Friday, February 1, 2013 at 7:26 AM

‘Why I hate Twitter’

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Getting self-interested attention seems to be the prevailing reason for tweeting. And every twittering twit in the twitterverse seems to think that the only way to get it is to be as obnoxious, incendiary, and/or bellicose as possible.

Twitter is like a virtual schoolyard where not just one but most kids act like bullies or rabble-rousers. So just imagine what this portends for public debate – having politicians, CEOs, and professors compete with celebrities, athletes, and trolls to see who can attract the most twits with their mindless tweets on everything from public policy to daily gossip.

This is why I firmly believe that Twitter has about as much redeeming value as Twinkies.   And it’s why the mainstream media are no better than Hostess in this respect. Because the contrived tweets (i.e., junk thoughts) of self-promoting buffoons like Trump would never enter public consciousness, let alone public discourse, if networks like FOX did not routinely report them as BREAKING NEWS.

(“Twitter Rant: Take 2,” The iPINIONS Journal, November 27, 2012)

article-2271267-161F2B7E000005DC-848_468x641Not so long ago celebrities evoked a blissful illusion that made them seem larger than life. The paparazzi destroyed most of that. But far too many celebrities have destroyed what little illusion remained by engaging in pedestrian, often petulant exchanges with fans/followers on Twitter.

This was brought into stark relief only yesterday when “Mr. Bates” of Downton Abbey made BREAKING NEWS by unleashing a profanity-laced reply to one of his no-name followers after she had the balls to question his offensive tweets about former PM Margaret Thatcher.

But, given my opening quote, I hope you’ll forgive me for feeling a little vindicated yesterday when one of my colleagues, a self-described Twitter pioneer, referred me to an article in This Week under the attention-grabbing title, Why I hate Twitter.

To be honest I thought he just wanted to acquaint me with another of my dying breed of luddites who still values reasoned thought expressed in complete sentences … about anything (even Lady Thatcher)! Instead, what I found was an AA-style testimonial of another self-described Twitter pioneer.

imagesHere, in part, is how Mark K. Lewis, columnist for The Daily Caller and co-host of The DMZ, described what provoked his conversion back to mental sobriety:

Once everyone was on Twitter, everyone’s problems were on Twitter. The early adopters might have been tech-utopians, but the succeeding waves were angry cynics and partisan cranks who used the technology to make the world even louder and worse than it was before Twitter…

Twitter has become like high school, where the mean kids say something hurtful to boost their self-esteem and to see if others will laugh and join in. Aside from trolling for victims after some tragedy, Twitter isn’t used for reporting much anymore. But it is used for snark…

My guess is that as Twitter becomes meaner and coarser, more and more people will begin checking out.

But let me hasten to clarify that I found no vindication in Mark’s born-again testimony. Instead, I found it in my colleague’s apology for all of his derisive comments about my steadfast refusal over the years to play in the juvenile sandbox that is the twitterverse; and even more so in his admission that he too now hates Twitter.

I wish them well in trying to check out – to kick the mental retardation Twitter causes. But I urge the rest of you to reflect on why you see nothing wrong with tweeting personal messages to friends (and even loved ones) for the world to see, instead of texting them … privately.

Meanwhile, am I the only one who sees the Orwellian folly inherent in using the term “social networking”? After all, it refers to the act of huddling alone with one’s PDA to socialize, electronically, with friends (real and, more likely the case, virtual). The irony only compounds this doublespeak. After all, PDA once stood for “personal display of affection.” Now it stands for the “personal digital assistant” that enables users to engage in the kind of impersonal and anti-social networking that has become so fashionable.

And don’t get me started on the misguided fools who seek relevance and self-esteem by having arguments on Twitter – complete with baying spectators; you know, like chicken-scratch gladiators.

Now, as if Twitter and Facebook were not illusory enough, the software engineers/profiteers of public debate and social networking have decided that all you need is a six-second video clip on their Vine app to share your creativity. Except that the only thing this latest insult to the attention span of gnats is doing is withering public debate and social networking on the … vine.

Related commentaries:
Twitter rant

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