You Really Need to Quit Twitter

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ConnorMuldowney

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The hook, of course, is that authors use social media for promo, and no matter how often you see the statistics explaining how little it helps (if at all), it's a free outlet that potentially reaches a lot of people.

I have about 7X more followers on Twitter than on FB. My numbers are (relatively speaking) low on both. Twitter isn't going to make or break my career...but I know people who've learned about my stuff on Twitter, and decided to buy it. The short story collection I'm releasing soon (for large values of "soon" :)) only exists because some folks on Twitter told me reading stuff on my blog was too hard, but they'd love an ebook.

Twitter has little pockets of actual value...and there's no consistent way to quantify that value for everybody. I'm lucky in that my follower count is low enough (and my block list large enough) that I don't get a lot of hostility or abuse. For some, it's utterly beyond the pale, and shocking that Twitter's management lets it go on.

FWIW, The Kid is not on Twitter at all (although I'll send her links and threads sometimes). She and her friends are on Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, and curated Discord servers. I don't know if that'll last as they get older, but they seem much more attracted to usage models that let them opt in to people, rather than opt out.

It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next 10 years.
Curated discord is low key the best use of social media. It's the closest to actual real life conversations. Tweeting is just a shotgun blast of communication.
 
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AlanHeise

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I don't use any social networks as I can not find the time to spend on this useless activity on fools who spout their drivel. Is this too harsh! Most people I know seem to spend so much time on the social networks, I do not have the time.
 
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Helix

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I don't use any social networks as I can not find the time to spend on this useless activity on fools who spout their drivel. Is this too harsh! Most people I know seem to spend so much time on the social networks, I do not have the ti

I'm intrigued how you can claim that social media is a 'useless activity' involving 'fools who spout their drivel' if you don't use it.

also...looks around...this is a forum
 
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mccardey

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I might be mind-achingly naive, but for the most, Twitter is only as mean as you make it, isn't it? I mean if you don't follow mean people and search for mean tweets etc, even the ones that get pushed through to you pass pretty much unnoticed. You just tend not to read them.

Facebook is lovely for stalking your kids on and such. I like it a lot.


ETA: I said mean four times in that post. I didn't mean to. Sorry.

ETA2: Five.
 

AlanHeise

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I'm intrigued how you can claim that social media is a 'useless activity' involving 'fools who spout their drivel' if you don't use it.

also...looks around...this is a forum
I used to be on FB, not anymore as most posting was about their own worldview which was not a truth, I.E. fools. This is a forum used for a purpose, not a money making machine. I don't consider this social media like FB, twitter, etc. But that is just me and my opinion as I have never tried twitter and do use u-tube for concerts. Plus, I do not like the was FB and others use our input mostly to make money. So to me it is part of the material world gone mad in my opinion. Friends I know spend way too much time and get aggravated over FB and twitter which I do not want to use for my time. Also noticing that these sites have a bullying feel to them when anybody can spout out anything and most people seem to believe what they say to have merit. Just my opinions about sites that seem to be damaging our Republic politically, as truth does not seem to have enough value to be enforced there. I should have clarified my earlier post with the why of my opinion.
 

lizmonster

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Twitter can indeed be an abusive experience, unless one curates pretty heavily. There's an argument that one shouldn't have to do that in order to have a civil conversation, but that quickly ends up as a discussion of who gets to define "civil" in a public space.

Curation, though, is the key. Most of what I see on Twitter - unless I seek out political discourse, which I do sometimes - is interesting and entertaining. I get hourly pictures of cats and possums. I get Star Trek jokes. I get updates from my favorite musicians, news of fellow authors, and homey updates from friends.

I block liberally, I don't accept direct messages from people who don't follow me, and I mute a lot of keywords. And mostly I enjoy Twitter, perhaps in spite of itself.
 

AlanHeise

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One other thing I might add here is that a documentary on Netflix or Prime, about FB showed that this site uses its computer programing to add features and posting back to users to hook them back onto the site often. They seem to be preying on their users when they only want to monetize their customers for a money making machine as they have designed the site to be.
 

lizmonster

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One other thing I might add here is that a documentary on Netflix or Prime, about FB showed that this site uses its computer programing to add features and posting back to users to hook them back onto the site often. They seem to be preying on their users when they only want to monetize their customers for a money making machine as they have designed the site to be.

Here's the thing about social media: if it's free, you're the product.

Both FB and Twitter are ad-supported. That means their business model involves learning as much about you as they can so they can stuff ads in your face (see also: Google). That means they optimize for posts that grab eyeballs, regardless of pesky things like facts.

So yeah, that's a pretty abusable system. I have some theories about why FB is worse than Twitter about misinformation. I also have some opinions about how ethical it is for social networks to lean on users to fend off abuse, misinformation, and genuinely horrible shit.

But the truth is you can fend that stuff off (up to a point, and I'm not famous, nor have I attracted the attention of anyone really determined, so I haven't hit that point). I don't do much on FB anymore, but I do keep up with high school friends, and friends of my parents (who can't do the internet anymore).

All I know for sure is both platforms suck for selling books. :)
 

Albedo

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I really wish Twitter hadn't become the default site for artists and writers. That was a bad thing.
 

Albedo

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I think "it's free!" played a large part.
True, but there were other sites that were free, purpose-built, and didn't expose you to the aggregate buffoonery of the entire planet every time you logged on. I miss DeviantArt. :( Twitter is poorly optimised for just about everything, but especially for curating and displaying visual art, and ESPECIALLY especially for writing. It's really just depressing and inexplicable how it became the one site in certain circles.
 
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lizmonster

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It's really just depressing and inexplicable how it became the one site in certain circles.
Yeah, "free" is too flip.

Twitter is the self-publishing of social media. It's easy to use, everybody does it, and there's some really amazing stuff there that can easily get buried in the kinds of things you always see when something's free and easy and crowded.
 

Albedo

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Twitter's always lagged behind other social networks in Australia in terms of users. It's still only the 50th most patronised site, or something (sources I've read differ), whereas FB, YT, even Reddit are all in the top 10 here. So it's not the site you'd pick if you wanted to market to the population at large down here. It's also something I keep in mind whenever I'm inadvertently exposed to the ever-living shitshow that is Australian twitter discourse this year. It's ok, none of this is real. It can't hurt you.
 
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I intentionally distanced myself from my social media accounts (FB and Twitter) a couple years ago. Mainly for mental health. The constant pressure to present myself to a bunch of people in the best light just ramped up my anxiety. I realized the style of social interaction on the platforms just wasn't a good fit for my needs.

I still have the accounts. Especially FB is useful to get updates from family out of state. I just don't feel the need to check them multiple times a day (or every day (or every week)).
 

Lakey

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For me, with both Twitter and Facebook, it takes some effort and discipline not to go down paths that raise my blood pressure. It ought to be just a matter of not clicking on that thread that I know is going to contain arguments that rile me up--I can always tell which threads are going to do that, it's not like I get blindsided by them. I don't always have the strength to resist the temptation, and sometimes I read the threads that make me want to slap an idiot upside the head.

Even when I read them, though, I don't ever engage in them. Ever. I've had plenty of fighting-with-people-on-the-internet experience dating all the way back to USENET in the early 90s, and I'm just done with it now. I just don't do it. To the extent I post content, it tends toward the completely anodyne, so I don't provoke outraged responses either. My Facebook friends range from people I work with to elementary school classmates I barely remember to my parents' friends and my partner's relatives. There really isn't a whole lot beyond cat pictures and recipes that I am tempted to say to that entire audience at once, anyhow.

So the negativity that exists on these platforms is pretty much entirely avoidable for me. And what benefits I get from them I do really value. Back when I was writing about Indian movies, I built a real substantial network on Facebook and Twitter just by posting about Indian movies a lot. The network I built through social media got me opportunities like writing a column for a well-known weekly magazine in India. It got me connections with people who I could meet up with on my visits to the country. It got me onto a movie set where I was able to have lunch with two of Hindi film's biggest stars. And that's just one facet of my life -- social media has also got me plugged into a vast network of alumnae from my college, which helps me with my writing, among other things.

So it takes a little effort to protect myself from the flames that surely exist out there, the rabbit-holes of outrage, the blood-pressure-raising viciousness -- but it is doable, and the benefits I get are totally worth that effort.

:e2coffee:
 
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Helix

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I block pre-emptively on Twitter. Not sure how many people are in the block file, but it'd be thousands. I know quite a few people have blocked me too, which is their prerogative. One of them is a federal government minister. (If I desperately need to see what the blockers are tweeting, I go incognito. But I do not desperately need to see.)

My main area of interest is natural history, botany and zoology Twitter. I've encountered a lot of good stuff in those tweets. People are free about sharing information.

Political twitter is, indeed, a shit show.


ETA: It's been quite helpful for getting the latest covid stats in Australia -- as long as you follow the right people. A few journos and data people have been collating and analysing to provide up to date and accurate info.
 

mccardey

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One of those things sounds more terrifying than the others.
There's this one guy, an American I think, called Beck who always seems to be finding himself stuck in ferocious storms on Everest and getting frostbite, and bits of him fall off. He's not on Nice Twitter himself, of course, but people post about him. I'm always startled when the stories pop up, but then who understands how the internet works anyway?
 
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mccardey

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Tubes. Miles of tubes. And cockroaches on little treadmills.
I met a prince once, on the internet. From Nigeria. Lovely guy. He told me the same thing, and that I could buy tubing and cockroaches and make one myself.

I must see if I can find his address again.
 

Albedo

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There's this one guy, an American I think, called Beck who always seems to be finding himself stuck in ferocious storms on Everest and getting frostbite, and bits of him fall off. He's not on Nice Twitter himself, of course, but people post about him. I'm always startled when the stories pop up, but then who understands how the internet works anyway?
So that's what Beck's been doing instead of making new albums? Huh.

Cf Twitter,don't overlook having different accounts for different purposes. My one with my 'real' identity solely interacts with people from here, because this a nice little community that reflects the well-modded and civil standards of the early 00s, which as we know was the golden age of the Internet. (Only partly sarcastic about that, BTW.) I have another account that's completely passive except for likes, never tweets if I can help it, and only follows artists, creators, and shitposters. I had a previous Twitter account from 2010-2018 that tried to combine both functions, but I nuked it and never looked back.
 
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Fuchsia Groan

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I cannot seem to turn my Twitter feed into something that doesn’t distress me. Maybe because I seek out the distressing content without meaning or wanting to. It’s a survival instinct. When your feed is constantly about people being called out for various offenses, you want to know what the offenses are so that you won’t unwittingly commit them.

My feed is volatile; a lot depends on who’s popular enough to control the Discourse at a given time. Many people who were once prominent have now disappeared because of various disputes and the shunning or harassment that followed. Or because they couldn’t take the stress of constant scrutiny. It’s a soap opera, and it’s terrifying.

I have learned a lot; I can’t deny that. I’m not always grateful for the knowledge of other people’s myriad rules and the self-policing that comes with that knowledge. But I have learned useful, important things from Twitter. That said, I’ve removed the app from my phone and only allow myself to use the browser version, because there’s only so much anxiety I can take in a day.

Also, hearing other writers’ good news can be tough. My own good news is virtually all I ever post about, so I can’t pretend there’s anything wrong with that approach, but … it’s tough sometimes.
 
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lizmonster

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Also, hearing other writers’ good news can be tough. My own good news is virtually all I ever post about, so I can’t pretend there’s anything wrong with that approach, but … it’s tough sometimes.

I have backed way off Writer Twitter for this reason. I kind of hate myself for it. It should be easier to just be happy for people - I know it's not a zero-sum game, not really - but it brings back too many memories of dreams that will never come true.

I've backed off Not-Yet-Published Twitter because I think I'm too cynical for them. ;)

I never followed YA Twitter, but I heard ripples anyway. By reputation, it's the most brutal of all the Writer Twitters. At this point I mostly follow writers I have some passing acquaintance with (like AWers), and a few big names from genres that are Not Mine.
 
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