Why I'm not really tweeting anymore

I decided to stop tweeting on the first day of 2018 for various reasons.

One, I was really bored with Twitter. Maybe it was the let-me-boil-the-lanolin-out-of-this threads. Maybe it was the we're-the-resistance-and-we're-in-the-White-House-and-he's-watching-Broken-Arrow-and-thinks-it's-the-news accounts. Maybe it was you. Maybe it was me.

Two, I think the company's actions the past few years in relation to safety have been terrible. I'm sure I'd have been really into the French Revolution if I was a contemporary peasant but I don't think it should be that easy to orchestrate death threats and doxxing. I hate that doxxing is a verb I can define. I imagine this is how people back in the day who had to live with the reality of leeches as a proposed medical solution felt.

We all have the potential to be someone's Dr Frankenstein. I regret helping some people in my time, not get ahead - that's nearly always down to someone's actual graft and if someone ever took my advice on board I'd be surprised. But I have created distance from certain people, who I would have mildly championed, after I observed some stuff which morally irked me. Twitter's inability to make a decision along the lines of 'hey, I think Sarah is a bit of a nasty and hateful bitch and she says fucking insane shit, let's not invite her to drinks and the cinema this Friday' is weird.

I loved Twitter when I joined in 2010. I met so many great and funny and there-for-you people through it and managed to avoid a lot of nastiness. That latter stroke of fortune might have something to do with the fact I made a lot of my social media private about 2 years ago, and I also chose not to engage in 'debates' online. I'm not a fan of raised voices in real life and there were typed exchanges I witnessed that if I was sitting in a pub corner and saw two people speaking to each other that way I would be very uncomfortable. Perhaps I behaved that way too. If so, someone no doubt has the receipts. That's another thing that troubles me - the screenshot, a woke surveillance culture which assumes no one is capable of change or alteration. The first draft of our thoughts shouldn't be nooses. I will never forget 2 women confessing at drinks that the presence of one man on the platform made them write less, opine less, be themselves less. They feared his callouts. Imagine a horrible nasty insular person holding that much power over people? It's not even blackmail. It's pre-emptive silencing.

So, I made a decision, at the prompting of someone else last December, to stop engaging on Twitter. I still have an account and I am still getting DMs, but any glimpses I take are purposefully brief. I don't favourite anything funny or insightful that I read during these visits, which is a odd but important to me rule.

Already, I feel better. I'm consuming news media through a lense that isn't in the shadow of someone's 'interesting' or 'this' or 'disgraceful'. There are still things happening that make me angry - hello womanhood - but there's a lot of happenings that are no longer eliciting strong emotions in me. I think I've become a lot more tolerant with this distance, but then again I am operating from a place where at the end of the day I am fine. If this was Twitter I'd say I'm privileged, that's the house style there.

Yet, having your news tempered with emotion can be beneficial. Someone who will suffer from a budget cut prefacing the headline with their worrying reality teaches us lessons. Another potentially bad side-effect is I'm missing out on the edges of the news shaped by citizen journalism, or whatever the term is now. I'm playing catch-up on a lot of women's rights news.* That's perhaps an indication the national news sources I skim aren't giving certain issues light and oxygen on their homepage.

Now that I'm no longer active on Twitter, I decided to tick this off the to-do list: my website! I have no strong goals as of now. The general idea is to have a place online to link to stuff I'm working on.

In the meantime, here are some pieces I really enjoyed reading and listening to in the past few weeks:

Ace of Base by Louise Bruton

Transparency and journalism - I'm still not sure where I personally stand on this, but I chatted about this piece with a pal and from my eyeline it seems like something that people I know have an appetite for. 

This podcast with Gabourey Sidibe on what getting the role in Precious meant to her with some interesting diversions about sex lines. 
February 1, 2018

*Could someone explain the hot chocolate thing to me?

Jean Sutton