When I meet fellow game developers and the topic of social media comes up, the scorn for twitter is almost universal. Even people who seemingly rely on it a lot, and have a big social media presence tell me how much they hate it, how divisive it is, how abusive it is, how they wish they didn’t have to be on there.
I love twitter. I find it interesting, fun and positive, and it makes my life a bit better. How on earth can this be true?
(background: I’m a 49 year old UK game dev with about 10k followers, running my own business but using twitter 50% for biz stuff and 50% for laughs).
I think the big mistake people make with twitter is that they are confused about what it is. Twitter is not the Harvard debating society. It is not the BBC. Its is not CNN, it is not your safe space, nor is it a political campaign rally, or a movement for social change. Twitter is a huge open-bar with drunk people sharing funny gifs of cats falling off things, and memes, and bad jokes. It has an element of stand-up comedy, and element of wild party, an element of drunken argument, and its not going to change.
Imagine blundering into the final hours of a drunken stag night/hen party and trying to deliver a lecture about gender politics, or inequality, or trying to argue about austerity. Imagine how well that would work out. Its the wrong forum. Its WORSE than a drunken stag party because so many people are anonymous, and people who you do not *vaguely* know, often from another country. How do you expect it to work when you bring up the issue of gun rights, inequality, or anything else to do with politics…
I’m very political, and opinionated. I have VERY strong opinions on climate change, but despite some eco-tweeting, I don’t vaguely expect that I will change anyone’s opinions on there. Basically life is too short. I tweet when I’m drunk, or find a silly video or interesting website, or have some crazy image of something. I vent angry tweets about trivial things (TV continuity announcer volume levels, donotreply email addresses etc) but I’m not kidding myself that this affects social change.
If you are hating twitter, you are basically doing it wrong. Immediately block or mute everyone you don’t like. Why the hell did you ever follow them. Don’t try and use hashtags to change the world. Follow a lot more silly accounts that post fun stuff. There is an endless supply of funny meme accounts, comedians, and other amusing stuff on twitter. I follow accounts that mock the lack of plates in pretentious restaurants, the stupidity of some internet of things inventions, and an account dedicated to things that annoy British people. Its rare that one of these wont make me smile every day.
Don’t complain about ‘toxicity’ on twitter. Its just a mute button away. You are doing it wrong.