Wednesday, April 03, 2019

I left Twitter for a week and you won’t believe what happened next 

This is what happens when you unplug yourself from a single app

After the New Zealand Mosque attack, amid thoughts and prayers and the horror and the agony and the unity there was of course the bilious spew of the Internet but in even weirder and weirder ways. For context: a young woman of colour wearing a Bernie Sanders campaign t-shirt, was recorded righteously confronting Chelsea Clinton at a memorial ceremony for those who died in New Zealand, and saying that Clinton had used the kind of language against Muslims that led to such attacks on Muslims. What were those words? Ms Clinton had “retweeted” a comment that went something like, while criticism of Israel may be valid, we most push back from any antisemitism, which was in itself a retort to the only female Muslim representative who had commented on another tweet about “it being all about the money” (paraphrasing) — “it” being the suggestion that American Jews who contributed to any lobby for a foreign country (namely Israel) was questionably close to unpatriotic behaviour (or something? This rabbit hole is deep and weird). So to recap, Clinton’s stance on antisemitism was seen as an attack on an American Muslim woman which was somehow to blame for violence against Muslims everywhere so she shouldn’t attend memorials in the names of those who perished due to her words (which, by the way she did not utter nor type but reposted as an implied agreement of sentiment). This, of course, was a colossal exaggeration and wholly unnecessary especially as Clinton is a known supporter of immigrants and immigration and women of all faiths and races. Then some people righteously, on Twitter, defended Chelsea Clinton which led others, on Twitter to fire back that it was so predictable that the perceived worst victim of a shooting of almost 50 Muslims by a racist in a foreign country was an affluent white woman in New York.

I probably did injustice to the entire fustercluck of Twitter outrage that has led to some very nasty confrontations in real life. Yet, it was this debacle that led me to delete the Twitter app on my phone. Not my account mind you, just the application on my personal phone. I’ve been on Twitter for over a decade (member since 2008). I’ve learned of the death of every major artist, entertainer or politician over that decade via Twitter. It was my second most used phone app after e-mail. Now, I’ve spent the entire week away from Twitter and this is what happened:
I slept better

I ate better

I exercised more

My knee stopped hurting

My back stopped aching

I read four books

I watched all the classic movies I say I’m going to watch but never do

I started painting again

I built an Amish style wooden stool

I built an Amish style barn

I kicked my heroin habit

I kicked cocaine (after building the barn of course)

My hair grew back fuller and longer and of course none of this happened.

In fact, it was hard to not check Twitter. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I saw a news item refer to something the President Tweeted and had no way to mock it. News items embedded Twitter posts in the body of the article and I couldn’t click on it to see all the nasty folllow up comments. But I persisted and I feel better for it. If nothing else my will power has improved and now when I go to the toilet I only do toilet things instead of mindlessly flitting through an endless list of trivial trifle. I wouldn’t say not being on Twitter gave me my life back but I would say it gave me some tiny seed of optimism and let me save some of my strength to redirect my guile and anger towards Toronto’s truly hateful drivers. Who I could always tweet about.

Thank you, Twitter, for not being there.

Things I would’ve tweeted

How do so many men miss the urinal?

Today was such a Sunday.

DM @rowdyman: Watched Captain Marvel

DM @rowdyman: Read Boundless

The most unbelievable thing about the Umbrella Academy is that there was a time-travelling Jewish assassin who never tried killing Hitler.

DM @rowdyman: Watched The Umbrella Academy Season 01

I use my browser's "private/incognito" mode to search for embarrassing things like "Is gaffer tape the same as duct tape?"

Carbohydrates are the only anti-depressant I require.

"Healthy Snacks" lead to unparalleled dissatisfaction.

Baseball star Mike Trout is proof that you can find success despite being named Mike Trout.

Sometimes delicately flavoured carbonated drinks just taste like water that's been in the fridge for too long.

The crisis of politics is not that it is a fustercluck of epic proportions, it’s mostly that loudmouth schnooks and the righteous few who oppose them take up all the oxygen while anyone of reason is made to appear weak by comparison.

One of the stranger aspects of the cosmos is that an event like the vernal equinox is overshadowed by a weekend in which people pretend to be Irish and drink beer with food colouring in it.

After reading this, I realize that a) I don't use Facebook as much as other people. b) I spend waaaaay less than other people c) I am less influenced by online ads d) I don't understand other people's obsession with apps like Twitter, Facebook and so on…

From Farmer's Market™ is not this same as "…from a farmer's market"

I assumed by now that every tech office had a way to send notifications when the coffee pot was fresh brewed/empty. We are so far from this reality.

I have no one but myself to blame for this terrible, weak ass coffee.

Not to be too lazy or reductive but… what he said

Many things get better with age, but coffee isn't one of those things.

Note: Where ever you see "DM @rowdyman" these are items I would Direct Message to my own account. I send my own account direct messages ('DM') more like an activity log than a public post. These are "Notes to self" but also I use it to catalogue films I've seen, books I've read, my weight, distance run, swam or biked, or general reminders. As they are captured in both the application and the account, they are accessible from anywhere with any device.

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