‘Tis the season to blog about Twitter. Or tweet about Twitter. Or podcast about podcasts, apparently. It’s that part of the cycle, I guess. I sympathise with Joshua Topolsky when he says he conceived of Twitter as “a utility, a service so fundamental that I could imagine a scenario in which it was literally underwritten.” I felt similarly for some while. But let’s face it. It’s an internet service that enables entitlement, like any other, so fuck it. And, like anything else on the internet, the user should be able to bend it into whatever shape best fits their life, or abandon it entirely. Not that everyone who comes to that conclusion acts upon it: Nathan Jurgenson observes, on Twitter, that “people don’t quit Twitter because they don’t want to lose their followers – Twitter will end when it no longer houses social capital.” I keep my Twitter account alive for this reason, among others, even though only my bots actually post to its public stream.
I don’t need the hassle of being present in a public stream. It runs counter to my goals and working style. That doesn’t make me social dead weight: I’m engaged with Twitter through self-curated lists and DMs. I don’t post and I don’t read notifications. That is an entirely valid way to use the service, even if it’s not the way the providers would prefer I used it.
Oh god, I just realised something. I just realised that I just advocated Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out. Kill me.