E-Mob

I quit Twitter a few months back. I’ve considered starting again for publicity purposes (to tweet links to comics and blogs) but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet as I find myself really unhappy with Twitter as a platform.

At its best, Twitter connects us. It shares the news and the world instantaneously. It provides real time in-person looks at newsworthy places and events. It has led to actual social change, by drawing attention to #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter. Which is undeniably good. It provides a shared platform where we can talk about a TV show or unfolding news with other people of similar interests. I’ll never forget tweeting as I watched the Notre-Dame fire. And it allows unsurpassed connection with celebrity and influential people in your communities. You can tweet directly to the creators of D&D or Matthew Mercer, and they can see your comments and reply, occasionally even answering rules questions. I had a couple tweets liked by @matthewmercer and that feels awesome.

But Twitter is also a hole.

It brings out the worst in people. It’s basically a platform for people to voluntarily engage in a Two Minutes Hate. Repeatedly. As often as they let themselves.

People go on Twitter to share wonders and adorable moments but also to complain. Sometimes about meaningful things. But more often not. Sometimes you just need to vent, and Twitter becomes that void to scream into. But then people can reply, telling you you’re wrong and making this brief venting into an argument. Or, worse, they can agree turning this minor complaint into a seemingly legitimised grievance. Which can just grow and grow as more people engage, both supporting you but also disagreeing, leading to you becoming defensive or more set into your initial complaint. People feed off each other and some complaints and minor concerns become protests. And while some complaints build into some social movements, most just descent into angry mobs yelling and shouting and insulting people before the participants get bored and find something else to be angry about. And it’s just so easy to get mad at people and unload on them because they’re just an icon on the screen and an amusing name: they don’t seem like a real person.

Especially in the #dnd community. There’s so much good there and great, great people and amazing conversations… but also so much hate. I don’t think Wizards of the Coast is perfect. It can’t be: it’s full of people. And people are notoriously imperfect. But they honestly seem to care and be trying to make things better and respond to negative feedback. But there’s just so much hatred online to them and recitation of their failures. And no room for forgiveness. No room to make a mistake and try to fix it or learn from your errors. No solutions but the most extreme retribution. I’m continually impressed with WotC’s ability to take in fan feedback, responding to said feedback, and trying to improve the game, all while people are screaming that they’re racist or homophobic or ablest or transphobic or ageist. Because even when a concern is legitimate and there are problems in the game or company that need to be addressed, the nature of Twitter just makes it into an angry protest and a toxic fight rather than a conversation between two or more reasonable human beings.

Furthermore, Twitter never failed to bring out the very, very worst in me. I didn’t like “me” on Twitter. I barely recognized the “me” I saw on Twitter. It fend into the angriest part of me, the part of me that needed to whine and complain. The stubborn part of me that doesn’t like to back down when pushed or debated but can’t disengage from a fight. I miss the people and engaging with them, but I don’t miss how Twitter made me feel and the endless cycles of outrage.

 

 

Check out my storefront on TeePublic: https://www.teepublic.com/user/jesterdavid

Designs are available as T-shirts but some work as masks. I now only have a single income, making finances are tight and gaming books a luxury. Any purchases are greatly appreciated.