I nuked my Twitter account last night. Well, I guess it has a delayed fuse. The account will sit there, frozen in carbonite I guess, for 30 days before it is actually deleted. And who knows if they actually delete it?
Seems I may be in good company, according to this Pew Research Center report.
I was gratified to see so many people ask me to stick around before I left. It's nice to feel appreciated. But it brought something else to mind as well.
One of the reasons I left was because of the radioactive toxicity of the site. My "spiritual DNA" was accumulating damage that might one day result in a cancer of hatred of many of my brothers and sisters. (Tortured metaphor. Sue me.) Even with blocking and muting, I was still seeing far too much "alarming" content. And I know I contributed more than my share as well.
So there was "alarming" content that prompted an interior state of constant "arousal." There was also constant exposure to hatred, bigotry and ignorance; not from the people I followed, but from the bigots and fascists who were being "exposed" by people I followed. Or in news reports from people I followed. Or in the replies to tweets I'd look at. (Pro tip: Never read the replies.)
It's too much for me, and it was becoming a habit. I'll miss the locals and their takes on local events, but it's impossible to filter out all the other stuff.
I've started looking at my mastodon timeline now, and it's kind of the same thing there too. Though I follow far fewer people, so it's not as relentless. I'll need to carefully curate those accounts if I wish to avoid merely replicating my experience on Twitter.
But I must return to the "something else" I alluded to earlier. While I genuinely appreciated all the compliments that people valued my thoughts and opinions, I wondered to what extent receiving all those "likes" and affirmative replies validating my opinions kind of made me more tribal. More fixed in my thinking.
The problem is, I think, you seldom encounter good faith criticism on Twitter. You get kind of reflexive responses. And then when, or if, you do receive an honest, good faith critical response, am I open to it? Or would I automatically discount it?
I seldom engaged with people I disagreed with on Twitter, even the ones I followed. I used to engage with former Jacksonville mayor John Delaney, because I thought he might be a good faith actor on the platform. Mostly he's just interested in preserving his popularity, and conflates criticism with cruelty.
He once accused me of being "mean," which I guess is understandable since he's accustomed to an inordinate degree of deference from occupying the top spot in every org chart he's been a part of since his mid-30s when he was mayor. We're about the same age.
He disagreed, saying he always "welcomed" criticism.
How would he even know? Even a critical subordinate is going to couch their criticism with some degree of deference. And how many never offered criticism because, well, he's John Delaney, Jacksonville's most popular mayor. He can still quote his approval ratings when he left office three decades ago.
Anyway, that's all irrelevant now. But it did make me think that there may be downsides to getting positive feedback as well.
Getting lots of my time back, too. Rode my bike and walked this morning. 84 minutes of exercise. Formerly, Twitter would consume about 40 of those minutes in the morning, as I reflexively trolled for the latest outrage.
Now I've got to get that meditation practice re-started, and try to regain my sense of equanimity to my fellow flawed human beings.
Originally posted at Nice Marmot 10:30 Thursday, 18 May 2023