Twitter, thoughts thereon

… because why else do I have a blog.

I replied to Cheri Baker’s excellent post and inevitably wrote far too much for a comment:

Sure you find out about other people online, even get to know them to varying degrees but the most substantial, most humane connections do not occur via proxy.

As such my question is: is it worth constantly trying these variations on an idea and throwing them out, if one is already doing the best version of the limited task for which it is needed? I’m not sure leaving Twitter entirely makes much of a difference if you just throw your whole lot in with something else, assuming you’re looking to make at least some part of yourself available to the wider world; rather, keep something like Twitter in its place, compartmentalised and use something else for the most substantial effort with your online contributions… say, a blog, or even simply using a platform offering something different.

At some point soon I need to make some firm decisions about all of this stuff, not least because it is such a drain of energy and time neither of which I have much of to begin with. As time passes I believe pragmatism will win out:

  • First, and always first, what do you want from your time on the web.
    • Whilst peer pressue is a fun thing, this is your life to maintain no matter how much you choose to share it with others.
  • To what degree do your most idealistic thoughts do more damage to your goals if you follow them strictly to the letter.
    • Let’s not forget that it is both OK and entirely healthy to actually change your thinking on, well, most issues.

Let’s look at that second one in particular, since so much of Twitter is often guided by people’s different contributions to the collective culture and that is at least influenced by how we feel about the world and how it works.

Even if you stay in the same general area (ideologically speaking), your thoughts can change to something no longer befitting of those upon which you chose to take your particular stand. And all of this time, and this energy, to decide about the thing… the trappings of the things… without truly actually doing the thing!

There is no doubting the influence of these closed networks, obviously, but if they become more than just the means to your goals I am not confident we are using them as the tool they ought to be. The approach feels so confused; the tool, Twitter, ought not be the focus of our efforts especially when the worst actors within our communities simply could not care less about this angle – they are too busy using it to their ends!

Perhaps it is time to simply step back, take a deep breath, put Twitter into the compartment within which we can maintain its usefulness as tool – rather than, say, as public consciousness – and turn our most intense efforts towards the issues underlying that which many people currently agree to be the most urgent problem.

Simon Woods @simonwoods


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