Twitter is where you say you really, really like the ice cream at Kurt Farm Shop and a nice Christian lady in Texas calls you an asshole—that happened to me this weekend—and we go there anyway. Willingly. Some of us spend more time on Twitter than we would like to admit. But two high-profile tweeters with millions of followers have left Twitter in the last few weeks. "It didn't make me feel good," Louie C.K. said after deleting his Twitter account in April. "It made me feel bad instead. So I stopped doing it." And on Monday, Joss Whedon deleted his Twitter account. He explained why to BuzzFeed:
Whedon said he took stock of everything good Twitter was providing him—access to stories he found interesting, people he admired, and jokes he found funny—and everything bad it was throwing at him—the troll-y hate and surfeit of praise—and realized that the real issue wasn’t Twitter at all. “The real issue is me,” he said. “Twitter is an addictive little thing, and if it’s there, I gotta check it. When you keep doing something after it stops giving you pleasure, that’s kind of rock bottom for an addict... I just had a little moment of clarity where I’m like, You know what, if I want to get stuff done, I need to not constantly hit this thing for a news item or a joke or some praise, and then be suddenly sad when there’s hate and then hate and then hate.... I think the articles that I found, I can find elsewhere,” he said. “I’ll miss some jokes. Maybe I’ll have to go out to a club to see jokes! I think that’s already an improvement in my life.”
Twitter is addictive. And the hate, hate, hate is exhausting. I've thought about quitting Twitter more than once, but I'm not ready to walk away from the jokes, the stories, and the people. I've actually made some good new friends on Twitter. I am, however, trying to change the way I exist/lurk/interact on Twitter—something I was inspired to do after reading Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed. I don't want to be a snowflake in the avalanche anymore. (That will make sense after you read the book.) So I'm increasingly blocking people I had hate-followed, muting people whose feeds are nothing but bile, and resisting the urge to mix it up with right-wingers who have their heads up their asses and people "on my side" who only punch sideways. (They don't punch up, they don't punch down, they punch only the people standing with them.)
It took me 40 minutes to toss up this little nothing of a Slog post because I checked Twitter—I got sucked into Twitter—six times while drafting it. So there's that.