Experiences and Observations on Twitter

A thread to post thoughts about twitter, the medium, and also one’s experiences using the medium. I’ll start with something that bugs me. I’ve complained about the snark before, but I just wanted to mention one specific person, the progressive writer/journalist, Matthew Igleias. Here’s a sample:

I agree with his point, but I feel like 3/4 of his tweets contain this sort of sarcasm. It’s so annoying. (I actually chose to follow him early on, and put him on one of my politics lists, but I’ve dropped him from the latter, and have been waffling on unfollowing him.) I just don’t like the snark on twitter in general, but when it’s so excessive it’s also hard to know when the person isn’t being ironic. It’s a shame because he seems like a smart guy, who has interesting points to make.

By the way, bringing this up makes me think about why I don’t like snark. Would I not like this outside of twitter? I’m not sure. I think the equivalent of snark offline would sneering with an air of superiority and even condescension. Put that way, no I wouldn’t like that offline or in other media. Perhaps not all expressions of snark is like that, or at least the difference between snark and more good-natured irony can be fuzzy, the latter being something I’d have less problems with and might even enjoy.

One thought on “Experiences and Observations on Twitter

  1. Quick Way to Make Money as a Pundit

    This article from TheWeek discusses the way, more conspiratorial-minded anti-Trumpers are fooling people and personally profiting from this. What I wanted to point out is that most of the people I follow on twitter are actively using twitter to promote themselves and their ideas, elevating their status and authority, in the hopes that this will translate into TV appearances and/or book sales. I don’t know this for sure, but it seems very obvious to me.

    Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I wanted to make this point in response to the article: If the author is going use the word “grift,” he should use that for non-liberals as well. To be fair, he’s focusing on people that don’t deserve attention and financial profit because of their shoddy thinking. That’s fair–people with shoddy views shouldn’t receive a lot of attention, status, or authority.

    In addition to shoddy thinking, including conspiracy thinking, I’m concerned about the way smart people use things other than their expertise or unique insights to gain a wider audience. For example, the use of snarky zingers and cat pictures to endear one’s self to others. One pattern I’ve noticed: People will pick and choose dumb, often insulting tweets to respond to with a witty comeback. It can be fun to read those, but I also notice that the estimation of the person can grow because of this, and I don’t think that’s really a good thing. It’s like the cool kids in high school that become popular because of how they put down others. Additionally, I think good questions and critiques can easily be ignored or muted/blocked. That’s probably not a good thing for the pundits.

    Overall, I don’t think I have a big problem with all of this. I do feel a little uncomfortable by some of the dynamics, though.

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