A confession: I used to do Twitter, however I don’t do Twitter anymore.
I didn’t need to do Twitter. Ever.
I’ve lived a full and, for probably the most half, good life with out having to share a second of that full, and for probably the most half, good life on Twitter or every other social media platform.
Today, I’m a Twitter unicorn.
Nonetheless, about 9 years in the past, an editor in Ottawa I wrote for inspired me to hitch Twitter as a result of a couple of journalists – his buddies – requested, on Twitter, why I used to be not on Twitter.
He was desirous to have me “push” my stuff on Twitter so I might generate “extra site visitors” and “hits” for my weekly column again then.
Extra “hits” meant “extra site visitors.” “Extra site visitors” normally translated into extra “followers” on Twitter. Attracting extra “followers” was going to make him, me and my “followers” pleased that I used to be on Twitter.
I didn’t want or need to discover happiness on Twitter. The prospect of getting “followers” was unusual and off-putting. I didn’t need or want anybody to “observe” me on-line. Learn me: sure, please. Comply with me: no thanks.
Anyway, reluctantly, I agreed to arrange an account and “push” my missives on Twitter.
Hey, I might need been rewarded with a blue examine mark. Validation. Standing. Clout. Twitter can remodel you from a no person right into a someone – immediately.
Twitter may also make it easier to construct your “model”. Possibly sometime you possibly can leverage your “model” to earn a living. A lot of big-name journalists do it. Good for them, I suppose. Goodness is aware of, with so many roles going poof, journalists want different methods to make a dwelling. I used to be not thinking about turning myself right into a model.
At first, I believed Twitter was innocent. I wrote a column. I “pushed” the column on Twitter. Quickly, folks started to “observe” me. Over time, I netted extra “followers” – a few of whom wrote sort and considerate tweets about me and my column. Others didn’t.
Slowly, I started to get sucked into the disfiguring vortex of Twitter. If you’re on Twitter, you most likely know what I’m referring to. It’s that place and way of thinking that you may descend into on Twitter – consciously or subconsciously.
It’s not a contented place, in any respect. It’s a surly, imply, typically ugly place and house the place you write and do issues that you could be or could not remorse having written or carried out. Maybe not within the second, however afterward, when, in case you are fortunate, you’re taking time to suppose and replicate upon what you will have written or change into on Twitter.
Like so many others on Twitter, you lash out, you strike again, you flip nasty, you purpose to prick folks deeply.
They reply in unhappy, equal measure. Some use their actual names, others cover behind a nom de guerre.
You start to draw much more “followers” who get pleasure from it if you lash out, strike again, and are nasty to or purpose to prick a standard foe.
They applaud and urge you on. They “like” and “retweet” your tweets. It’s gas. So, you tweet and tweet till, someday, you search for and see that you’ve spent hours contained in the vortex. A lot wasted time. You could possibly have spent that point doing one thing way more useful and rewarding like studying a guide or having fun with a second of stillness.
Then, you perceive that, in a means, you will have change into hooked on this ephemeral factor known as Twitter. It’s an unhealthy, damaging dependancy. You can not wean your self off. You stop. Chilly Turkey. You might be carried out with Twitter. Your tweets and “followers” disappear into the ether like a dusty gust of wind.
You be at liberty.
By now, chances are you’ll be questioning why I’m sharing the mundane arc of my expertise on Twitter with you.
Nicely, as you realize, Twitter has a brand new proprietor – Elon Musk. He’s, as you realize, the richest man on earth. Musk says he purchased Twitter to defend democracy and to guard freedom of expression. He desires, apparently, to “repair” Twitter.
Musk could also be a “visionary” and a wonderful huckster, however he’s a awful fibber.
There are not any benevolent plutocrats.
Musk is shopping for Twitter for $44bn not solely as a result of he’s one of some white males who can elevate that astounding amount of cash, however to feed his narcissism. It’s the identical corrosive pressure of narcissism that made me keep on Twitter for so long as I did earlier than I had a belated epiphany.
I additionally suppose that Musk is shopping for Twitter as a result of he desires to be liked. The Beatles wrote that “cash can’t purchase me love”. I believe Musk believes that, past energy, Twitter can certainly purchase him love.
Currently, Musk has been getting a number of love from individuals who use Twitter to hate on folks, concepts and information they detest – “liberals,” gays, minorities, scientists, medical doctors, journalists, and all types of nameless individuals who combat injustice, inequality and deadly viruses, even youngsters who know the earth is burning up and need to do one thing about it.
That’s, with an apologetic nod to Led Zeppelin, a complete lotta unhealthy love.
It’s true that many individuals who use Twitter attempt to do some good. It seems that Musk plans to “repair” Twitter by emboldening the haters who use Twitter to do harm and hurt within the expedient title of “free speech.”
Certain, it’s “free speech,” Mr Musk. It’s hate speech, too. Each second of daily. Day after day. On Twitter. Hate of girls. Hate of immigrants. Hate of Black and brown folks. Hate of people that need to love and marry individuals who they need to love and marry. Hate of affection, charity, and data. Hate of progress. Hate of democracy. Hate of anybody who doesn’t suppose, act or appear to be them.
Admit it, Mr Musk, you might be shopping for Twitter to defend hate speech. Proper? I imply, it’s important to since what would Twitter be with out the worldwide sewer of hate that’s such an plain and defining side of your microblogging website, Mr Musk?
Take your time, Mr Musk. I can wait in your solutions, if you’ll oblige a blue-check-mark-less no person who deserted Twitter lengthy earlier than you determined to purchase it.
Whereas I’m ready, I can remind you that the far-right loonies who’ve fallen head over heels in love with you will have, within the final 9 months, banned greater than 1,500 books at school districts all through america, together with a graphic novel concerning the Holocaust.
Your response, so far as I can inform: Silence. Odd for America’s marquee and messianic saviour of “free speech”. On June 4, 2020, you probably did, nevertheless, tweet that it was “insane” for Amazon to ban a slim, self-published pamphlet that accused the mainstream media of “overstating the menace” of a virus that has killed nearly a million Individuals.
And, come on, Mr Musk, admit it: like each different plutocrat, you might want to purchase a brand new toy when the irresistible urge strikes. The outdated toys – like your electrical automobiles – inevitably lose their sheen and attraction. Even the richest man on earth will get bored. So, time for a brand new toy to really feel that life-affirming burst of pleasure and a focus – like using a gleaming rocket into house.
Most of all, I believe Musk is shopping for Twitter to make much more cash. The “ideology” that guides the selections that plutocrats like Musk make shouldn’t be the defence of democracy or free speech. Oh, please. It’s the pursuit of money and its twin, affect – even when which means aiding and abetting a fascist demagogue to change into president once more.
In the event you consider laissez-faire capitalists like Musk are altruists then you definately doubtless consider, hand on coronary heart, that America is a shining metropolis on a hill.
Musk has acquired to get a return on his mammoth funding. If he doesn’t, he’ll lose cash. Plutocrats don’t like dropping cash.
The way in which to earn a living on Twitter is to get extra folks into the vortex I as soon as inhabited. Then, it’s important to maintain them there. Addicted. Meaning feeding the insatiable beast with extra hate, extra anger, extra ignorance.
Simply admit it, Mr Musk.
Your foolish, sentimental, transparently fatuous defence of freedom and democracy is so unbecoming.
The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.