I’ve been on a long ride with this microblogging-whatever-the-hell-it-is platform, and I’ve noticed a few patterns in my usage evolving over the years. So here, at the end of the decade, is:
How I use Twitter
- To learn - There is a wealth of knowledge being casually thrown around here, and it takes a variety of forms. I’m regularly floored by the explainer-threads of @SarahTaber_bww, the wander-threads of @Oniropolis, and the straight-up realtime history of @RealTimeWWII
- To listen - My occasionally-benighted/provincial Vermontiness is made immeasurably better by the observations of @EricaJoy , the perspectives of @longdrivesouth , the affirmations of @Lin_Manuel , and the vignettes of @PaulSalopek
- To geek the f*** out - My geo-people remain a gregarious lot in this space, and it’s usually rewarding to talk shop with colleagues I’d only rarely see otherwise.
- To recall the internet at its weirdest and most wonderful
How I don’t use Twitter
- To inform - I’ve generally come to the conclusion that my voice - offering information in a vacuum - gains very little traction on its own, and isn’t really necessary. This is just fine, and I don’t miss trying to be a breaker of news or a purveyor of takes.
- To argue - I’ve observed over the years that nothing has ever been accomplished in a Twitter argument. We’re awash in bad faith enabled by distance and asynchronicity. I don’t mean that no arguments are valid. I mean they’re useless on Twitter specifically.
- To complain - When I complain about poor customer service, I’m either ignored or noticed by my follower count, neither of which feel like my energy has been well-used. When I complain about my city, I see the subtweetee the next day at the grocery store. It’s just bad vibes.
This is not The Right Way to be present on Twitter; it’s the way I’ve settled on in these strange days. My way looked different in 2012, and it’ll look different in 2024.
The best I can do is to thank you all for The Discourse.