Lately, I’ve been working on establishing a presence on Twitter. I had initially thought that Twitter, with its 240 character limit, was a toxic playground for trolls and collapsed Authoritarians, because of the inherent knowledge fragment nature of the medium.
I was wrong. Turns out Twitter is far more interesting than Facebook, that’s for sure. Facebook is the place where you get to find out what you’re friends have been holding back from their public personae. It’s like finding out that the quiet guy who never said anything, and you always thought well of, is actually a total asshole. Facebook is interesting in its own right, of course, but it has inherent problems. It’s a place where once you’re above some norm of decency (like realizing pederasty is abhorrent) people can find whatever set of norms they like in the broader world. And so become unencumbered from reality, or even the desired to maintain bonds within a physical community. And unfortunately, if you’re connected with them on Facebook, you’re likely connected with them in reality.
It’s not that the Electric Twitter Machine (term borrowed from one of my favorite political writers, Charles Pierce at Esquire) can’t turn into a hideous, dank swamp for all sorts of High Conflict Personalities. It can, of course. But it also offers a medium to walk along the edge of a very steep cliff, with a chain attached, and peer out either into the heavens, or the abyss. Think the Angels Landing trail in Zion National Park, metaphorically speaking.
I’ve constrained myself to mostly professional discourse and had a fabulous time connecting with folks of like mind (like Conway’s Law author, Mel Conway), who want to make big-scale global change, as well as some truly funny one-liner writers. They’ve inspired me to start adding a little more humor in my feed. So far, this is my favorite existential quote, from Chief Chuck:
·Jul 30 As I watched the dog chasing his tail I thought “Dogs are easily amused”, then I realized I was watching the dog chasing his tail.
My recommendation is this: try it. Exercise self-control. And get back to me. It could be that 240 characters are perhaps the best way to build connections with people you’d otherwise have no access to yet invented. Everyone’s almost willing to give you 240 characters of time.