Now that the novelty has worn off and its role in society is clearly defined as useless can we acknowledge that Twitter is a trash heap of wasted time populated exclusively by 1) self promoters 2) often psychotic idiots arguing with each other and 3) people sharing banal anecdotes about their uneventful lives.
A few statistics to back up my point:
- 5 percent of Twitter users make up 75 percent of its content. This means three quarters of all Twitter content is supplied by some psycho with a diagnosable mental illness who is sending out hundreds of tweets per day. That’s your source of information.
- The three most popular Twitter accounts are Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift. Why you would want to listen to these peoples music is beyond me but more perplexing would be the desire to read their thoughts on life. A typical Bieber tweet at the top of his page reads “Great day.” Awesome. Katy Perry is busy dolling out a bunch of Hillary Clinton Girl Power propaganda, and Swift is hawking Diet Coke. Could we not do without this?
- A study by analytics firm Pear Analytics found that Twitter content is made up of the following: 40 percent Pointless Babble, 38 Percent Conversational Exchanges, 9 percent Retweets, 6 percent Self Promotion, 4 percent Spam, 4 percent News. This means that if you’re in the minority of people mining Twitter for useful information you’d have better luck logging onto CNN.com, and that’s saying a lot. This platform is not an efficient use of your time. Get on Reddit.
There’s a lot of arguing on Twitter because it is impossible to make a decent point or have a productive conversation within the confines of the 140 character limit. For this reason it’s a labyrinth of simplified proclamations being constantly refuted with equally simplified proclamations. A Twitter debate holds all the intellectual capacity of a playground argument amongst a group of kindergarteners. Dumb ones who speak in half sentences. The 140 character limit originated because it was the maximum amount of content you could transmit through old crappy cellphones in a text message. You think there were a lot of intelligent discussions about feminism and the black struggle happening via Nokia?
It’s an incredibly lazy way to communicate. Its a wasteland of self-important sentence fragments written by lazy narcissists. If you want to change the world, go to a protest rally or get involved with a grassroots political organization. Regardless of what casual white supremacists or horn-rimmed nineteen year old feminists think, your Twitter account wields zero power. You’re just one person in a giant room shouting your ass off while your voice is drowned out by your similarly retarded peers.
That’s not to mention its interface is absolute garbage. Following a debate on Twitter is at best arduous. Perhaps that’s why people on extreme ends of each spectrum are attracted to it. It leaves zero room for nuance! Try and put together a well-formed opinion as a tweet. You can’t do it. You’ll see that red minus sign popping up before you’re even defining to the topic. Brevity might be a virtue, but whoever said that would have thought Twitter was Socrates’ worst nightmare. Because you can’t have an intelligent discussion, everyone just continues thinking they’re right.
This leads to a situation where its various chambers are populated by people who are convinced their use of Twitter is super noble, and who will agree with their own people at all costs and bully anyone who disagrees. The Block button works wonders for this cycle of ignorance. Imagine Bernie Sanders debating Hillary Clinton. She’s got him against the ropes. He hits Block, her being freezes in place like in The Matrix, and he walks off stage. The rush of empowerment that I know these people get when hitting Block is nothing more than pride in their own ignorance. Look at the language these people use when someone disagrees with them: Troll, Bully, Shamer. It’s a parachute to escape acknowledging the obvious: You’re a prideful idiot who is threatened by people who make you question your dogmatic beliefs. Call someone out on their bullsh*t and you’re a sinister beast.
A recent example of this masturbatory delusion of self importance is exemplified by a user named Alexis Isabel who came up with the genius idea of making the character Elsa from Disney’s Frozen a lesbian in the next sequel. Anytime you find yourself meddling in the sexuality of a fictional character for political purposes, or really for any reason, you should question what you’re doing with your life. If you go to Isabel’s account you’ll see her bio reads:
“writer/activist/student. creator of @feministculture and #GiveElsaAGirlfriend.”
So, in this uroboros of infinite futility, Isabel is listing the creation of a hashtag, a staggering 19 characters, as one of her seminal accomplishments. Rest assured she’s convinced herself she’s the next Susan B Anthony.
The scary thing is, exceptionally rarely, asinine impulses like this actually yield real influence. That leaves two scenarios: Except for a one in a million chance, everything you are all doing on Twitter is completely pointless. Nobody. Cares. At best, culture and politics are being influenced by people who insulate themselves from intelligent discussion.
Don’t throw the Arab Spring thing at me either. None of you are using Twitter in the midst of overthrowing an oppressive regime no matter if you’ve convinced yourself otherwise. The Revolution will not be 140 characters. Regression isn’t the path to enlightenment. We’re going to have to do better.
Follow me on Twitter @MatthewRalston