Toxic Twitter

Twitter can be an absolutely toxic place. Obviously there are plenty of other social media platforms and I’m sure they can be equally toxic. It’s Twitter I’m currently on, though.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

It seems to be a continuation of ‘If you don’t agree with me then I will hate you.’ No, it seems more like ‘If you don’t parrot my views exactly, then I will destroy you with vitriol!’ There are apparently countless people whose time seems to be spent searching for posts or comments they can disagree with, and then piling in on them with as much vile rhetoric as they can. And, by coincidence, as I was writing this post, I replied to a vaguely related post elsewhere: ‘I think this is part of the issue around all social media, concerning the perceptions of the person behind the keyboard. We’ve all seen ghastly stuff people will post on twitter or other platforms that they would probably never say in real life, just because it feels as if they can rant into an empty space with no come-back. I post some personal stuff, although not very personal, but before posting anything (or, indeed, tweeting) I find it helps to stop and think ‘would I say this if I was standing on a stage addressing a thousand people in an audience?’ Because that, in essence, is what you’re doing.’ This was written in response to a post about sharing personal information, but it applies equally to posting one’s opinions online.

One inevitable result of this has been to leave me less sympathetic to their cause or point of view, even if it is one I support myself. And I would imagine it has a similar effect on quite a few other people. It also leaves me less inclined to engage with anyone on Twitter, since more and more I anticipate an angry response to something innocuous I’ve put up. I’ve noticed that over the last few months I’ve hardly posted anything on there, and equally rarely commented on others’ tweets. It also made me question my presence on here, although there was never any real chance of my leaving.

And at the moment, I can’t really see that changing. I’m in one of my occasional ‘shall I just leave Twitter altogether?’ moods, although I don’t suppose I will. There are a few (not many, to be honest) people on there I really want to keep up with, and it has been a good source of information about new (to me) books and music.

But I do feel I’m keeping it at arm’s length more and more these days.

32 thoughts on “Toxic Twitter

  1. Hi Mick, Lots of bloggers have complained about this same thing on Twitter, specifically. I don’t make any comments on Twitter other than to thank people for sharing my posts. I post pictures of my art and share other people’s post (which I’ve always read and are usually about books and writing). I haven’t had any of the troll behaviour as yet. If it happens, I’ll leave the platform, but its hard to be a troll about thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve not really been trolled, because I’m usually careful what I put up – although I do get drawn into the occasional angry remark on the worst posts. I just see all this stuff come up because it’s re-tweeted by others or because they’re replies to something. I seem to spend a lot of time muting and blocking people!


  2. Twitter is the only social media platform I use, but my use is narrow and specific. I don’t tweet, don’t publicize my blogs there, and follow only fourteen people: one Texas historian, and a combination of thirteen weather-related posters ranging from the National Hurricane Center to a few meteorologists. I occasionally exchange direct messages with a couple of the weather gurus, but that’s it. During storms, especially, it’s the best place to get real-time information from a variety of sources.

    I also make it a firm practice never to click on any of the suggested topics offered in the sidebar, since they’re generally the home of the sort of nasty exchanges you mentioned. I have other sites I use for news, and have found several substack writers who are both interesting and informative — and who offer troll-free reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like good use of it. I do keep shedding people, although it seems a bit rude to just unfollow them if they’ve not posted anything particularly bad. My main reason is that I just don’t see anything from those people I do want to read, because so much other stuff is there.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like you, Mick, I’m questioning whether to stay on Twitter, and also like you, I stay because there is a small community of people I enjoy interacting with or following. My own occasional tweets (kindness memes) used to get a handful of responses. Now, I feel like I am tweeting to an empty room. But I persist—not willing to let the trolls control the platform. Not willing to let negativity win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean about tweeting to an empty room. I used to get at least a few likes and re-tweets for most things I put up, now the majority don’t get any response. I think this might be due to the changes on twitter – I don’t seem to see anything from the majority of people I follow, just mainly re-tweets from certain ones. I’m beginning to suspect the algorithms have been changed to prioritise re-tweets, as that will push more stuff from people you don’t know into your timeline, and presumably tempt you to follow. But that’s a thought for another post, perhaps.


  4. The only thing that Twitter is good for is getting updates on earthquakes, floods and the like. Occasionally someone will great a fun challenge like “make a horror movie sweet” otherwise there’s too much misinformation and nasty stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, Mick. Good to see another post from you. I can understand your feelings about Twitter. I’ve never really used it much, although I used to post my blogs there every time I wrote one. The majority of the time, I didn’t even get a like on a blog post. I’ve only ever had a private message conversation on there with another blogger, but I can’t even remember what happened to them. When I do go on Twitter, I generally only ‘like’ posts about kindness, the weather, environmental stuff and veganism. I’ve never had any experience with trolls, but then, I rarely put anything out there in the first place. If I were to get any vitriol, I wouldn’t hesitate to leave the platform. I haven’t even logged on for several months, and I can’t say I miss it. I’m much the same with Instagram – I rarely use it, but I have two or three blogging friends I communicate with once in a while. I certainly don’t check on there as a daily practice.

    I hope you and your family are still well. I often think about your grandson – he must be almost an adult by now?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Twitter is the only social media platform I use. I got fed up with Facebook largely for the same reasons, although it was the amount of sheer undiluted rubbish I got fed up with mainly. I do go on there less and less, and often now I just go and find the few people I’m really interested in following to see what they’ve put up recently. Its main use for me now is probably the ability to DM those people/

      My grandson – twenty this year! Time gets its skates on and rushes along!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am similar to you with Facebook, Mick. I used to be addicted to it, checking my notifications constantly, but now, I just check my notifications before I go to bed (not a good idea before I sleep, I know). I’m gradually dropping most of FB because, like you, I was getting an endless stream of rubbish, people’s dinners and pets and a whole load of irrelevant stuff. I do use Messenger for DMs all the time, though.

        I can’t believe your grandson is nearly twenty. It seems like only yesterday he was twelve! Have a great Sunday, Mick 😊.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I left Twitter for good the day Elon Musk decided to allow Trump back on. I thought I would miss it, wondered if I would recant my decision within the 30-day time period, but frankly I haven’t missed it one bit. My time on Twitter typically just stirred my stress level anyway, and I am still able to stay in touch with those that matter. My blog stats are somewhat reduced, but that’s okay … I don’t write for accolades anyway. I’m still on Facebook, but it isn’t nearly as toxic as Twitter, and I have family who I likely wouldn’t ever hear from if I exited Facebook, so for now I remain, but probably not forever. You have to do what feels right for you. For me, leaving Twitter was the right decision, but I certainly understand your reasons for staying.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I left Facebook because I just got fed up with the idiocy I was seeing – slightly reluctantly, as I also used to keep up with one or two people I wouldn’t be able to any other way. I’m occasionally tempted to go back on but with a private account, so only friends can see anything I put up there, but I haven’t yet. I do seem to spend quite a bit of time muting and blocking people on Twitter, though. It does help.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just tonight I saw that Facebook is following the example of Twitter and planning to offer a “verified account” for … wait for it … ONLY $12 per month! I will never pay them a blasted dime! They say it will guarantee the user the “highest level of security”, but I ask … why aren’t they providing the highest level of security to us all, anyway??? I might be leaving Facebook after all, but I know I’ll never pay them to give me what should be a part of their basic package!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Awful, isn’t it? I had contemplated recently going back onto Facebook with a private account so only friends could read it, and limiting my friends on there to actual friends and family, as a way of staying in touch. Now I’m not so sure. And no, I wouldn’t be forking out $12 a month to them for any reason,

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I think the worst part about the hatred and intolerance that dominates social media is that people have become afraid to voice their opinions for fear of being attacked by an angry internet mob. Perhaps that’s the real purpose? To silence those who disagree? A scary thought, but it makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I deactivated twitter a couple weeks ago .. It used to be so good for posting music, poetry, sharing good energy, a bit of fun . So many good people I really liked became all about politics and anger ( on both sides left and right) .. I doubt I will go back . It becomes a waste of time reading others complaining endlessly and arguing over trending topics

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re quite right about the politics and anger and trending topics. I’m still hanging in there, but using it less and blocking, muting, and un-following quite a few people. That may seem a lot of effort for no reward, but I do want to try to hang on to the good connections there.


      1. I can easily understand that. Actually I just listened to a great conversation on Lex Fridman’s YouTube channel with someone I had never heard of named Tim Urban. It gave me some good perspective on the difference between echo chambers and idea labs ( conversation where we can disagree without offense coming into it .) This is what’s missing from twitter in many ways

        Liked by 1 person

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