever you do, don’t be a “Keyboard Killer” and try to drag me to boost your own Twitter stock. Just be direct and civil because I’d give you the same respect.
Too many of us are lost while looking for symbolic leadership from talking heads who have their own demons to sift through. I’ve often sought mentorship but never leadership. Always walking to the beat of my own drum, having a leader in the symbolic sense would serve me no purpose. However, I recognize how powerful a strong, well-intentioned, intelligent, and cunning leader can be in the organizing sense. Few popular social/political/economic fighters on Twitter actually want to organize and lead. They just want us to know the facts on whatever issue(s) are important to them. Sometimes in this sharing of knowledge comes a stirring of the pot which gave us this hostile cyber whirlpool some Twitter users seem to be stuck in. The solution? There is no collective solution because Twitter is too valuable to shut down and too addictive for most users to quit. All I can suggest is for individuals who are free-thinking and can draw their own conclusions to tailor their timeline to what matters to them. Follow your interests and unfollow people whenever you’re over their tweets. Going on a Twitter hiatus is a great mental health move and allows for the better use of more free time. Lastly, just be respectful of other people. Come to think of it, as idealistic as it is, being respectful IS the collective solution.
I just looked at my Twitter timeline and it’s actually calm. People must be out having fun now preparing their Tweetstorms for third shift Twitter after midnight and Sundays first shift. Where would we be without it?