Essays on Technology and Culture

Read First, and Hit the Send Key Later

People can say a thing on Twitter thinking they are being clever or funny, seeking attention and recognition for their clever funniness. But sometimes when seen from another perspective, the thing they have said makes them come across in a less than positive way—and on Twitter the leap from doing something mildly objectionable to being considered by many to be a colossal scumbag is very short. This in itself can create problems, as the rejection of one faction can shove people towards others. A person might feel like a bridge has been burned before they even got to cross it, so maybe they’ll just saunter off to hang out with some actual colossal scumbags. The process of groups aggressively rebuffing people who do not immediately measure up to their standards can be damaging in the longer term.

Growing Up Without Twitter Saved Me From Embarrassment | The New Republic

Anger, outrage, and hatred all existed long before Twitter. Nobody disputes this. The problem is that Twitter, and most other social media, right down to website comments, are designed to promote quick bursts of emotionally charged responses. That’s what “wins.” Twitter doesn’t reward thoughtfulness, consideration, or even moderation.

Phil Hartup includes some thoughtful choices for direct action one can take to make the healthy debates that Twitter can create more likely to occur. We should all take them up.