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Yoyo Code
Matyáš Racek's blog

You should delete Twitter

This is not merely a suggestion. I believe Twitter is harmful, and you should not use it.

Note that this has nothing to do with Elon Musk takeover. I wanted to write about this long before that happened.

I had to delete my account. It was a toxic place, but not only that, it also made me contribute to that toxicity. It was making me a worse person.

I created the account because I wanted to follow people from software world and see what they are up to.

But shortly after I created the account, my feed was just flooded with so much toxicity that I could feel myself being emotionally affected by it. So many tweets were public attacks, often personal - a screenshot of a tweet, accompanied by a message saying the person is bigot. A rude comment about something some politician has said. Call for boycott of some product because the company is doing something evil. A reply to somebody switching jobs, saying derogatory things about them for joining another company. Two people being mean to each other in a long thread until one of them gets blocked and the other one complains about it (with a screenshot).

What's worse though, I found myself actually assimilating and doing these things too. One of my first tweets was complaining to @microsoft about how something in Windows was broken. This public venting is pretty common pattern on Twitter.

After I got blocked by somebody who I respect, for making snarky comment on their pretty negative "screenshot shaming" post, and then argued with somebody else in the replies about it, I stepped back and asked myself:

What the hell am I even doing here?

This is completely pointless, I'm just doing negative things in response to other people doing negative things. This doesn't help anybody, it makes no positive contribution in the real world and makes me (and likely everybody else) feel miserable. It's stupid.

I can't emphasize this enough. If you step outside the Twitter bubble, everything inside that bubble seems just completely crazy. It feels like you're looking at an asylum where people just shout at each other, everybody is always upset about random stuff and people get into completely pointless arguments.

What I find the most tragic is seeing people who I respect a lot, still participating and doing all these things. And those are often people who have interesting and nuanced conversations on various podcasts, written books on deep topics or created some meaningful work of art or technology.

I deleted my account, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

I'd highly recommend everybody to listen to the part of the interview where Sam Harris describes his experience. It matches my experience very well, and also highlights how Twitter seems to be uniquely tuned to breed this kind of negative behaviour, and how it leaks out and negatively influences other things.