Why Tweet?

Maggie Haberman says: “Before you post, ask yourself: Is this something that needs to be said, is it something that needs to be said by you, and is it something that needs to be said by you right now? If you answer no to any of the three, it’s best not to rush ahead.”

Is there really any reason to tweet now? (Was there every any reason? A primer.) Twitter has become such a hellscape, with Nazis and broken news sandwiched between the commander-in-chief’s signature There’s Always An Old Tweet™ tweets and his newer, more unhinged signature Taunt™ tweets designed purely to arouse the ire of his politically opposed spectators. The new New York Times social media guidelines are, as you might expect, fairly reasonable, if somewhat exhausting—like a rule-loving little gray lady with newspaper wings sitting on your shoulder, not even whispering anything but just raising her eyebrows over her bifocals. For those of us who participate in Twitter mostly for real-time-only jokes and to dopily announce that we have Written A Thing, these rules mostly make us remember we are not Maggie Haberman, and you have to wonder if there’s any point to saying something when you could just as easily…not. What do you really get out of Twitter besides repeated dopamine hits and very good blog posts from The Awl? If you’re looking for a nicotine patch of sorts, I highly suggest the paperclip game. It is a great reminder of how engaging but ultimately pointless everything on the internet is.