It’s OK to Ignore Twitter
About nine months ago, I stopped spending much time on Twitter. Part of this was accidental: I’d just signed a new book contract and had to transfer much of my doomscrolling time into book-writing time. But I also was exhausted. I’d been shut inside like you for most of 2020 and 2021, spending that time terrified by whatever fresh horror would await me on Twitter, and I was ready for a break. At some point, I asked myself a reasonable question: Am I happier when I close this app than I was before I opened it? The answer was never, ever “yes.”
So I’ve mostly quit. I haven’t deleted my account or anything: I still like to Tweet out pieces I’ve written, and I’m not against popping on occasionally to toss off a joke.
On the whole, though: I really don’t use Twitter anymore. I do not intend this as an indictment of the app’s power users, the people (often in media or some sort of equally self-promotional field) who open up and stare at the site all day; if it works for you, if it makes you feel a little less alone, great. The app is not without its virtues, not least of which the number of different voices it has elevated, the number of perspectives many of people have access to that might have been invisible to them otherwise. There is, and always has been, value there.
But I believe its utility has waned, and will likely continue to. One of the major issues with Twitter — perhaps the primary one — is how the people who use it seem to truly believe that all of human experience can be found on the app: As if everyone uses it. This is especially true in the media, which, because of the economic pressures the industry has found itself under, is desperate for any story it can dig up and often lacks the financial wherewithal to hire a reporter to go find one. This leads to Twitter being used not as a resource but instead as an assigning editor; if someone says something on Twitter, well, then, millions of people must feel the same thing — trend story! But not everyone…