I got a question this week - why didn’t I get into Twitter? Or more accurately, why didn’t it stick?
I’ve tried Twitter two or three times now. It never felt right to me, and I think the reason is I never felt connected on it. I knew a couple folks on there and would see their stuff and maybe respond back but I never felt like you could have a good back-and-forth on there. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say I could never have a good back-and-forth on there - I’ve seen many a screenshot of a Twitter conversation that ballooned into a large group discussion with quite a few interesting ideas. I’ve never been in one, or even seen one go by (notably I have a similar experience with 4chan, but I suspect in that case it’s more due to the user experience).
I think that’s been my impression for several reasons. Probably most importantly I am very conscious of how I look in the public sphere. As a consequence I am afraid to say almost anything on Twitter unless it’s lighthearted and unsubstantial. Few of my thoughts fit into the character limit to Twitter posts (this may be different now that it’s been raised - maybe I should give it another shot). Counterpoint: I also feel like when I have said anything on Twitter that it’s just fired off into the aether, never to be heard by anyone. I don’t think I’ve ever been engaged with on Twitter. So why do I have the aforementioned tendency towards not posting anything real?
I have been trying out Mastodon recently, and have found the community to feel more engaged - I’ve sent messages to people whose thoughts interested me, and they’ve gotten back to me. I’m curious if this is more of the type of experience people had on early Twitter, when there were fewer people and fewer posts to keep track of (maybe I don’t cull my following list enough?).
I’m forced to conclude that all of these problems are solvable. I don’t think I will though, for a few reasons. One, Twitter’s gotten quite a bit of bad press recently for moderation issues; if that’s accurate, it worries me that I could invest time into a platform that could decide I’m not welcome there (though as above, I’m a small fry & they wouldn’t notice me). Two, there have been a few high-profile Twitter witch hunts in which a person tweets the wrong thing and the Twitterverse decides they’ve got to take action (Jon Ronson’s TED talk on this topic is probably the best resource if you haven’t seen it).
None of these are likely. But I suppose I don’t see what Twitter can offer me that’s worth surmounting those admittedly-paltry-in-practice obstacles (except perhaps @dril, he’s a genius - or maybe a total nut; and Norm, whose humor is exceptional). As a result I don’t think I’ll go back for a third (fourth?) round.
Think I’m right? Think I’m wrong? Hit me up
on Twitter in the comments and let me know why; I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say.