Monday, November 26, 2018

Twitter Killed The Blogosphere Star

I often wonder why I still maintain a blog. Blogging is a practice that is very much of the oughts, like burning CDs or talking on cell phones. If you want to get into political conversations with the big wigs Twitter makes it much easier. You do not have to write long essays and can merely throw the main ideas out there for others to see. Tweetstorms are much likely to be read than blog essays are. There's a Twitter meme now where people use a photo and label one element "video" and the other "the radio star." It's all kind of silly, but to get meta, Twitter was the video to the radio star of blogs.

Now we all know there are still radio stars, as much as there are blogs. It's just that blogs are a fairly minor corner of the public sphere these days. I find that to be shame, since while Twitter is awfully convenient and I have gained a lot from it, it is not an ideal place to carry on discourse. Ideas get distilled down to their most basic elements, with nuance eliminated. It's a format that ensures lots of fights and disagreement, driving the clicks that Twitter so craves.

It is a format that discourages deep thought and reflection. People who are successful on it tend to trade in snark and bon mots and knowing the most recent memes, but rarely have anything much to say of substance. I felt differently back in the oughties where I had a whole list of blogs I would read on a daily basis that would energize me and give me ideas. The personas of those bloggers also seemed much more measured and so much less fake and performative.

I have recently drastically cut down my Facebook usage, which has had the side effect of upping my Twitter usage. That hasn't been such a good thing, since I get sucked into the most ridiculous petty arguments on a regular basis. As with Facebook, I find myself continually outraged and angry, which is exactly how these platforms want to make us feel. I have been thinking back to what my mental state was like before I engaged in social media, and remembered being a much more reflective person. Ideas would come into my mind, but I would give them serious thought before writing about them. Nowadays like a junky I crave the instant gratification that social media affords me. I see an article about something Trump did that made me angry? I immediately post that sucker with an indignant statement attached to it.

That IS more satisfying that blogging, but far less meaningful. After having let this blog take a back seat I have resolved to focus my writing here, rather than on Facebook or Twitter. Fewer people will read what I have to say here, but what I do have to say will be a helluva lot more profound.

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