trenchant.org

by adam mathes
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Unfollow Everything

Quitting twitter in 2016 is less an act of courage than one of desperation.

You Might Like: Never Coming Back To This Desolate Hellscape

The tweeting of “delete your account” – the equivalent of screaming “kill yourself” at a schoolyard bully – by a woman who rose to national attention by being married to a president who cheated on her to such an extent it caused a constitutional crisis and is now running for that same office of president based on a campaign predicated on having better judgment than an orange reality television actor and peddler of comical get rich quick real estate schemes – may be the defining awful moment of the toxic intersection of addiction-focused media, ultra-polarizing politics, and my inability to even know what to think.

The optimist in me wants to believe that will be the defining moment, but the pragmatist in me knows it’s just going to get worse.

So I give up.

Also, you can’t write incomprehensible run-on sentence-paragraphs like that on Twitter without compromising them. So why even bother writing at all.

If You Quit Twitter And Don’t Tweet About It Are You Counted as A Monthly Active User

After decades of technology and media eradicating quiet moments and filling them with content that constantly assault us for attention we finally succeeded in the war against boredom.

Boredom is dead.

I’ve spent nearly a decade curating my Twitter feed but I’m sure there’s plenty of completely valid data science that indicates people are less effective at choosing what to see in terms of optimizing their own engagement.

Monetizing all this freely supplied content with advertising that tries even harder to get our attention means that social media systems like Twitter and Facebook are fundamentally architected and designed to increase “engagement” and “retention” – which is mostly just a euphemism for “addiction.”

Which means I have to see things like a viral Hillary Clinton tweet because statistically speaking I’m more likely to engage even though for me personally my fight or flight instinct has finally kicked in and you can’t fight social media. You can only run away.

We fixed the boredom problem. Now we have a misery problem.

I feel worse after using Twitter. So I just have to stop.

The internet – and specifically social media – in 2016 feels like an overflowing toxic sludge of misery built on social envy, isolation, and the taxoplasma of rage.

Day 1

I deleted Twitter from my iPhone.

I deleted Tweetbot from my iPhone.

Day 2

I deleted Twitter from my iPad.

I deleted Tweetbot from my iPad.

Day 3

I logged out of Twitter on my personal computers.

Day 4

I’m writing this. It’s probably too over the top. Tone it down man, geez.

And why didn’t I bother to carefully craft a pseudonymous following in the past 20 years for this sort of thing? Total lack of forethought in my teenage years.

Design For Inattention

What we consume in our media diet matters. What we create matters. Where we put it matters. How we interact maters.

How do we break out of this cycle of social media hearts and stars rage-fueled engagement optimized algorithmic garbage?

I don’t know, but I guess step one is admitting we have a problem.