Superb Article on SM, specifically Twitter: The Atlantic

I think this is one of the best essays I read recently on social media and in this essay, Twitter in particular. I think this is superb.

This is worth a read—if you still will. :wink: You’ll understand after reading the article.

Warning, “adult” language.

Here a few quick excerpts:

The simplest definition of an addiction is a habit that you can’t quit, even though it poses obvious danger. How many people have lost their jobs over ill-considered tweets? How can a wry observation, unexamined and fired off during an adrenaline high, possibly be worth the risk? It’s madness … God knows my heroes wouldn’t have gone down this road. George Orwell on Twitter? I doubt it … Patrick disappeared and came back with a collection of Simone Weil essays. He said I should read “On the Abolition of All Political Parties,” but every time I saw the word parties, I should replace it with Twitter. He demonstrated, reading a paragraph aloud:

“The mere fact that Twitter exists today is not in itself sufficient a reason for us to preserve it. The only legitimate reason for preserving anything is its goodness. The evils of Twitter are all too evident; therefore, the problem that should be examined is this: Does it contain enough good to compensate for its evils and make its preservation desirable?”


Given how I came to hate these platforms, I already know I’m going to love this. Thanks for posting. :+1:


Nothing like a little confirmation bias to make one’s day! :laughing:


Thanks for posting, also going to enjoy as I avoid all social media and can sympathise completely as I found it compulsively addictive (and a complete waste of my time).


Thanks for sharing, @Bmosbacker. It’s an interesting read. And, unfortuntaly, recognizable.

I recently ‘celebrated’ my second Twitter anniversary. With mixed feelings. It all started because of an issue in my neighborhood for which I needed attention from local political parties and the community. And although I still tweet mostly about local politics and issues in my community, I’m reading much, much more. Like I said, with mixed feelings.

On one side I see how much of my time is literally wasted by simply ‘being on Twitter’. Looking for the next interesting or noteworthy tweet, or – most of the time – something that annoys me or makes me mad, or sad.
On the other hand though, I think (or perhaps pretend) that Twitter has become a(n) (in)valuable source of information. Again, especially for local issues. It’s on Twitter that I read what’s happening in my community, more than anywhere else. It’s on Twitter where I get the details on local plans. And it’s on Twitter where I can discuss these things.

I’d love to quit. As I wrote, it’s only been 2 years since I joined, so I kind of remember how life was without it. But I guess it’s FOMO that still keeps me there. Like the author of the article wrote: it has every aspect of an addiction.


I’ll check out the article to see their specific points, but going in, my feeling is that Facebook is far worse. The terrorists who tried to take over the US Capitol didn’t meet and form groups on Twitter.


I’m glad I never signed-up for a FB account. I always tell people – half-jokingly – that I don’t have friends to start with. :wink:

On a sidenote, a huge annoyance of me is that lately our local police department is sharing some information exclusively through FB. That is, a short Tweet with a referral to their FB page for the full story. A page that is – nota bene! – only accessible for people with a FB account!

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Would you have a way to use Twitter to RSS feeds in order to stay in relevant loops? I’ve found it a great way to listen to some topics with the benefit of high curation and the inability to interact.


You mean the grandmas taking selfies? :slight_smile:

Didn’t know that’s possible, Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll definitely look into this.

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Thats how I use Twitter. Just an aggregator of interesting posts and links to articles. Not reading the comments (with the exception to check relevancy) or God forbid to engage with them.


FWIW, Feedbin will let you follow Twitter.

There’s a blog post from a few years ago: Feedbin is the Best Way to Read Twitter

(Other RSS services may also do this, but I use Feedbin so I know that one.)

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You need an RSS aggregator that allows this, it’s usually a premium feature, but I find it well worth the cost. (I’m using Inoreader but it’s far from being the only one.)

There’s indeed some forgotten art about knowing you can’t do anything with a piece of content and just move on!

In the immortal XKCD…

(I plead guilty, unfortunately.)


That is great! :slight_smile:

20 characters


Good to read. That said, I liken Twitter to keeping a potentially dangerous animal as a pet. Mistreated, it’s an ill-advised housemate, but treated with care and understanding, it’s capable of being a valuable addition to your household…

I don’t think I’m fooling myself into believing I’m better than anyone else at beating the addictive mechanics. I dip in briefly maybe once a day for a brief sprint to scan a few of my Twitter lists (through TweetDeck), pick up on interesting threads of conversation and links, then get out. I’m not sure if it’s specific to something in my settings, but TweetDeck has a slightly disorientating loading “stutter” if you scroll back far enough, which I usually take as a kick to move on.

I also have Flipboard set up with a few Twitter lists, though I seem to be using that less these days.

If anything, YouTube is my SM Achilles’ heel! I have to mindfully avoid browsing there for fear of emerging an hour or so later from a rabbit warren of Mac/iOS videos, knowledge management set-up tutorials, movie trailers, local news clips etc etc….

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Wow. I just keep Twitter notifications off and catch up for 5-10 minutes every few days. I have one feed (of maybe 400 which I follow) which I subscribe to as RSS in NewsExplorer. I have no interest in watching commentary unfold in real time, but there are useful links and stories that I pick up now and again.


HA! That’s a great sentence, and a fitting analogy for all social media, for sure.

I’ve compared Facebook, et al. to salt: A little can be very good, but be careful, because by the time you realize that you’ve used too much there is no undo.

I used to close Facebook as soon as something irritated me. Now I try to stop when something makes me especially happy, as I think “I’m probably not going to do better than this, and I don’t want to spoil it.”