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Twitter, why?

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I have never been a big social media user. I use UKC mostly (less so recently), I dont have FB, IG or anything else. I have to use LinkedIn for work but even that is becoming intolerable.

Twitter is on another level though. I have been a user for 7 years. User in the respect that I have had an account. Ive had some free time lately and have found myself contributing and reading much more. But its not contributing though, is it. You get a broadcast from the OP (often celebrities or politicians) then you just get a pile in from objectionable types. I've found myself being dragged in and just arguing with randoms. There appears to be very little positivity,  especially on political posts.

Anyway, Ive cancelled my account and wont be returning, the place just feels shouty.

Does anyone actually get anything from it other than splitting people apart and being a gobby mouthpiece?

In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I deleted my Twitter account a couple of years ago. Like you, I found it to be mostly populated by angry people who seem to get upset by the most innocuous of comments or those whose fragile ego need constant stroking.

To be honest, I find myself better off without "social media" like Twitter and Facebook; to misquote Jack Kerouac, 

...in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent scrolling through social media posts. Climb that goddamn mountain.

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 john arran 27 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I use it often, mainly as a news source. I follow quite a limited set of accounts - ones that I feel I can trust to be truthful and informative or amusing. Reading replies to posts is only advisable if you're not sure of the veracity of a post and want to see if it's well refuted. Replying to anything is a rarity for me, and only if I genuinely feel I have something worth saying. Life's too short to waste much of it contradicting idiots, bots or shills, so I don't.

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 DamonRoberts 27 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

A couple of friends in academia reckon its the place to go to 'network' within their fields, particularly people who work with a bit of a policy/current events angle.  

1
 Xharlie 27 Jul 2022
In reply to john arran:

> ... I follow quite a limited set of accounts ...

THIS, right here, is the key. And, also, the reason why I, personally, consider Twitter to be just about the only social media or online forum that is still tolerable at all.

On Twitter, just follow people, not topics. Follow concrete, specific, real people that you choose to follow. Ignore all the rest.

Twitter is the only place that you can still do this, as far as I know, and, even there, killing all the automatic inclusion of junk into one's feed is still difficult, not fool-proof and very annoying but, to a large extent, you can still succeed.

 john arran 27 Jul 2022
In reply to Xharlie:

> Twitter is the only place that you can still do this, as far as I know, and, even there, killing all the automatic inclusion of junk into one's feed is still difficult, not fool-proof and very annoying but, to a large extent, you can still succeed.

on the subject of which: you may know already but there's a useful chrome extension called 'Latest Tweets First' which does exactly that, and prevents Twitter automatically changing your expressed preference whenever it feels like imposing its algorithm on you again.

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 B-team 27 Jul 2022
In reply to DamonRoberts:

> A couple of friends in academia reckon its the place to go to 'network' within their fields

This. I almost exclusively follow other academics within my field (and am likewise followed by the same) and I find it incredibly useful. It did take me quite a long time to figure out how to make it work for me however. 

 henwardian 27 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

> Does anyone actually get anything from it other than splitting people apart and being a gobby mouthpiece?

Nope. I've had an account on Twitter for many years, I created it one time to message someone about a new route. I don't think I've ever posted using it though and I never log in to read anything either.

The social media experience is more about getting a dopamine hit when someone likes your thingy or comments on it or subscribes/follows/friends (I don't even know which one of these is the twitter one) you than it is about debate or communication. It's also a lot about selling things obviously. If you don't want to sell anything and you are not looking for self-validation, I can't see the point.

(ok, maybe I'll make an exception for things like groups on Facebook which allow you to sell things... wait, I mean, find partners for whatever sport or hobby or whatever you have - basically run a something like a club without the need for everyone to meet up regularly).

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 Ramblin dave 27 Jul 2022
In reply to Xharlie:

> THIS, right here, is the key. And, also, the reason why I, personally, consider Twitter to be just about the only social media or online forum that is still tolerable at all.

> On Twitter, just follow people, not topics. Follow concrete, specific, real people that you choose to follow. Ignore all the rest.

Yeah, agree with this. You can unfollow people if you don't like what they post, you can block people if they keep showing up in your timeline commenting on other stuff and you can turn off retweets from them if they're quite interesting in themselves but keep retweeting rubbish. Follow people who post stuff that's genuinely interesting or insightful or funny and that'll be what your timeline is full of.

 alan moore 27 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Schools often use Twitter. Its a useful place to share what's going on, and for teachers and establishments to showcase (show-off) what they do.

That said, to get any coverage, you have to build up as many followers as possible and it seems impossible to filter out all the nutters with an axe to grind.

 kathrync 27 Jul 2022
In reply to DamonRoberts:

> A couple of friends in academia reckon its the place to go to 'network' within their fields, particularly people who work with a bit of a policy/current events angle.  

Yeah, it is good for this. I don't use it for social purposes at all. I follow mostly academics, and occasionally some specific event (like the Spine Race). I post almost entirely academic stuff (advertisements for workshops, papers etc.). As others have said, I follow only people who I know and not any topics.

I would never use it for personal social media.

 James FR 27 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Most (maybe all) social media is too fast-moving for me, instead I use a browser extension that can follow RSS feeds, but also social media platforms if I want, and I can keep up to date that way. I really don't want to miss John Kelly's website article on his Wainwrights record, but his tweets about Dr Pepper and cream soda are not so important to me.

The few accounts I want to keep up with on Twitter post less than once a week, and this system works well for me - when I have some free time I can quickly see any new posts over a wide range of blogs, videos, websites and social media, and then decide which I actually want to read or watch.

Obviously Twitter or any other social media that relies on advertising doesn't want people to use it in this way, they'd prefer you to be checking your feed every 10 minutes, liking and commenting everything, and pushing more and more content your way. I prefer a more DIY approach.

 nastyned 27 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I got news of piggate on twitter waaaaaaay before the BBC mentioned anything. 

And to keep twitter how I like it I ruthlessly cull people who annoy me and really try to avoid arguing with strangers. 

In reply to Xharlie:

> Twitter is the only place that you can still do this, as far as I know, 

On Facebook, I only see posts from friends. I see 'suggested pages' and adverts, but I just ignore those. You can't yet provide filtering feedback for suggested pages (I've reported this problem).

I don't see any posts from randoms.

 steveriley 27 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

The algorithm has definitely moved to encourage shoutyness. Email updates have shifted from 'what's interesting happened recently' to 'what are you angry about today'.

 Tony Buckley 27 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

With a few smaller exceptions, Twitter has two functions:

- for 'corporate level' communication with stakeholders, which includes celebrities talking to their acolytes; and

- to give people with minds as empty as an echo chamber the opportunity to vomit their worthless opinions into the ether and feel that it makes a difference.

Ok, the second point is harshly put; it's not wrong though.  And there are, as noted, exceptions to these points but they seem to be the two chief functions of the medium.

T.

 NathanP 27 Jul 2022
In reply to JohnDexter:

> ... I found it to be mostly populated by angry people who seem to get upset by the most innocuous of comments ...

True but if you enjoy upsetting angry people with innocuous comments it's comedy gold.

In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Weird. I find that most of Twitter is not angry, but typically pithily intelligent and often witty. Of course, I block the nasties, but they seem to be very much in a minority. One of the best things on the internet. Intelligent people interacting sharply in the real world. Refreshing, uplifting, encouraging.

1
In reply to alan moore:

> Schools often use Twitter. Its a useful place to share what's going on, and for teachers and establishments to showcase (show-off) what they do.

I more or less got told to join Twitter at school. I did. I immediately forgot my password. I never bothered recovering it.

David Cameron still gets my grudging respect for his "too many tweets make a tw** " when asked why he wasn't on Twitter.

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 Welsh Kate 27 Jul 2022
In reply to DamonRoberts:

Yeah, like other academics who've commented, I use Twitter professionally to network with colleagues in my subject area, and there are some pedagogic networks I follow which are a great way of staying up to date with developments in HE. 

 jasonC abroad 28 Jul 2022
In reply to john arran:

Thanks that is a great tip, just got something similiar for Firefox and it makes Twitter a much better experience.

 ian caton 28 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Twitter, best thing on the web.

I don't look at news sites i just follow journalists i respect. They tweet when they have something new. They all tweet. I follow constitutional lawyers for their take on johson. I follow ukrainian journalists and military psople commenting in the war. I follow the local highways dept, they tell me when roads are going to be closed, likewise the tip and the library. The council tweets iut its plans etc.

If something that is going on in the world interests me i try to find the actors, as things change so the people i follow change. 

But best of all if you like really need to get through to someone like hmrc or the bank and the phones are jammed and you kniw will be slow to respind to email. Tweet them, response time normally in minutes.

Really, really excellent. 

In reply to Robert Durran:

What???? I agree with David Cameron on something, never thought I see the day. Not sure whether to upvote your post for the insight or downvote it for the horror and emotional scarring

 montyjohn 28 Jul 2022
In reply to john arran:

> I use it often, mainly as a news source

I don't have a Twitter account so will be missing exactly how this works, but the idea of Twitter driven news sources scares me.

6
 broken spectre 28 Jul 2022
In reply to montyjohn:

> I don't have a Twitter account so will be missing exactly how this works, but the idea of Twitter driven news sources scares me.

You need to embrace the democratisation of information. With a little nouse you can build an insightful worldview that is removed from the mainstream media rhetoric, which at times has an agenda of it's own that can be at odds with the truth.

If you're not too canny, yes you can end up in an echo chamber, hovering up misinformation but with a reasonable education and an investigative approach you can get a handle on what's really happening. Embrace it.

 montyjohn 28 Jul 2022
In reply to broken spectre:

> Embrace it.

Now it scares me even more

5
 ian caton 28 Jul 2022
In reply to montyjohn:

??? I follow jeremy bowen, chris mason, steve rosrnburg, ross atkins, leeis goodall etc. They tweet when they have something new to say or when they are going to be on the radio. I don't have to wait for some news programme mixed up with a lot of guff i am not intetested in. What they do is tweet a link to their stuff on bbc, sky or whatever. Or sometimes tweet out what they are seeing in real time. 

Post edited at 22:03
 girlymonkey 28 Jul 2022
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I have just been watching some of the Louis Theroux documentaries. He does a few with the Westbro Baptist Church (American hate cult). It turns out that some of the young women who defected from the cult did so due to people on Twitter taking the time to have measured and thoughtful conversations with them. 

I am not much of a Twitter user, I only signed up to follow Ukraine war information more easily, but seeing this it has gone up in my estimation!

In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I deleted my account today. I think the algorithm is very much intended to pull you into confrontational topics. You can try and avoid it, but clicking on something that seems intially interesting seems to instantly result in an avalanche of deranged morons filling your feed.

Post edited at 22:37
In reply to Ridge:

This is so odd. Many people say this about Twitter, but I've never experienced anything like it. I've had to block a few nutters, but really not that many. Apart from that, it's always been vibrant, helpful and interesting. Maybe it depends who one's following ... maybe I'm odd in that I tend only to follow people/opinions that I like. How is it that I've never experienced any 'avalanche of deranged morons'? Perhaps I've got some 'filters' on that I've forgotten about, but I have no recollection of setting up any such thing.

BTW, on Twitter I'm now following 4,995 people and have 2,667 followers.

Post edited at 23:59
 ian caton 29 Jul 2022
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I block followers. 

 ian caton 29 Jul 2022
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

How do you follow 5000 people. Presumably twitter filters their posts. I follow about 200 and i try to thin that down. 

 montyjohn 30 Jul 2022
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> I'm now following 4,995

I don't think I know that many people. And I'm including people I've only heard of (and remembered) when I say that.

In reply to montyjohn:

> but the idea of Twitter driven news sources scares me.

The idea of news sources driven by the likes of Murdoch and the Barclays terrifies me.


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