In a Small, Wild Corner of the Universe
Look, we know Twitter can be a rough, toxic space on the internet. Even people who have never been on Twitter have heard about celebrities quitting because they got deluged by acidic spite, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, or just the relentless hounding of trolls who practice cruelty simply because they can do it without accountability or consequence. I’ve seen it happen in real time and it’s ugly, frustrating, infuriating. I’ve considered leaving the site a bunch of times. I’ve wondered if the site deserved to stay around, if it was a healthy way to interact with the online world.
And then Elon Musk bought the site and in an exceptionally, impressively short span of time managed to exceptionally, impressively mismanage it to the point where Twitter’s continued existence really is in question. It’s satisfying to see the curtain pulled away and have Musk revealed to be the humbug, not the wizard, we’ve always know he was. But it’s also hit me just how important Twitter has become to me and loads of other people. I’ve been reflecting more on the good aspects, the things I’ve enjoyed and appreciated since I first started tweeting 15 years ago. (15 YEARS AGO?!? WOAH!)
I’ve made so many friends all around the world on Twitter. (One of them, Ali Trotta, has a newsletter you should subscribe to. Today she published a piece about her own love of Twitter.) I wouldn’t know some of my best friends, including my platonic life companion, if it weren’t for Twitter. I’ve discovered authors, musicians, actors, comedians, game designers, crafters–often through word-of-tweet from other creators. I’ve also been exposed to political and social views I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I mean, yes, I’ve seen tweets from far right politicians and their rabid fans (*roll eyes* *gag*), but more importantly, I’ve read things by Black, Latine, Asian, Native, Muslim, queer, feminist, neurodivergent thinkers that educated me about the world and myself more than I’ve read any other place and time. I can honestly say Twitter has given me a broader worldview, gotten me to check my privilege more, and helped me unearth more about myself. It’s been the first place I go for the latest local, national, and global news. Yes, that has led to some obsessive doomscrolling, but it’s also kept me better informed in healthy ways.
I was so skeptical when Twitter started. It seemed silly and trivial–and it has been, and much worse. But it’s also been fun, educational, uplifting, liberating, even revolutionary. It’s gutting to watch it be botched like the war in Duck Soup by a spoiled, mediocre white guy who believes his own myth of being a hardworking genius with a Midas touch. It turns out that, for me at least, the real Twitter was the friends we made along the way. I hope Twitter is saved somehow and sticks around because it turns out I really don’t want it to go away.