Twitter is toxic, and proud of it.
I’m still there out of a) force of habit, b) professional necessity, and c) self-preservation.
I’ve been on Twitter since 2008, which wasn’t The Beginning, but predated the ubiquitous modern Trollicus toxicum by several years. Since the demise of RSS feeds, Twitter has been a major forum for discussion and of referral to blogs and other media in my craft (software development). Even with the mass, corporate-supported trolling of Twitter, ceasing use of Twitter altogether would negatively impact my ability to stay current in my work.
I listed self-preservation as a reason to stay on Twitter, precisely because of trolls and the societal underbellies they document and espouse. For nearly twenty years now, I have been a member of a minority religious group that is seriously discriminated against in the US and elsewhere. I have lost my job at least three times due to this, once with the manager telling me so to my face and daring me to prove he ever said any such thing. I remember reading news reports back in the mid- to late-1990s talking about various forms of belligerent tribalism and how, for example, people who “look like” they’re part of an oppressed group are often reacted to less violently than those who “act white” but let slip that they’re “one of Them, too”. I can speak to the veracity of that from direct personal experience.
Trolling on Twitter, like anything else on any social-media platform, follows trends that both reflect and shape attitudes and behaviour of subcultures. Too often, I have encountered those “attitudes and behaviour” both in other online platforms and offline, where they have posed challenges to my quiet enjoyment of life and to my personal and economic security. I am convinced that nvesting effort in being aware of those trends as they develop, and in developing mitigation or avoidance strategies, has improved my personal security situation dramatically.
You may well choose differently. You may justify that choice either as “life is too short to give my time to trolls” or as “what I don’t read can’t offend and upset me”. While those may be accurate, I would sincerely question whether they are in your, or our, best long-term interests.
Thanks for reading, and for your thoughts.