Scorched Earth: Quitting Twitter and Deleting Everything

August 5, 2020

After getting into yet another stupid and pointless opinion scuffle on Twitter where no one wins, I decided to pull the plug and just quit Twitter completely for a while.

It’s not really the specific exchange of tweets that was the issue this time because it was honestly pretty mild and not super antagonistic. It’s just that I finally fully realized just how completely pointless it all is, and what a massive waste of time it is. No one wins or proves anything, and no one changes their mind. The only thing achieved is that everyone gets upset and mad at each other, misunderstands each other, takes the other person’s text to mean the worst possible thing, and talks past each other. So in the end it’s actually worse than pointless. Twitter is great for some things, but most serious discourse on Twitter is actively harmful.

With social media, we spend more time reading other people’s random opinions and knee-jerk reactions to current events, and less time reading carefully considered thoughts and factually informed opinions from experts and experienced professionals. It’s exactly the opposite of what we as a society should be doing.

I finally got to a point mentally where I could not in good conscience continue participating in this madness. Time is precious. Don’t waste yours anymore.

Delete all your tweets and likes

Quitting Twitter wasn’t enough for me. The whole ecosystem is so bad that people are actually incentivized to trudge through all your old tweets and textual vomits, and then weaponize them against you. I’ve seen it happen over and over and over. I have always been relatively careful of what I publicly share and most of my strong opinions aren’t too far away from mainstream anyways so I am not too concerned about this. Nevertheless, the risk is still there no matter what because popular opinions change over time.

The only real solution to significantly reduce or eliminate this risk is to delete everything. So I did this, and then wrote a separate post on how to delete all your tweets and likes from Twitter if you are interested in doing the same.

Is This The End?

Not quite. I am not going to interact on Twitter at all (no tweets or likes, etc.) for a while – I am not sure how long. At least a few months most likely. However, I am still keeping my Twitter account itself, and may check my feed once a week or so to keep a pulse on current events (something Twitter does well). I may also hook up this blog to it to auto-post any new blog posts that I write for a little extra exposure for those that still follow me on Twitter.

As much as I have just riffed on Twitter in this post, it still does have its uses. I have made connections and had some real interactions with more of my industry peers on Twitter than I ever did with LinkedIn – a social network with the explicit purpose of professional/work connections (what does that say about the state of LinkedIn?).

If/when I do come back to Twitter, I will take an entirely different approach to it. I can’t allow myself to get sucked into it again the same way I did before. I am still thinking through what that might be or what that would look like. I don’t want to get sucked into Twitter again, where I am just mindlessly scrolling through my feed and posting whatever thoughts come into my mind at the moment.

Moving Forward

My ideal future would be more blogging and long-form thoughtful communication; less off the cuff remarks and knee-jerk reactions. The things you and I post online are forever. They should be our best thoughts, tempered with wisdom, viewed through the lens of reality and facts. Social media as it exists today isn’t built for that. It doesn’t seem like it ever will be.

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