Should we just say no?
Should we just say no?

After much thought, some of it prompted by the election, some of it not, I’m contemplating giving up Twitter.

I got Twitter in 2008 and loved it for years. I “met” lots of random awesome people, especially Russian speakers, and enjoyed tweeting in bad Russian and sharing articles related to Russia. Once I even managed to get then-president Dmitry Medvedev’s aide Arkady Dvorkovich to tweet to me, along with hawkish Russian nationalist politician Dmitry Rogozin. Rogozin and I actually had an entire conversation on Twitter and it was awesome.

Then a couple of things happened. Twitter went public, which meant it wasn’t just a cute website with the occasional ad and venture capital funding as a way of earning money. It was now beholden to shareholders, which means there’s an expectation to deliver positive growth quarter after quarter. The company had changed and the site just wasn’t as fun anymore.

Or maybe I changed. I’ve written before about how combative and nasty Russia-watching has become. I didn’t just mean in the blogosphere. A lot of the nastiness I experienced was on Twitter.

Still, I stuck with Twitter. Maybie it was out of misguided loyalty, but a writing group I was a part of congregated on there. I enjoyed interacting with fellow writers and giving (and receiving!) encouragement. Writing is a very solitary process and it’s always nice to connect with like-minded people. Then the election happened and—well, let’s just say a lot of those people weren’t who I thought they were. I’m in touch with some of them still, but over email.

Basically, there’s nothing left for me on Twitter anymore. If I want to meet writers, there are better websites out there, plus I have some Twitter friends who have become email friends. If I want to speak Russian, there’s iTalki. I recently reactivated my account and hope to actually learn how to use it this time around. And if I want to network with other book lovers, Goodreads has always been way better for this than Twitter.

I doubt I’ll delete my Twitter account anytime soon. It can be a great resource for connecting with some indie authors I like. (Though now that I think about it, I have those people’s email addresses too!) I just… don’t really see the point of Twitter anymore. I don’t dislike it strongly like I do Facebook or Snapchat (I have proudly never used the latter); I just feel neutral about Twitter. I don’t genuinely like it the way I do Pinterest.

In general, I do think cutting back—way back—on social media use is a good thing. I saw we bring back blogging. Blogging may have been the “original social media” in that it had comments, which let people interact with each other, but it has largely fallen by the wayside since the advent of social media. That’s too bad because blogging allows for more substantial analysis and discussions than social media does.

What are your thoughts, readers? Have you soured on social media and cut back? Or never used it at all? Let me know in the comments!

12 thoughts on “Why I’m Thinking Of Quitting Twitter

  1. It’s amazing how many people I’ve interacted with lately, post-election, have decried the evils of social media. I get it but I’m not sure if I agree–yet. Maybe because I don’t use social media THAT much (which isn’t to say that I don’t check it a few times a day). For the reasons you mentioned, I used to be much more into blogging. Then Twitter and Goodreads kind of gave me an easier way to interact that didn’t involve having to craft blog posts and spend lots of time reading through other blogs. I don’t know. . . I’m still getting my thoughts together on this too. Social media is kind of a vacuum, some say a narcissistic one (though I think that depends on the user). Social media does not paint a true portrait of life and trends, instead catering to what our own beliefs already are. Even while realizing that, I still appreciate being able to get insights into what other people think about things that they might not express in passing on streets, corridors, aisles, and lines in our fast-paced world. I think social media is good for helping to organize live events–that’s something I’m looking more into in the aftermath of an election season that broke many of our hearts.

    1. I think the thing is some people—myself included—use social media SO MUCH that it starts to take over our lives and we don’t even realize it at first. Since writing that post, I’ve been using Twitter very moderately and I feel like that’s working out better for me. I think I’m going to keep it. After all, there are still people on there I enjoy interacting with!🙂

  2. If you do decide to give up Twitter, I won’t blame you. In fact, I’m mulling my own gradual abandonment of Twitter for precisely the same reasons you are. I originally joined the site to keep up with my favorite Russia-watchers and communicate with a handful of friends. And maybe to promote my own blog a little. But the Russia-West confrontation marched on, the election happened, and almost everyone I followed on Twitter – from think tanks to friends – started showing their true [ideological] colors. Very unpleasant. I’m stressed-out and weary enough as is without Twitter making things worse. I don’t want to get angry over a Russia-related tweet that’ll be buried in like, an hour. I’d much rather read, write reviews, talk with those Twitter friends via email, push for that B2, or maybe even start writing short stories again!

    1. I agree completely! Another thing I remember reading is the average life of a tweet is something like 12 or 24 minutes. I don’t remember precisely, but it wasn’t very long. Anyway, a couple weeks ago I encountered a great Twitter thread about the Balkans in the 1990s. I didn’t agree at all with what the person said, but it was interesting and made me think. Anyway, this thread is basically lost in the mass of tweets out there, since I forgot to favorite it or retweet it. All I can think of now is how much better it would have been to have read that on a blog. There probably would have been comments and a discussion and I could have bookmarked the page. Oh well. All power to the blogs! (If you get the history reference here, kudos to you.🙂 )

    1. Why haven’t I seen the photos of your fish and your cat?! Somehow I’ve missed this! Maybe I was following so many people that all their tweets drowned yours out. Good thing I unfollowed a bunch of accounts already!

  3. I’ve been thinking along these lines for a while, too, for various reasons They love to say that email is passé … but I don’t think it is!🙂 Do you know Cal Newport’s Deep Work? I’d be interested to hear what you decide in the end🙂

    1. I’ve heard of it! That book actually somewhat inspired this post. After an extended hiatus from Twitter, I’m not sure I want to leave entirely. But I probably will cut back my use.

  4. I’ve been on Twitter since January 2012. I used to be a fan of Twitter. Now I’m also more ‘neutral’ towards it. I do enjoy Gab.ai as more free speech oriented social media platform (it’s a mixture of Twitter & Reddit to put it simple). I think they can ban my Twitter accounts any time for my political views. I’m an ex-ultraliberal Russian who turned conservative after the Ukraine crisis.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s