After having spent a few months early this year swimming deep in the NFT crypto art waters of Twitter, and amassed a couple thousand followers, I ended up deleting my Twitter account. It was quite an ordeal, actually, to wait the 30 days between deactivation and deletion. The FOMO they instill is real. And its even worse now that they disabled functionality for logged out users. (Btw, here’s a Reddit thread on disabling the annoying pop-up modals for logged out use – basically you just block cookies from Twitter.com in your browser preferences)
But in the end, I was very happy to do it. I spent years not using Twitter, due to then job-related mild PTSD. Then I tried to use it as a “civilian” and found it still tiresome, until I started making money selling crypto art. But the bottom fell out rapidly of the NFT market boom and it quickly became a grind.
What else do I hate about Twitter? The politics. The tone. The performance. The complaining. The endless wheel-spinning. When I use Twitter, I become all those things I hate too. It’s like a disease. For me, the only solution was cutting it off at the source. Bleeding the well dry, and ending the habit-cycle of going there to check in on the infinitely diminishing returns that are social media.
As I wrote elsewhere about algorithm fatigue, if you don’t post on social media for a month, a week, a day, an hour, everyone forgets you. You become nothing the second you stop feeding the machine. Even while you’re feeding the machine, you’re still nothing.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get stuck in stupid cycles of pointless, endless internet browsing. And I still feed the Reddit beast (mainly as a bookmarking tool), but its a less harsh master the way that I use it. I made it work for me. I guess you could do that with Twitter, but, actually no. I don’t think so. I think if you use Twitter, you become all that bullshit, whether you’re intending to or not, whether you think you are or not.
So now, when I’m able to discipline myself, I’m trading my spare moments of internet bullshit for either blogging here to an audience of zero. Well, an audience of 1. Me. And that’s just fine. I’m an introvert in the end, so… And then apart from that, I’ve rebooted books as my replacement to social media.
Jonathan Swift is 100x funnier than the latest Twitter hot take. If it’s lasted 300+ years and still funny, that seems to me to count for more than something that’s been popular 300 seconds, and will die in another 300 seconds. I’m not trying to be holier-than-thou. I’m just trying to spell out the terms of my own experience, my own struggle, and how I’m maybe finding ways out of it. I don’t think I’m alone in all this. But I think few people are being honest with themselves about how shitty it all has become.
Found this earlier via a small Discord group I’m in (which still feels like a safer proxy than Twitter to web trends), a conspiracy that claims the internet “died” in 2016-17. Apart from all the shitty links to 4chan/8chan apparent in the linked sources to that article, I at least resonate with that vibe. That everything is fake. That everything is gamed. That everything is empty, and hollow, and a vast manipulation. And that’s how any good conspiracy theory gets you, is emotional resonance. It taps into something you know isn’t right, or isn’t just, etc. And then leverages that crack into a vast canyon…
One of the things I guess I’m getting from going back through Utopian Satires of centuries gone by is that, in a lot of ways maybe, society hasn’t changed that much. People still hated xyz all this time ago. Things were still rotten, and corrupt, and fundamentally broken since basically forever. It’s not some new thing created by the internet, necessarily. Not created by, but certainly exacerbated by, and intensified by orders of magnitude. And I don’t see any way out of it. Except through personal choice, iron will, and discipline to put down all the bad parts, and shake the dust from your feet. But it’s a solitary road. Just like reading “dumb” books. So maybe, in the end, we’re made for each other…