I’ve been Twitter for 10 years or so now and it’s taught me a lot, both through experience and observation. I’ve seen a lot of shit and have been quietly studying people and their behaviors this whole time without even realizing it. The culture and landscape of Twitter has changed drastically for better or worse, and it’s becoming more of a headache everyday, but it doesn’t have to be! Over the past few months I’ve transformed my relationship with Twitter by putting my observations over the years into action.
1. Not For The “Intellectual”
I put intellectual in quotes because that word as a noun is fucking stupid and pretentious to me, but you get the gist. Twitter is generally not a place to have an open and honest discussion about anything, despite what people say especially when juxtaposing its purpose and user base against Instagram. Both are forms of social media and were never meant to be filled with meaningful, thought-provoking content in the first place in my opinion, so it doesn’t reign supreme. Lately I’ve stopped giving my general opinion on most things on Twitter because the majority of people on there are stupid and subscribe to groupthink mentality whether they realize it or not. After I realized that I was one of those people that followed the crowd, I took a step back to spend less time on Twitter and realized that a lot of the opinions and politics I held weren’t even my own. I was just doing and thinking what I thought was right and what the majority was doing.
The unfortunate truth is that Twitter is a land of complainers and delusional people for the most part. It’s a place where people go to make a new reality for themselves and people like them, Twitter is really an alternate reality for a lot of folks in retrospect. It was fun for a while, to dunk on people and cancel people left and right but now that I’ve #grown I see how reductive and pointless it is. Every time I get on there I can’t help but cringe at 90% of my timeline because all I see is recycled discussions about Cancel Culture™, child support, self-deprecating tweets about mental illness and physical appearances, and incessant complaining about things that are both in and out of people’s control. It’s exhausting and the site is definitely not what it used to be, so keep that in mind as you continue to use Twitter and find yourself disliking the landscape of it all. Just don’t expect too much from it these days.
2. Post and Go
I don’t really like to linger on Twitter anymore for the reasons above, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do my best to use it to my advantage. I’ve learned these days that with social media in general, the best method of usage is to post and go, using these platforms as a tool and not the main platform for whatever work you do. Twitter should be an extension and not the base of your work, because people are fickle and it could be gone tomorrow. Lingering too much turns into infinite scrolling and time wasting, as well as continually exposing yourself to things that generally annoy me, which then ruins my mood. Limit your Twitter use while using it strategically and you’ll see a big difference in your mood and mindset.
3. Stupidity Is Unavoidable
You can only curate your timeline so much, There’s always gonna be at least 1-2 people on your timeline that no matter how much you love them or fuck with them, they tend to post dumb and annoying shit. At this point I have half of my following list muted because there’s only so much mess I can take. I block and mute people with ease when I see shit I don’t like, I don’t care how petty or immature it sounds. I do my best to make my social media space an enjoyable one, and if that means abusing the block button then so be it.
4. Don’t Take Shit Personally
Back in my SJW days when I had almost 15k followers on my old account, I was arguing with people left and right almost everyday, especially racist trolls. I thought that quote tweeting them with a drag and going back and forth with them would make the world a better place and get me more followers but only the latter was true, because people are entertained by mess and drama. But it left me emotionally drained to have these trolls and shitty people camped out in my mentions and making comments about my character and personality when they didn’t even know me. But what I learned is, that’s the point: they didn’t know me so their words shouldn’t have mattered in the first place.
I don’t take shit to heart from people that don’t know me and have my phone number. If you don’t know me personally, I’m not going to take anything you say to or about me seriously because you simply don’t matter. I don’t say that to be a dick or be mean but that’s literally the truth and that’s how everyone should live, you should never go through life letting every little thing that every person says get to you. It’ll drive you crazy and it means you’re giving your power away to strangers who probably don’t have a pot to piss in and get their dicks hard by making you mad and upset. So now, I don’t argue with people and I do my best to control my impulses to quote other people’s tweet with my opinion because I hate when people do that to me, so I try to remember to give others that same courtesy whether they’re saying something I agree with or not. But more importantly, when you argue with these destitute ass people, you’re giving them attention and exposure. You’re telling Twitter that engaging in their content matters and that their content deserves to be promoted. That’s how the internet’s algorithm in general works and that’s basically how the rise of the alt-right movement began, so I had to check myself on that and still do.
If somebody says some out of pocket shit and tries to argue with me, I mute/block and keep it moving because nothing I say is up for debate and I have better things to waste my energy on besides arguing on the internet, like making wigs or playing with my cats.
4. Keep It Cute Or Put It On Mute
This point goes back to being intentional with Twitter, especially if you have an end-goal with this internet shit and want to be respected, to be taken seriously with your words. My rule of thumb is to worry about yourself, and it’s easier said than done when we live in a culture where gossip and meaningless chatter is highly valued. Being on Twitter means you know everybody’s business, whether you sought out that information or not, because it’s volunteered without hesitation by others. But instead of being preoccupied with said information and harping on it, just let it go.
Stop worrying about who’s attracted to who, who enjoys what, who’s dating who, because it doesn’t fucking matter. None of that tedious information effects your life in any way, gotta find another form of entertainment. If a bitch likes to eat pickles fried in hot cheeto dust with a glass of milk that ain’t your fucking business, why would you be worried about that? People will really give their (unnecessary) commentary on any and everything, it’s really why I’ve lost respect for some people and don’t take anything they say seriously. Because you don’t need to give your 2 cents on everything, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. People who don’t speak with intention and think before they speak are not people whose thoughts, opinions, and advice I value that much.
Seeing all these random streams of thoughts on my timeline every single day became such a headache, truth be told. Not wanting to see that forces you to not only transform the way you engage and post on Twitter, but it also forces you to be more meaningful and intentional with what you share. I often ask myself, “What makes this so important or profound that I feel the need to share this with tons of people? Did anyone ask, really? Why am I even speaking on this? Why does this matter to me?” If I can’t come up with a meaningful, legitimate response to those questions then it’s chalked. Do nothing without intention, that includes speaking and filling the already over-saturated sphere of Twitter with more bullshit. You’ll thank yourself for it and so will others.
This is something that gets thrown out the window when we come on to the internet and I hate it, people think because you’re not in person that they can be reckless and annoying with how they engage with others. There’s no tact, no respect for privacy, nothing. For example, I regularly tell people “I didn’t ask” just to remind them that nobody cares about their unsolicited opinions/advice and boy do they get mad about it. I also tell people to untag me from their conversations when they Reply All and for some reason people want to get buck over that, it’s like they get offended that you don’t want to talk to them and participate in their dumbass conversation.
Twitter will teach you a lot about boundaries. If I didn’t invite you to the convo, mind ya business. if I didn’t ask for your opposing opinion on something, don’t tweet it to me because I’m definitely going to flat out tell you that I didn’t ask and you’re definitely not going to change my mind on anything. Then you’re gonna get mad because you realize that your opinion doesn’t matter in my world. I stopped opening my DMs because I don’t like random people having access to me and messaging me whatever whenever they want, treating me like a therapist or a mixtape promoter. Talk to people and treat them like you would if they were sitting right next to you, can’t go wrong with that.
6. Sit Back And Watch
Twitter has ironically taught me how to be more objective and gather more information and points of view before forming my own opinion. Because of the aggressive groupthink nature of twitter, I’ve fallen into the habit of being extremely reactionary with my opinions without getting the full story first. People love to spread false information and shame others for having a differing opinion no matter how harmless it is, which is why I subconsciously started to assimilate my opinions to fit those around me. Thankfully I grew tired of it after a while because it really is exhausting to let yourself get worked up over everything and be afraid to have your own opinion on something. I often watch everybody go back and forth in an argument before I form a solid opinion, and even then I don’t always voice it because not every thought needs to be publicized. I’m not getting paid to do that so sharing my thoughts on every little thing is not of the utmost importance to me. And even then I still end up changing my mind sometimes, and that’s cool. You should always allow yourself the luxury of changing your mind because it would be a shame to stay the same, word to Solange.
7. Everybody Likes Different Shit. You’ll Live.
People like what they like, and the same goes for you. We internalize a lot of mindsets and actions on twitter whether we realize it and want to admit it or not. Calling everybody a hater and throwing insults when they don’t like something or someone that you do is very weird ass behavior at the end of the day, imagine going through life like that. You can never force someone to like something or someone so stop wasting your time being mad about people’s differing opinions and trying to force them to change their mind to your liking. We literally force our viewpoints and opinions on other people and complain when people do the same thing to us. It’s weird as fuck.
Twitter is a small bubble where everything and everybody is perfect and everyone is above criticism, it’s weird once you step back and look at how batshit crazy everyone is. People act like unpaid attack dogs for public figures and I’m like why? I don’t even get mad when people rag on Beyonce or Rihanna anymore, the only 2 famous people I truly give a fuck about. They’re rich, talented, accomplished, and most of all unbothered. Why would I take on that burden when they don’t even care? They don’t even know these people exist. The whole thing of using your identity as a shield against criticism and a justification as to why people don’t like the person in question is also really odd and seems like projected self-hate sometimes. Someone gives a valid, objective critique and Twitter runs to the tl to say they hate them because they’re Black/a Black woman/queer/etc., even though they just gave a specific reasoning that had nothing to do with their identity. You’d do yourself a huge favor by not stressing yourself out and reading into shit that isn’t there for the sake of imaginary confirmation bias.
8. Find Your Tribe
Follow likeminded people and don’t be afraid to unfollow the ones you’re not clicking with anymore. Following people who post enjoyable, interesting content will make your experience on Twitter way more bearable and more than likely will lead to new connections and friendships with people who share the same interests and values that you do. It sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised of how many people follow contrarians because they feel the need to have a different point of view present and someone to debate with, it’s bizarre to me cause I don’t get on social media to argue and see people tweet the opposite of what I think. That’s stupid.
Don’t feel obligated to continue mutuals and superficial friendships with people that you don’t even speak with on a regular basis if you don’t like what they’re posting anymore. You’ll feel free once you remove them from your space and make room for more compatible people.
9. Come On With A Purpose
Even though I’m currently on a Twitter break (and will be posting this on Twitter though Squarespace 💋), I always ask myself a few questions before getting on. I try to figure out what is it that I’m looking for when I come on. Am I looking for entertainment? Inspiration? News? Did I have a random thought that came to mind or a funny joke that I wanted to tweet? Am I simply bored and want a little stimulation via engaging with other people? When I find out my purpose for opening Twitter, I do what I gotta do and go.
10. Twitter Is As Serious As You Want It To Be
You here for the jokes? Cool, post them memes and jokes. You want to network and make new friends? Engage more with others and take your presence on there seriously. Whatever your reason is for being on Twitter, remember that you can it can be used as an outlet, a tool, or a form of entertainment. How Twitter will benefit you in the long—or short—run is all up to you.