When I first tried Twitter a decade ago, I thought it was really cool.
It was like going to a bar and meeting a bunch of people with similar interests to your own. You’d start the evening strangers and by night’s end you were friends, as you pulled for the same teams, argued points of trivia and memories of days gone by, and found yourself feeling part of a community.
It was nice.
But while Twitter was at first that person at the bar who had one or two drinks and acted funny, interesting and totally unfiltered, Twitter has now graduated into being that same guy who has had a few more beverages and turned into a mean drunk. The days of scrolling through a timeline in the morning and walking away feeling like you learned something have now given way to the feeling of wanting to tell everyone to kiss your backside.
Which I no longer wish to deal with.
I’ve always tried to take the high road and avoid Twitter battles at all cost. I try to think responses through several times before posting and if I find I’m not saying something positive or at least fair, I delete it. I avoid politics and try to respect everyone whose path I cross.
But as I scroll through my timeline several times a day lately, I’m finding it harder and harder to feel entertained. Or informed. Or just about any other emotion than “that’s a crock.” The reasonable people on a national level seem to be disappearing from my timeline. The reasonable people on a more local level have stopped commenting. And the topics you can get into a reasonable debate with anyone these days has gotten smaller and smaller.
Twitter has become one giant straw man argument that reminds me of the line from an old movie called War Games, where a super computer called the WOPR notes “the only winning move is not to play.” It doesn’t mean there aren’t nice people on the medium as probably one of the greatest moments of my life was set up by something on Twitter.
This was a decade ago, when I noticed a single mom who was a huge Nats fan was posting about how much her two small children loved the team and baseball. I happened to have a box of old Nats bobbleheads, umbrellas, hats etc. in the basement I had gotten from a gig I had with a local radio station and asked if she’d like some. She said yes, and we agreed to meet at a Starbucks here in Ashburn.