6 Reasons Twitter is Ruining the World

It happened again, but this is the last time it’ll happen to me on Twitter.

twitter sucks
I made the critical mistake of interacting with a right wing nutjob on Twitter - one Dave Rubin. In response to the Covington controversy, Rubin took the criticism of the racist young man to an illogical extreme. In short, he said the left first wanted to punch Nazis and now, well, who knows how far they’ll go.

It was the type of nonsense that has permeated our national discourse for too long. Of course it’s okay to punch Nazis! Why wouldn’t it be?

There was also, of course, no correlation between punching Nazis and the backlash against the 15-year-old racist high schooler. But it was making that absurd correlation which allowed racist Trump supporters to feel better about themselves and paint those who oppose racism as the real problem.

In response to the dumb tweet, I made my own dumb tweet -- telling the moron that punching Nazis was also okay and maybe we should start punching all racists too. We’re being way too nice to people like Donald Trump and his followers who spew putrid hate on a daily basis.

Rubin quote-tweeted me and within seconds, I had 100 notifications. It would soon total more than 1,000. Why? Because all of Rubin’s followers are trolls or bots - I was swarmed. For hours, my Twitter was overrun with fake names and aliases, calling me every terrible name in the book.

My one tweet escalated to the point that these trolls had figured out where I work - my employer is not in my Twitter bio - and then starting tagging my company in their attack tweets.

So who got in trouble? Of course I did. My employer was unhappy with my actions, as if I made the trolls dig into my life.

The kicker, though, was Twitter suspending me for 12 hours. Apparently “punching Nazis” is too violent for Twitter but the people telling me to die were just fine people.

With that, I’m done. It won’t matter. I know one person won’t prevent Twitter from ruining the world. Let’s count the reasons

1)    No One Will Read This

I started my Twitter account to help promote this blog, which at the time was 99.9% focused on sports. My first blog post to go viral, on the ESPN’s shameful treatment of the Big East, was jumpstarted by one tweet to a sportswriter, which was retweeted by a University of Cincinnati blogger.

How is this, or any other piece I write, going to go viral without social media promotion? We have defaulted to using social media as our news organization and, uh, it’s not going well.

2) People Think Fiction is Reality

The high school racists from Covington are just the latest example of social media completing distorting an obvious incident. Your eyes are not deceiving you. That smirking 15 year old in the MAGA hat is racist and disrespected Native Americans.

However, a little spin from a Republican PR firm had smart people -- most particularly and surprisingly journalists -- surmising that maybe their eyes had deceived and the little boy was simply misunderstood. Longer video poked a hole in that fallacy, but not before another group of racists was given the benefit of the doubt for no reason.

3) Journalists Have Become Puppets

The most poignant aspect of the 2016 Presidential election was Hillary Clinton correctly calling out Donald Trump for being a Russian puppet. She was right. He was wrong. But he's not the only puppet.

Journalists are no longer doing what I was taught to do as a newspaper reporter a very long time ago -- shape the day’s news cycle. Whenever I interviewed a politician, from a local First Selectman to the Governor, I drove the questions. We talked about what we wanted to talk about. Sure, the politician could send us statements and press releases, but we chose what was written.

In today’s social media age, journalists have shirked this important duty and become flaks, simply passing information along. It’s beyond frustration to see every Beltway reporter refer to the same Trump tweet. I want to scream, “That’s not your job!” every time.

The breaking point came during the first stages of the shutdown and multiple media members bemoaned how Trump was able to change the discussion. He shouldn't be able to do that! You’re the media - you control what you do every day!

4) Not Enough Character To Matter

At least when Twitter was limited to 140 characters, there was a conscious understanding that nothing productive was going to come from a Twitter conversation. When the platform shifted to 280, everything changed. People felt like Twitter now had the ability to withstand legit conversations.

Spoiler alert: it does not.

Especially when it comes to matters like politics, 280 characters rarely give enough context to anything being discussed, from movies to sports to shutdowns. It leads to people devolving into name-calling almost instantly and contributing the toxic nature of our country.

5) Who Is Real? Who Is Not?

The biggest problem with Twitter is the trolls. There are literally millions upon millions of accounts they are being run by real people. Maybe they are a bot account. Maybe it’s a Russian pretending to be an American. Maybe it’s just a teenager fucking with people. Regardless, it’s become impossible to know if the person yelling at you is an actual person because Twitter doesn’t give a fuck.

racist jack dorsey
It was never more apparent than when the Mueller investigation revealed the names of some of these Russian account that had been masquerading as Americans. Most disturbing was the amount of times these fake accounts were “quoted” in actual news stories summarizing how the nation felt about a certain subject.

Think about how many times that fake “Ten_GOP” account was cited in legit news articles about how terrible Hillary Clinton was in 2016. What if that didn’t happen?

6) Jack Dorsey is Racist

Oh, well, I guess this is the biggest problem. If Jack didn’t want racists on his platform, he would weed them out immediately.

But Jack doesn't care. Jack is making money. Jack is making money in part because racists and Russians have taken to his platform in droves.

Until we all leave, nothing is going to change because Jack is never going to change. The racists will win. And I’ll be suspended for wanting to punch them.

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