Saturday, January 14, 2017

Trying to put the bird in its cage

Twitter seems like it was created just for me.

Every time I read an article on the future of Twitter that details how it's having trouble attracting and keeping users -- I can't fathom how that's happening. It's everything I want.

- Constant stream of news and information

- Always on

- Curated feed of people I like to read

- Minimal interference from advertising (the occasional promoted tweet but nothing more)

- Tendency to feature snarky thoughts, jokes and one-liners

It's no wonder I've been addicted. But it's also a little surprising that I'm trying really hard to stop.

I love getting new information -- probably too much -- and I'm trying to re-orient myself to keep my dips into the Twitter-stream to a minimum.

Why? Well, first, I have a second kid now. That means I have even less time to check in with my phone.

But more importantly I think Twitter makes me marginally more informed, but significantly more agitated.

The news that breaks on Twitter is one of the best things about it -- and for major events there's still no place to beat it. But for everything else, it just takes every incremental piece of news and throws a huge cloud of craziness around it.

And the democracy of every user essentially having an equal voice is the contributor to that craziness. It's great that anyone can say anything I suppose -- but that everyone is treating equally means there's a lot more chaff in that wheat than there should be.

That chaff ends up getting me angry -- and it's so much a part of the platform that I think I need to take a step back for a while.

As an example -- I follow a lot of political tweeters -- and sometimes I look at their tweet. Then I look at the responses to the tweet. Most of them are nonsense and garbage. And I'll see a garbage tweet and I'll think, 'really? this person believes this?', and I'll dig into that garbage response and find MORE garbage responses -- or a garbage conservation or a garbage manifesto. Just piles and piles of garbage thoughts, processed into 140 character bits, shouted into a void. But somehow I'm finding that garbage through the void, and when I step back I realize it's just some random goofball with 6 followers who I'll never meet.

You do that enough times and you start to wonder about how you choose to allocate your time.

And by the way, it's not just political tweeters. It's sports. It's movies. This is across the board.

Everyone's stupid thoughts are just as available as actually meaningful thoughts or information. It's like Twitter saw the message board at any newspaper website and thought, 'let's let this people talk about EVERYTHING'

And sure - I've been one of those people too, although I like to think at least my tweets are properly spelled.

But since I don't know how I can fix it from my side, I think the best thing I can do is put it down and slowly back away. We'll see if I can manage that.

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