Michael 84

Saying Goodbye To Twitter – It’s Got To Toxic For Me

Thursday, 28th February, 2019

Twitter Is Too Toxic Now - Bye

Twitter, It’s not you, It’s me….OK That’s a lie, it is you. It’s just not working out any more. It’s over

It’s 2019, and it is my 10th year of using Twitter for the blog, and probably 11th overall. I posted on the blog a few years ago that I thought Twitter just wasn’t the same, and in the past 3 or 4 years, I’ve used it less and less. From the heights of posting 400 times a month in 2011 and 2012, to the lows of the past couple of years, sometimes barely making it to 50 tweets a month.

What has changed? Mainly two things. Myself, and the world.

First of all I’d like to say what Twitter was, and why I always considered it to be my favourite platform. I loved it. It was like old school Internet. You could connect with people and create a community, talk to people which shared the same interests, and of course I could talk to blog readers, you guys. It was a platform for expression, you could say pretty much what you wanted, that old fashioned freedom of speech.

It was also a place for news. I would load up Twitter just to find out what’s going on in the world. It doesn’t matter if you wanted breaking news or just find out about a football result, something on TV or basically anything else, Twitter had it for you, instantly.

I’ve connected with some cool people, some nice people, other bloggers and local people who are nice genuine folk.

But years later, it’s just not a fun place to be anymore. So, what happened?

Twitter has got to toxic for me. Too much negativity

It is immensely polarising – You’re either one or the other, and there’s no middle ground. This it for any topic at all, from the very serious to the completely trivial. Politics is a huge topic and has been for the past 3 years, Trump, Brexit and the like. This dominates conversation, everyone has turned into a politician, and if you don’t share their view, whatever it is, you’ll hear about it.

No longer free speech – Coming on the back of the polarisation, Twitter is no longer a place you’re completely free to say what you want. If you have an opinion, there’s someone there to shout you down, and that’s if you’re lucky. If you’re not, there’s always a fear of 100’s, 1000’s or even 10,000’s of people to attack you for writing one tweet that someone doesn’t agree with.

I’ve never suffered from this, but there’s always that fear that it could possibly happen. There’s also the fear of writing something which may offend, and being subject to some kind of legal action.

People who complain, about those who complain – It’s no secret that people vent on Twitter about problems, I’ve definitely done it, not often, but it’s happened. If you’re not happy with a product, service or company, you can complain on Twitter. However, people are now complaining, at those who are making a valid complaint.

A good example was last year when the whole O2 mobile network was down for a day. People have paid for a service, they’re O2 customers so can rightly complain at O2 (It doesn’t mean you are obliged to, but that’s your choice as a customer). But on Twitter these people got a huge amount of hate, just because they complained about the service they’re paying for which wasn’t working.

The general negativity – It could be that the world isn’t a great place right now, but Twitter feels generally negative, which feels toxic. All you hear about is bad stuff, and when you have millions of people able to comment on it, it just compounds it.

The Annoying Ads – My god, the ads. I am sick to death of seeing ads, but not just any ads. The same ones, over, and over, and over. I know I’m not the only one, because when you click them and read the comments, they’re scathing. It highlights the toxic nature of the platform, but I do kind of understand the comments, as those people are also sick of seeing the ads. This is especially bad for me being a blogger, because a lot of the ads have featured bloggers, who’ve got a huge amount of stick from them.

Seeing what my followers ‘like’ – I like my followers, but we do have different interests. A lot of the time, one will like something which I really don’t want to see. It could be something I don’t agree with, or it could be negative, toxic or drama. Either way, Twitter’s algorithm shows it to me. I have to see it, because the only other option is to unfollow the person, which I don’t want to do.

This never used to be the way Twitter worked, but they’ve had this in their system for a while, so now my timeline (and yours) will have content which you don’t want to see, and there’s no switch to turn off seeing what others have ‘liked’ on your timeline.

It’s a distraction – When I want to be productive, Twitter is distracting. I can be in the middle of doing something, and I’ll just load up Twitter to see what’s happening. I’ll then read, or tweet, or find a story to read from a link on Twitter. Even if I don’t Tweet, I can be on Twitter and waste so much time doing virtually nothing, when I have plenty to do.

The Drama – Oh yes, how can I forget the Twitter drama. It could be arguments between 2 or more people, then others get involved, people pick sides, there’s passive-aggressive tweets, and general negative vibes for at least a few hours. Drama is draining, and it’s not something I can be bothered with, on Twitter or in life.

Everyone is an thinks they are expert on absolutely everything – Just like everyone else, I have knowledge on certain things, and some things I don’t. Twitter used to be a good place to share knowledge and conversation. For example I take photos for the blog, but I’m not a professional photographer, so I wouldn’t dream of arguing with someone who’s a pro who’s been doing it for years.

However Twitter is a place where so many people think because they’ve done something they’re an expert, especially in the blogosphere. It’s so easy to get drawn into arguments which is never a good thing. The people who genuinely believe they’re right will not be swayed, even if they’ve got no real knowledge and you do.

So, for all of the reasons above, and probably a lot more, I’m not longer using Twitter.

What’s Next?

Well, I say not using Twitter, but I’ll still be ‘on‘ Twitter, it’s probably more accurate to say I’ll not be participating on Twitter. From now on, I’ll only be posting out links from the blog, so everyone who follows me on Twitter will still be able to read my content, and stay updated on the blog. This may phase out in time.

But that is all. I am going to try to not load up Twitter, not read anything, and sadly that means not replying to any messages either (please don’t be offended when I don’t reply if you message me). I can post out links without going on to the platform, so will not be bogged down with the toxicity or the distraction, and just post links every now and then.

Since I am a blogger it’s more difficult to give up, because for a regular person they can just leave, but I feel like I have to use it, for sharing links at a minimum.

I can tell you that for the past few weeks it’s been pretty hard. For 10 years it’s just been instinctive to load Twitter and see what I’ve missed, what’s going on in the world, what I missed when I was asleep… Now I don’t do that. But I think it’s been healthy, I’ve not really been bothered about what I’ve missed, because usually, that’s not very much at all. I haven’t felt like I’ve missed it, it’s just a reflex action to load it, because it’s been something I’ve done for so long.

At the moment I have to remind myself to not load Twitter, but I think that will pass with time. Maybe I am not alone, according to The Verge Twitter keeps losing monthly users.

My Twitter Family – If you still want to follow me then there’s always right here on my blog, Instagram or Facebook. Sadly I probably won’t be replying to my mentions on Twitter anymore, since I’ll not be checking it.

So that’s it, I am out. Twitter, it was fun, it was memorable, and it’s another part of my Internet history. I can’t say it was as fun as the MSN or ICQ days, but I was a lot younger back then. You never know, I may go back, but I have no plans to.


Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger and T-shirt designer from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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