Don’t @ me, bro.
If Twitter won’t #BanTrump, it’s time to #DeleteTwitter.
Update: I caved and re-activated my account. My time off Twitter was a delight personally, but I miss the folks I met through it too much. Hopefully, Twitter’s anti-harassment changes will be meaningful. And if not, I look forward to cussing out Jack in 280 characters. Feel free to gloat in the responses.
Yes, this is one of those Medium posts where I announce I’m leaving the popular-I-guess platform Twitter. But I’m not leaving to find balance, unplug, protect my public image, hack my productivity, or any of that other stupid shit. I’m not even leaving because of experiences with their well-documented abuse problem.
I’m deleting Twitter because I am increasingly afraid of getting nuked and fucking sick of contributing to a platform hell-bent on hastening our demise.
Using Twitter means supporting a platform for Trump.
I’ve watched in horror as Donald Trump has used Twitter to mobilize his followers against private citizens, cultivate a culture of intolerance and violence, and deteriorate our country’s standing in the world. Like many, I’ve tweeted at Jack Dorsey to — for the love of God — step in and do something about these egregious violations of the community’s standards.
I thought maybe a “woke” guy like @Jack would see Trump using the platform he runs to start a nuclear war with North Korea and feel some moral obligation to do something. And good old Jack and Biz Stone are doing something, by golly! They are going to rewrite Twitter’s Terms of Service so that threatening genocide isn’t considered a violation.
In a post that’s so short you can read it before you’re vaporized by North Korea, Biz defends giving Trump’s dangerous ravings a platform because they are “newsworthy” and “of public interest” and admits:
This has long been internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it. We need to do better on this, and will.
That’s right, Twitter’s problem in this has been that they haven’t been complicit enough. Or maybe it’s that their policies left their users with too much hope they might ever turn down the volume on this mad man’s megaphone.
You know what’s of public interest, Jack and Biz? Not getting bombed to shit.
Twitter positions this as a commitment to fundamental principles; but if that’s the case, why not let the likes of Milo back on the service? He’s a headline-making public figure who I’m sure would love to once again have Twitter as a platform for his hate speech and targeted harassment.
The principle Jack and Biz are adhering to are keeping Twitter afloat. Analysts estimate Trump’s use of the platform is worth $2 billion in market value. Trump is “newsworthy” to Twitter in that he keeps Twitter in the news. It might sound absurd to put a price on complicity in the next World War, but apparently $2 billion covers it.
Does Twitter need Donald Trump badly enough to be a hashtag-fascist-state-mouth-piece? Maybe, but you know who else they need? Their other users. While they’re doubling the characters Trump has to hurl vitriol at individuals, classes of people, political enemies, and whole fucking countries, we are contributing to their active user count, creating content for them, and putting our eyes on their ads.
Using Twitter means supporting a platform for Trump. He and his brand of hate already have too much influence on world politics, Americans’ daily lives, and, frankly, my mental health. I don’t need them finding their way into the memes, industry news, diverse viewpoints and jokes between friends I used to enjoy on Twitter.
I’m hesitant to leave Twitter, which I’ve been using for 7.5 years. I really have found great value in it over the years. I worry that it will be harder to establish myself in the design industry without the networking it makes possible. I know I will lose touch with some amazing people with whom I only interact through the service. I’m probably going to fall behind on the latest meme about which horror movie monster eats ass.
The fact of the matter is, though, that jokes and news and professional opportunities all exist off Twitter, too. And maybe, if they’re competing with a little less existential dread and guilt about using a service making unethical policy decisions, I’ll be able to enjoy them more fully.
If Twitter bans Trump, I’ll be back on my bullshit before his coronary passes. Maybe the itch will be too strong, and I’ll just learn to live with Twitler and his army of Pepes. Or maybe I’ll find that Twitter really does need Trump more than I need Twitter.
Maybe you’ll join me on whatever social network survives the blast, and we can once again enjoy Drag Race GIFs with the threat of war behind us. Until then, follow me here, find me on Instagram, or let me know where I can find your Tumblrs, TinyLetters, and anything else I can use to keep in touch.