So long Twitter, and thanks for all the fish
The single most disappointing aspect of my experience using Twitter was wanting to discuss ideas with folks and realizing nothing short of a kick-ass dog pic or a shot of their unboxed book would yield acknowledgement.
But perhaps I’ll begin at the beginning. I believe it was Carrot that first talked me into creating an account with Twitter way back in 2009. I tweeted whatever funniness she had to say (kinda like this but not at all in that this is from today and that was twelve years ago … had I the access, you’d be looking at that one ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ).
And that was the tweet … for years.
What actually brought me to Twitter was an app called Brain Wars that I had gotten into on my iPad. The app made it very easy to tweet all your stats and I was interested in tracking such things (hang in there y’all, it picks up after the Brain Wars stuff).
I noticed there seemed to be a respectably sized community of other players on Twitter, all of whom were coming out of the woodwork as I began to regularly tweet my stats and scores.
See it also turns out that nobody else in the world had put up that 1977 in Color of Deception (I think Farrel is gonna hit 1977 one day, but this mean time is untouchable, just sayin’). All of a sudden I had a crew … I started calling them my Brain Wars gang. I was interacting with folks from all over the world. It felt good.
And that was my Twitter experience, for some years. Until I got sucked into MSNBC during Trump’s first impeachment trial. I had sh$t to say, so I tried out saying it on Twitter.
A quick example. When I saw Senator Duckworth in her wheelchair for the very first time, I snapped a picture and waxed poetic about the seemingly inverted masculine lens. Historically men (FDR comes to mind) have always been fearful of being seen as weak on account of their being confined to a wheelchair. Senator Duckworth appeared more powerful to me in that chair then I had ever seen her.
Of course nobody comes to Twitter to read what someone has to say. They come for the memes. To be fair, some are pretty great.
So I tried out memes. They started as low-key stuff like the following visual I used to express the difference in magnitude between the number of COVID cases here in the United States versus abroad.
As I grew more militant, my memes began to be a bit more biting.
I continued finding critter gold while digging through my photo album (which, of course, I memeified).
The more politically engaged I became, however, the more it seemed I had something to say … and the more I wanted to be heard. My realization with regard to just how difficult a task that would be was born of an episode of Deadline White House.
You see I saw this conversation between John Heilemann and Nicolle Wallace wherein John used the phrase information ecosystems and an obsession was born.
No … not with Heilemann … with what his words had sparked. I couldn’t count for you the number of times I worked the following into a thread in some form or fashion.
Dueling reality information ecosystems, worldview rigidity, and the power of propaganda may be considered the root problem from which we have birthed every crisis we now face. Solving it is prerequisite for progress … perhaps even prerequisite for halting our devolution.
I tried every way I could think of to get John’s attention. I even resorted to gimmicks after noticing a watermelon sitting atop his kitchen island one day. The watermelon is noticeably absent in these images; but, perhaps, you’ll get a glimpse of how the idea would manifest.
I wanted one of his dogs
to destroy that watermelon.
I spent a few days walloping John’s tweets with my watermelon campaign, in what I remember being a rather amusing narrative. You’ll be shocked to learn that it did not work. Alrighty then, let's move on.
There were a handful of folks I would come across while tuned to MSNBC with which I felt particularly connected. At times it felt as though they’d received the Cliffs Notes version of my inner dialogue.
Dr. Jason Johnson was one such folk.
For weeks I found myself snarling at my television set. Why was nobody talking about the election theft in progress? Thankfully, there came a day when Dr. Johnson began calling out the sabotage of the United States Postal Service, the voter suppression tactics, and the militia grooming for what it all added up to. Henceforth, every time he would appear, I got to feel as if at least one person coming into my living room was seeing what I saw.
So where did it go wrong with Jason? Y’all remember that week last year some bullsh$t poll came out effectively claiming “white folks change mind on Black Lives Matter?”
I was all, “this is horsesh$t.” Perhaps by now you’ll have guessed I threadified my argument as to why this was, in fact, horsesh$t. I did. Let me briefly explain why I no longer have access to this content.
Strike one against moondeer (my Twitter account from 2009) came when I pulled out some 80’s movies humor, the screenshot for which I happen to have on account of my surprise at being retweeted by such an awesome bot.
If you have actively used Twitter, it wouldn’t surprise you to learn that someone reported me and I was sent to Twitmo for twenty-four hours. This is the one strike I can actually square with their rules. I could do an entire essay on Jack’s asymmetric application of his rules and the rampant abuse of the violation reporting infrastructure (perhaps I will, Jack has a fairly broken platform at the moment. I haven’t even mentioned the followers count censorship issue).
I have no screen capture of what amounted to strike two. This is how it went down. I came across a tweet linking to the story of Trump walking out of his 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl.
I replied to it like so, “What a pansy.” Thus began a seven day stint in Twitmo.
Okay, whatever. It is the third strike that mystifies. Jack’s response leaves me with two possibilities: nobody reads these appeals … or the folks reading these appeals are dumb as
I replied to a tweet with a warning of the kinds of things that can land one in Twitmo, drawing from personal experience.
One abusive report later:
Jack’s own rules seemed to allow for what I was expressing in this third reported tweet.
So I appealed that sh$t,
like every other week as it was taking for f$&king ever to receive a ruling.
In the mean time I had created a couple of other accounts to try spreading out the brunt of the rampant reporting abuse. Then Jack brought the hammer down.
After a week spent creating this blog, I hijacked Jenn’s untouched Twitter account to get around the suspension (like a ridiculously high number of bubble one denizens were having to do around this time on account of all the abusive reporting).
Anyway, back to the Dr. Johnson beef.
So Jason (and, it seemed, everyone else) got caught up in the implications of this horsesh$t poll and leapt feet first down the rabbit hole.
Some context. Watching them beat on Christopher David in Portland lit a fire under my a$$ that led me to compose my first legitimate, thoughtful, and powerful thread. The argument I made can be boiled down to the fact that progress is generational, as well as, exponential in nature (should I give this argument a proper workup it’ll end up here).
Be great if we could all see that one Jack 凸(｀⌒´メ)凸. Think Obama’s eulogizing John Lewis
…and whites who can no longer accept freedom for themselves while witnessing the subjugation of their fellow Americans.
combined with Generation X teaching our children.
I remember there was even a cool exchange when some Baby Boomer caught me off guard by getting super pissed about my claim that Generation X is a generation that has rejected racism and whose tolerance for bigotry has grown razor thin (actually, more of a correction than an exchange).
I was all, “relax bud, Generation X not being racist doesn’t imply every member of any older generation is. All it means is that with each new generation some handful of enlightened souls are teaching our children.
Naturally they teach (and reach) more than one child. Such children then grow up. Some then become teachers … and, naturally, teach (and reach) more than one child.
From 1992-1996 I was gifted a marvelous teacher for my advanced learning class.
He liked to tell the story of how his mother would take him to Ku Klux Klan rallies when he was a boy for them to point and laugh at the clowns. Clearly this woman does not appear to have been racist. I learned a lot from him. We all did.
Anyway, I wanted to participate in the conversation being had on the topic. Of course, I get nowhere, Jason continues maligning the wavering support of white folks, I can’t keep watching Jason tweet out the wrong read (especially awkward as a suburban white boy desperately wishing for a push towards a true multicultural democracy, and unable to connect), and that was that.
Okay, who caught that? Anyone guess who’s up next? Correct! Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., come on down.
Not much to say here. Every time I caught him on MSNBC he was brilliant. I wished to learn more from him and compare ideas. I couldn’t. He did, however, appreciate the unboxing.
At some point I figured I may as well take a run at Rachel Maddow. You see, Rachel got me through the George Dubya era … her, Randi Rhodes, and some Twitter newb named Jon Stewart.
I didn’t catch up with Rachel post-Dubya until Trump was elected (Jenn’s idea). We watched her show every evening while eating dinner.
More context. My brother’s name was Chris.
My mother tells me that he and his partner Richard were the first official civil union to be recognized in San Francisco. I have a clipping buried somewhere amongst the detritus that lives within the cluttered space I try passing of as an office that is meant to verify this claim.
This needs no verification (why do I have tears now?). My brother and Richard appear upon multiple patches. Here are some of my favorites.
It hurt to learn that there would be no communicating via Twitter with Rachel.
Okay, let’s do one more, Tiffany Cross. I met this brilliant woman over some weekend morning CrossTalk. Some of y’all (when we get to the point I can use words like some to characterize readership) know what I am talking about.
Each weekend some propagandist a$$hat would make their way onto the AM Joy show and I would run the other way … unless they had the misfortune of making their way there to speak to a guest hosting Tiffany Cross.
Once I saw her destroy Trump’s diversity outreach director, I was all the way in … so I followed her, naturally.
I was drawn to her book. I expressed my intent to read it after finishing Begin Again (a promise I have yet to break, #ADHD). She appreciated that. I appreciated her pooch pics. She appreciated my #BareBacks4Biden humor when I tried to groom the ungroomable dog.
We was cool, until I discovered she was a fellow Georgian. I wanted to know more. She didn’t want me to.
F$&k me you guys, when I found out she was from the same county as me (and I f$&king swear she is around my age) I looked up all the high school mascots I couldn’t remember just to try and be cute about asking whether she was a Yellow Jacket, a Trojan, a Greyhound, etc.
I even included a picture of me reading f$&king Nietzsche as a High School sophomore for shits and giggles. She didn’t find it cute.
Some of y’all may question how I could possibly remember what book I was reading in 1994. Well if you notice the crease in that image, it got there from being folded up and inserted into that book. Something I recalled immediately when I recently went through my book collection … and that image fell out of this book.
And that’s all folks. Perhaps another day I will layout for y’all the Twitter experience that has led to my revising the misnomer classifying Twitter as a social media platform to the more apt moniker of business casual media.
* I suppose I oughta explain the relevancy of being fed fish by Twitter. The connection exists; however, there is a whole heap of sh$t I oughta do … that I just f$&kin’ don’t.