Why I'm Abandoning Twitter
October 20th, 2020 at 9:53 AM by Kugee
Update (10/22 at 4:25 AM): Now that Razorback has an RSS feed, I can confirm my Twitter handle @KugeeRah will be deleted on December 31st, 2020.
Twitter's function should be simple - be a platform for anyone to post short updates and keep track of other people's updates. In practice, it kind of works, but even with its low maintenance required compared to other social media platforms, it's not exactly glamorous.
To start, Twitter has always had a strong emphasis on celebrities, most of which are very self-centered and insufferable. I can't see myself thriving in a field that does such a thing. It's not all that often that you find anything thought provoking on the website, so it makes it more of a location where you can willfully go to be force fed some forgettable crapass.
But you don't have to follow celebrities, now do you? In theory, you can fill up your entire feed with nothing but the most blessed tweets, full of sunshine and rainbows... or get a laugh out of some cursed imagery where Green Elmo is the main character of Angry Birds. The possibilities are endless, but you have to go out of your way to look for the good stuff. Trends, which are basically hashtags or topics that get mentioned a lot in tweets in a short time, will still get in your face, of course.
I've run a couple Twitter accounts from 2009 to 2012, never really got much enjoyment out of them. In fact, the only reason why I opened another one in 2015 was because I wanted to prepare for the possibility that I may become a prominent public figure, mainly having the idea of programming an ambitious game in mind (even though that STILL hasn't gotten started yet). Even as I gained a significant level of popularity on YouTube, most of it has never carried over to Twitter. Not everyone who has a YouTube channel has a Twitter handle, but still, this is already a sign that this venture wasn't worth it.
This Week In Political News
Little did I know that Twitter was on the verge of a fucking ugly transformation from a news feed of Johnny down the street to a political warzone. A number of things were happening at once: the popular Gamergate narrative was in full swing, a standard uncharismatic presidential candidate was up against someone so unhinged like no one else at the time, and a new breed of right wing was emerging at the same time as leftists grew more vocal in their push for social justice. I had some political beliefs prior to all of this, but they were vague, disorganized, and regularly flip-flopping because I had no idea how politics actually worked.
The toxicity of Twitter's political discourse brutalized my view on so many other people, developing abnormal cynicism for anyone even slightly off beat... that's the idea, isn't it? Everyone I've ever come across in a poltical thread had some bone to pick with anyone with differing opinions. Whether those opinions were rational or blatantly extreme, it didn't matter. Someone was going to be pissed off.
I caught the right end of the Gamergate frenzy, convincing myself that someone going by Anita Sarkeesian had this evil mastermind plot to censor the living shit out of white men. Slowly, I started to find out that wasn't the case at all, leaving me wondering how the hell I was going to make up for the fire I was helping to spread without making someone else flip out. I had no solution, so I was forced to keep my thoughts sheltered for years as I continued to study the left's perspective.
Of course, getting myself out of one rabbit hole wasn't exactly helping me with seeing any light in others with differing beliefs. Everything just became inverted, so to speak. Rather than being riled up about blue-haired feminists taking over Star Wars or any other high-budget movie I never cared about to begin with, I had more of a hatred for anyone who was still in that mindset even slightly. Perhaps it is warranted given there's still red hat hipster pundits running YouTube channels hammering the same tired arguments for money, but...
...let's face it, as important as politics is, it's not fun. It's fucking HORRIBLE. Politics is a mental strain that basically reminds you that the world is burning and there's nothing you can do about it on your own. It makes you extortionate and/or depressed. You could say we should be organizing more, but I can't say I have so much time to get involved in that. I'm driven not by a right to exist, but self-growth and action to move closer to my own aspirations.
Factions in both the left and right are guilty of feeding this bitter impression I've received of political discussion. I've seen very hyper violent tweets from conservatives openly calling for the deaths of anyone who's "anti-American", and I've seen insufferably stupid tweets from liberals defending a shitty education system and junk mail. Junk mail. Why, because it provides funding for a glorious federal institution that can do no wrong? Not that UPS or FedEx are any better, but holy shit, what about all the paper, ink, and energy being wasted? Don't you think everyone would be better off if junk mail wasn't a thing?
Wait... politics can be civilized?
For a number of months, I didn't want to let politics into my Discord server very much at all. I was certain that it would only lead to big trouble. Then, over the last few days, some members starting sharing their takes on a few delicate political subjects. Some honestly hurt a bit to read, but what was most shocking about all of it was that it wasn't cutthroat as things tend to be on Twitter. People from both left and right leanings came together to spill their beans in a constructive manner, and it proves that you can hold most any set of values without being a fucking asshole about it.
I'll never be willing to give room to anyone who fetishizes genocide or a will to ensure anyone outside of their views don't get the rights they deserve, but I think if you truly believe in your political views, you have to be willing to listen to the opposition so as long as they are cooperative. Anyone can turn around if you gradually provide them with more substantial arguments without attacking their character; since the 2008 presidential election, I considered myself to be a Republican because my dad and grandpa influenced me to become one, but I am now nowhere near that as I've gone out of my way to seek the truth and clear out all the conspiratorial confusion from my mind.
That's why I know for a fact I don't want anything to do with Twitter anymore. It sounded like something that could help me be more readily available to others, but it's just eaten away at my brain. Should I have just followed better people? As of now, I only follow 19 users, predominantly close friends of which I want to keep an eye out for, so I don't know what you could possibly ask me to do to make Twitter more tolerable. Now that I have this website up and running, I'm seriously considering deleting my Twitter account. My tweets get even less traction than any YouTube video I post, so what's the point of staying there?
Twitter is Beyond Redemption
Don't think you can salvage Twitter by creating a feed of nothing but drawings of giant dragons sleeping in small beds. The website has explicitly chosen to be centered around politics in a panicked attempt to handle a fascist uprising and not get funny looks from mainstream news outlets. What we really need is a standard means of syndication and rapid posting. Some projects like Mastodon spark intrigue as they allow anyone to host a fraction of a Twitter-like platform specifically centered around a certain subject, which could allow for much healthier social networking compared to centralized solutions which have billions of users at their mercy.
RSS already exists, but tons of major platforms have been trying to kill it off. Major browsers no longer support it, some popular readers were shut down, and everyone's developed an attitude that we can all just provide updated notifications of our sites to Twitter and Facebook. Pssh... I don't care! I'm going to implement RSS into Razorback whether you like it or not, some time after I get this site converted into a format that HTML3 browsers will accept! To hell with the plague that is social media, RSS needs a booming comeback!
I do not have a set date for when I will be deleting my Twitter account, but it is something I expect to do whenever Razorback grows enough to be a viable replacement for Twitter as my update feed. I'll be sure to announce one when I'm ready.
A Followup (7/8/2021)
After a recent tragedy, I figure I should clear one thing up here. Apart from a few small things like complaining about the election outcome, none of my relatives have ever been so deep into conspiracy theories, as far as I'm aware, and they've never allowed it to dictate their lifestyles. I've seen accounts of it happening so much that I convinced myself that some parts of my family were eating up all of it.
I've completely stopped paying attention to politics, even the most important shit. How important is each and every little thing that happens here or abroad, anyway? Not enough to justify continuing to be subjected to propaganda from either side and have my brain rot in the process. I took my recent outlook to the extreme, and then, well... we did get things cleared up indirectly via email, but I never made myself any time to see my grandpa again, and now I can't anymore. For that, I hate Twitter, and more specifically Jack "the Ripper" Dorsey even more.
I'm never gonna give up my principles, and I still have some concerns regarding how the climate's going to play out in the future, but I want no part in this anymore. I suppose if you have similar concerns, I can point you to potholer54, who mainly relays scientific studies and debunks myths that pop up in the media without any political agenda attached. As for me, I'm more concerned about getting myself up to a better position than anything else.