Why I Decided to Leave Twitter

Leaving Twitter was the best decision for me after years of struggling with the toxicity of the platform.

Leaving Twitter; Why I Decided to Leave Twitter

I’ve always struggled with Twitter, so leaving Twitter recently was an unbelievable relief.

I was very late to the game (years and years late), only signing up a few years ago. I’ve never tweeted consistently, and I’ve had to force myself to learn to use it after starting this blog.

Within the last few weeks, I decided that I no longer wanted Twitter in my life.

It wasn’t the easiest decision, as a decent portion of my website traffic comes from Twitter.

However, the negative aspects of using Twitter, especially the drain on my mental wellbeing, far outweighed the traffic being generated here to this blog.

I wanted to write a quick post explaining my decision to deactivate my Twitter account, because I know I’m not the only person that finds the social media site to be toxic and detrimental.

If you’ve had similar experiences, or if you disagree entirely, let me know all about it in the comments below.


Lack of Facts and Critical Thinking

The primary reason that I decided to no longer use Twitter is due to the fact that it’s one of many social media sites spreading inaccurate, misleading, or false information.

I follow more than twenty news sources in order to consume a wide range of information. Does that sound exhausting? Because it is. It might be overkill, but it’s a habit that started way back in 2009 when I was studying political science and international relations. I appreciate seeing different viewpoints of current events. It also allows me to think more critically about what I’m reading.

Not to be cynical or anything, but I have a really hard time trusting anything the media, particularly mainstream media, says.

I spend more time than I’d like navigating news sources like NPR, Reuters, Der Spiegel, The Daily Wire, The New York Times, The Intercept, and The Guardian (among others). The last thing I need is to have to do the same while I’m scrolling a social media site.

Before leaving Twitter, there wasn’t a single day that went by when I didn’t see someone misrepresent a news story in order to push an agenda. In some cases, it may not have even been a conscious decision on their part. Maybe they just agreed with the sentiment. But it was always there. There’d also be people spreading blatantly false information in their own little echo chambers, and if anyone attempts to correct such false information, there’s a good chance they’d be called out for it. This brings me to the next reason I’m no longer using Twitter.


Toxicity, Public Shaming, and Cancel Culture

Twitter is the only website that has ever given me an actual, literal panic attack.

The toxicity of Twitter users is astounding. When did people become so angry, hateful, and divided over every little thing?

It doesn’t matter if people are discussing something as mundane as pizza toppings or as important as police brutality – people are going to fight. I’m always startled by the lack of honest discourse when it comes to disagreements on Twitter.

When enough people disagree with someone, or when someone questions popular sentiment, they get cancelled. Cancel culture is one of the biggest travesties of our modern society.

There are plenty of public figures and tons of authors who I personally choose not to support. I’ve done my research on them and have decided that due to their actions, I will not spend money on their books, I will not support or publicize them in any way, and I choose to ignore them as much as possible. However, it is not my place to dictate what other people do, which is why I don’t talk about these people I’ve “cancelled.” Cancel culture creates an atmosphere where people are afraid to speak up, and to me, that’s a form of censorship, which I am 100% against. I’ve heard of many other people leaving Twitter (along with other social media platforms) for this same reason.


Doomscrolling and Wasting Time

This should be an obvious reason against using Twitter, and I don’t have too much to say.

Just like any social media site, it’s too easy to get sucked in and spend a lot of time scrolling through updates. The thing is, however, 90% of those updates are negative or useless. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

If you love Twitter and but find that you also spend way too much time scrolling, think about “decluttering” your feed.


What Community?

One of the original reasons I joined Twitter, specifically “Book Twitter,” was to join a community. I don’t have a lot of real-life bookish friends, so the prospect of finding new friends online to talk about books with was very appealing.

I didn’t find it an easy community to get into, however. Maybe I had difficulty because I’m not great at using Twitter or due to my ridiculously overwhelming social anxiety. Even after putting in some considerable effort to start conversations and engage more, I never felt like part of the community.

This isn’t anything against Twitter or the people who use the site. It’s purely my own experience. Obviously, other people have had different experiences and love the Twitter book community. This lack of ease in entering the community, however, was one of the reasons that I didn’t feel much of a need to stick around.


Final Thoughts on Leaving Twitter

This is not a post about why you guys should cancel your Twitter account, or why Twitter is evil. I wanted to share my experiences and the reasons why leaving Twitter was the right decision for me.

What are your experiences with using Twitter? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Author: Penny W

Absolutely bookish.

One thought on “Why I Decided to Leave Twitter”

  1. Hi Penny, thank you for such a refreshing article.

    I also have been thinking about doing the same.

    Unlike my kids, I’ve never really been much into Social Media—perhaps because I am from a generation that grew up without it. But recently, I published a book (don’t worry, I am not here to push it), and everyone said I had to get a twitter feed, facebook profile and so on.

    So, I diligently did—but try as I might, I just can’t get into Twitter. From what I see, it’s either full of people shouting for attention in a “Look at me! Look at me! I’m here” sort of way, which gets tiring after a while. Or worse, it just seems full of so much anger and aggression. Not to mention, as you say, people peddling agendas and/or distorting things for their own ends.

    People seem to be either in an echo chamber where everybody agrees with them, which helps to reinforce that they must be right; or they encounter people of opposing views at which point, all hell seems to break loose. Before you know it, people end up in camps and the whole thing gets tribal.

    And as Frankie Goes to Hollywood (a British band from the 80s), sang, “When two tribes go to war… “. It might well explain a lot of the aggression.

    Perhaps people feel safe being able to slam someone remotely— because you wouldn’t get away with saying such things to people’s faces—and so it brings out the worst in us. Or maybe, because that’s what happened in the early days, now everyone in that microcosm thinks those are the rules for that society and behave accordingly.

    Plus, as you so rightly say, if you are not careful, you can lose hours before you know it, scrolling through this and that—as the machine’s algorithms constantly keep you distracted, grab your attention and feed your dopamine levels, in order to keep you on the site as long as possible… All, so that it can continue to sell its advertising.

    The acid test is when you realise you started the day in a positive mood, full of good intentions, but made the mistake of firing up the beast. Then, before you know it, a glance at your watch told you that, once again, you were slow-roasted in the Twitter soup and are left with nothing but a heavy feeling in your chest and a bad mood to show for your efforts.

    You are right, the only cure is total abstinence. The trouble is, with everyone else seemingly on it, there is FOMO…

    And, even if FOMO is in reality The Road To Ruin, the survival part of our brain still keeps telling us that it’s not good to be excluded from the village. (Or at least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it)!

    Anyway, I’ve rambled on too long now and should leave you in peace, but thank you for this article and your website. It takes courage to post what you did, particularly when it’s a controversial or outlying view. But the more people who stand up for what’s right, the more people eventually that follow, and ultimately the world ends up a better place.

    I also know how long these websites and other such things take to do (referencing one of your other posts, explaining your hiatus), so only do it when it feels right for you and you get enjoyment from doing so.

    Thank you once again, your post has made a difference. Now for the hard yards… and me trying to kick the twitter habit.

    Like

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