This past Monday, I’d had it with Twitter. Rather than give up, I took the bull by the horns. Because that’s what we do here.
I deactivated my Twitter account @everydayepistle. Please follow me now @AimeeWhetstine if you like.
Inquiring minds want to know. Why this change? Why now? Here’s the skinny:
1. Forgive me for being undiplomatic, but I hate Twitter.
Maybe I just don’t get it. People have explained Twitter to me as a cocktail party where you can chat with absolutely anyone. How cool is that?!
Eh. There’s something to be said for hanging out at a barbecue with people I already know. Dear Mr. Zuckerberg’s endless string of arbitrary changes is tiresome, but Facebook is more my speed. There’s context to Facebook—mutual friends, profiles, photos, a virtual paper trail of posts, comments, likes. Yes, some people present falsely, but only the hopelessly diabolical can keep up a Facebook farce for long. True colors shine through.
Meanwhile, Twitter is context-free. Commitment-free. A breeding ground for trolls and propaganda. It’s easy to hide behind 140 characters. Olé!
Unless you have a gazillion tweeting friends or followers, Twitter is also like an echo chamber. It’s you, standing alone in the arena, waiting for the bull to rush you. Your tweets disappear into the chaos of the crowd. Who knows where they’ve gone or who’ll read them? Who knows if anyone will read them at all or if you’ve just wasted two precious minutes of your life distilling a profound thought into an acceptable tweet. There isn’t enough time in the day, folks.
And yet, if I want to write, if I want to participate in social media, if I want to connect with people in the 21st century, Twitter is a necessary evil.
2. If I write it, my byline needs to be on it.
Ross Douthat has more than 21,000 followers on Twitter and follows 110. Peggy Noonan has nearly 75,000 followers and follows 85. Beth Moore has more than 300,000 followers and follows 50. Seth Godin has more than 260,000 followers and follows no one.
These are a few of my favorite writers. They don’t follow. They tweet and leave the following to others. They invest their time doing what they’re obviously good at and what I suspect they enjoy most. Notice it’s not Twitter.
They tweet with their own names—except for Seth who uses @ThisIsSethsBlog. It’s rather spiffy to use a cool Twitter handle, brand name, or blog title. It’s just that for me, for now, I want ownership and accountability. I’m no Peggy or Beth, but I want you to know who’s speaking and who you’re speaking to.
3. It’s time to clean house.
The terrorist attack in Boston was less than two hours old this past Monday afternoon when a writer I was following tweeted something beyond irresponsible. I’ve told you here before that if you so much as breathe the wrong way on my child, Momma Bear will make an appearance. Well, kicking my country when it’s down isn’t a good idea either.
Liberal news outlets have carelessly, callously promoted inappropriate ideas since the bombing, but this writer was first to do it on my feed. I’d mistaken her for someone she isn’t. I’d been gored.
And you know what? It’s my bad. I’d assumed without knowing. I’d trusted without verifying. Her response to my calling her on the insensitive tweet showed she clearly couldn’t care less who I am or what I think or even how her tweet insulted citizens who still love America and emboldened those who hate us. (By the way, if you live in America and hate America, please consider moving. Abroad. Think of how much happier
we’d all you’d be.)
That was the last straw. Within 24 hours, I’d closed my old Twitter account and started over, determined to make a fresh start. Ah, catharsis.
Between you, me, and the fencepost, I’d like to continue writing about things that are important to me, but life isn’t a popularity contest and Twitter doesn’t have to be a blood sport. Read and follow if you like. Block me if you don’t. I’ve got work to do. As myself. As Aimee Whetstine.
God bless America.
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
Pasodobles Españoles by Pepe El Trumpeta.
I cannot be the only person out there with Twitter malaise. Can you relate? Or if you love Twitter, won’t you kindly share a tip or two?