When I joined Twitter in 2008 I was underwhelmed. I didn't have a phone plan with text messaging, so posting away from the computer was out of the question. Once I acquired a cell phone with an Internet connection, though, I came to appreciate being able to see peoples' stream of consciousness. These were not neatly prepared, tidy bytes. These were raw and formational. I love that stuff because you can interject and influence someone's ideas as they come into existence. So that's the Twitter I fell in love with.
Nowadays I find Twitter to be heartbreaking. Tweets that were sincere expressions would just get absorbed into the void without comment, but I'd get a deluge of hate and vitriol on a regular basis. It's impossible to be spontaneous because you could be judged, not based on your timeline of evolving thoughts, but on 140 characters. You know - maybe you were just hoping for some feedback for what you might ultimately decide to be a terrible idea. But tweets became toxic. Those toxic tweets, some of which I'd come to regret, would echo endlessly with retweets - sometimes for years. I was on there for 8 years. That's a long time to be held accountable to everything you've ever said. People I actually cared about increasingly stopped interacting with me seemingly out of a desire to not be caught up in controversy that might ruin their own Twitter experience. I felt, whether true or not, like the only reason people followed me was because we had some sort of overlap in ideology that made them feel good - not because they really cared. It became an exercise in censorship and softening opinions with a pithy, clever punchline. I will miss Twitter - but I'll miss the Twitter of yore, not what it has become.
If we were Twitter friends, please get in touch. I regret that so many of us never got to interact in person.