In 2016, I think I wrote an article about it for the rest of my life Inside higher ed Called “the academic benefits of Twitter.” I’m on the side of that part, even though I deactivated my Twitter account for good.
I primarily praised Twitter for its ability to help build a network of colleagues and to write and publish ideas that could be collected later for more formal scholarship. I have had success using Twitter as a teaching tool and as a way to communicate creatively with students about course content. A selection of my tweets even made an aphoristic element of my 2015 book, End of airport.
What has changed in the intervening years? Many, most of which have been well-received by others. As just one outstanding example, Tracy Macmillan has vividly reflected the rise of Black Twitter and its critical approach, as well as the freedom to go elsewhere.
Even before the news of Elon Musk’s offensive attempt to seize the platform, I was simply embarrassed by the website’s endless claims.
These claims are sometimes in your face and out loud, such as a bad answer or a spot on the people you follow — or worse, a subtweet that you can’t get out of your mind and think all night long.
But other times, Twitter user demands are more subtle and abstract. This is a news item or feature post that you only see for a second but it triggers something that annoys you all day long.
While Academic Twitter still provides moments of intimate connection, research sharing, and general college support, it has become a charged and toxic place. It’s easy to stumble upon or hate or e-mail a dispute for something you’ve tweeted, or to carefully monitor the results of something you’ve promoted on Twitter.
Controversies that used to spread for months or even years during a conference or even journal issues now occur within minutes of burning and smoky hours, sometimes burning up the whole evening. You don’t have to be a direct part of that conflict to feel burned.
So for educators who are reviewing the usefulness of their Twitter account, here are some downsides that are questions to think about and ask yourself.
- Anger. Is Twitter distracting you from your reading, your writing, your course preparation, or your involvement with students? If so, pay attention. Scattering can be more growing and effective faster than you even realize.
- Irritation. When you open Twitter on your phone or desktop, do you feel annoyed by what you see in a few seconds? Does this irritation bother you after you toggle away from the app or website? A major drain for other things you can do unnecessarily annoying — and get more satisfaction out of it.
- Intimidating Are you intimidated by what your coworkers or coworkers have posted? Are you often overwhelmed by the feeling of not getting enough for your discipline or field, or the feeling of not making enough progress in your own research program? Twitter specializes in creating a self-destructive sense of inadequacy. It always seems to be more exciting there, in the midst of a constant stream of those ever-expanding tweets.
- Anger. We were all on a conference panel that made us upset or directly angry. But there is nothing like chilling or going out in a hotel bar with friends, especially after a nauseating or exciting Q&A session. On Twitter, there is no debriefing forum for processing — and ছেড়ে vitriol that can be spread instantly, without restriction.
- Jealousy. It’s hard to admit. But it’s easy to see someone else’s accomplishments, book deals, awards or fellowship announcements and feel a little sad inside – and in fact, jealous. And it can happen when you are happy for them at the same time! There is a way to arouse jealousy on Twitter. It’s something baked in shape – like a piece of chocolate melted in flour. (Don’t get me wrong — I like cookies, but not every day and all the time.) And the jealousy that arises is for a harmful reason: one day, you can pass that kind of feeling on to others.
- Obligation. It can be elusive and fleeting, but it’s a vague idea that you should like someone’s tweet, or retweet something, or follow someone … or, more complexly, reply to a DM. Then everyone has an obligation to update when something happens: a publication, a podcast, a book review, an educational epiphany. All of these levels of compulsive interaction seem theoretically simple enough, but it adds to the overall burden that Twitter fraudulently, if silently, piles on its users.
- Noise. Silently speaking, Twitter is not. This is a very unpleasant place, and Dean’s website is out of bounds. Long after you leave Twitter, the sound is ringing in your ears and even brings you back. It’s our modern siren song.
There are also issues of depression, anxiety and fear that Twitter eats and feeds — but they are other cans of worms.
Maybe I’m just showing off my own thin skin — a face that acknowledges my cowardice and weakness, in a real sense, a mere digital awakening. Maybe I’m making excuses for my own inability to keep up with the daily (much less frequent) smart, meaningful, necessary tweet attacks. Maybe I’m just expressing how difficult it is for me to set boundaries between my personal and professional life.
Still, I think there is something real in the fabric of Twitter that is worth resisting now.
I know that Twitter সামাজিক along with social media সহ has been instrumental in bringing about more broadly-important political movements, and it has empowered people who need a voice or to spread a cause. But I also think it’s fair to say that we’ve crossed a line and the positive aspects of Twitter may have become obsolete, replaced by increasingly ongoing rhetorical warfare and now endless gestures. It is sometimes a thrilling but mostly just tiring place. The arrogant acquisition of Mask has just pushed Twitter to the brink of extinction for me.
Academic work takes time. It takes time to teach. Creative projects take time. These do not need to be recorded all the time or co-opted by an exclusive website. Twitter also takes a lot of time. Twitter literally It takes Our time.
I realized that I could value my scholarly, educational, and creative time differently if I didn’t just have to think about how to play it on Twitter and then participate in all those hyperformative actions. So I’ve been off Twitter for a week now, and, so far, it’s been a great relief. I saw things differently from the other side. But that’s another composition, for another time.