Stop Twitting Yourself

Six months ago I quit Twitter. It happened in a moment that combined the deepest loathing (both self- and other-directed) and the brightest clarity, and I have not looked back since. Apart from the actual quitting of Twitter, the thing I am most proud of is not having written an essay about it, so I am not going to make this into a whole narrative, but I have been fairly evangelical with friends (because there is nothing worse than watching the people you love destroy themselves by choice) and I want to share a couple of lessons I’ve learned. I know that many of you will defend your use of Twitter as something you are forced to endure for work (journalists, for example, use Twitter for the invaluable purposes of promoting their stories, showing how connected they are and finding out what other people are saying about them) so let me just tell you up front that if what you do for a living requires you to dip your head into a polluted stream twenty times a day and take a big sip before you personally defecate in the water you either need to find another career or admit to yourself that there is something about you that enjoys drinking from the same river where you shit. The other excuse I’ve heard is that it is important to stay on Twitter to know what is happening in the world, so this is where I want to pass along the valuable knowledge I’ve gained from avoiding it: 1) There is nothing important that happens on Twitter that you will not learn about eventually. 2) There is nothing you will eventually hear about from Twitter that will make you think, “Gosh, I wish I knew that earlier.” You are not missing anything. You do not need to march in the mediocrity parade of frustrated comedians trying to make the same stupid joke a fraction of a second before anyone else. Your image does not need curation, because all you are doing is broadcasting your desperation. No one is cool on Twitter. It is a giant assemblage of sad people trying too hard in real time. You do not need to do anything in front of an audience. Remember email? You probably don’t, because no one uses it anymore, but it was amazing because you could have a conversation with someone without either one of you trying to show off for a pitiable collection of the needy and hopeless, whose craving for validation would be comical if it weren’t as tragic as your own. Your desire to play to the crowd is both symptom and expression of the sickness unto death. All social media is poison, but Twitter is a particular type of toxin because it takes the lack of nuance that makes the Internet in general so abrasive and it dissolves it down to its ugliest essence. Everything that happens on Twitter is a nightmare, and every time you turn away from your screen and wonder why you feel like you want to die that’s why. Stop using Twitter. Here endeth the lesson.