If You're Going To "Quit Twitter," Don't Hang Around To Fave

I can see you lurking.

Image: Roman Kruglov

You know the guy. He is Over Twitter. He swears off Twitter because it’s full of shit opinions, breaking-news terrorism, and puns everyone thought of but no one wanted to be the one to actually say. In other words, it’s an agora full of fools. (Guess what, you and I are the fools.) We don’t get to choose who shows up, but we can try (very often in vain) to filter out what we see. It’s far from perfect, but it’s what we’ve got, and you know, I can’t wait till it’s gone either! Just to see what’s on the other side.

But he is NOT one of those fools. He will not suffer us gladly. This guy is better than, above, superior. He sees Twitter for what it is: an amplifier for humanity’s least charitable opinions on everything from sandwiches to Chrissy Teigen. You know what? This guy is pretty much right. People suck, they say bad things, and megaphones make everything more annoying. So why does he still hang around here?

I have no problem with people taking the Tina Fey approach from the start, and being like, “Objectively, that looks like a whole shitstorm I don’t have time or appetite for.” What a wise and abstemious thing to say; I am envious of their resolve. But then there are the rest of us, who go to Twitter as a source of news, entertainment, company, resources, encouragement, and debate. We live here, in this shit town, and we know it’s a shit town, but we’re too embedded to leave now. Also, we don’t really want to leave. We talk about doing it a lot and sometimes we go away for a while, but we’d never write it off entirely, because so much of our life is here now.

I’m also fine with people deciding Twitter sucks and leaving and never telling us about it!

What I’m not fine with is people who pull a late-onset Tina Fey, vociferously “leave” Twitter, only to come back, and back, and back again for more. These people have a sad, tortured relationship with this microblogging service, because they need it, they want it, they love to hate it. Which is to say they love to hate themselves. They creep back. They look and they scroll and they favorite the dark jokes they still deem funny.

“It’s a waste of time and energy,” they say. “I want to read it on my own time. I only look at it to follow my favorite brands and jokesters.” That’s actually fine—I’m not saying you have to produce actual tweets in order to have the privilege of favoriting them. Consume all you want! But you cannot say “fuck Twitter” and then favorite a bunch of hilarious tweets. The thing you proclaim to hate—the twittersphere in the aggregate—is producing the good tweets, and I’m sorry buddy, but you’ve gotta take the bad with the good. And don’t give me that “My tweets are bad” bullshit. What’s so special about you that you suck more than we do?

No, you cannot say “fuck Twitter” and then hide out in a corner and fave. If you like tweets, and use the heart button to tell someone so, I’m sorry to say: you like Twitter. What you can do is say “fuck myself,” and then just get over yourself and tweet.