David Frum

01.30.13

This is Why Twitter Can Be Terrible

Matt Lewis laments the exploding pettiness of Twitter. I'm happy to be cited as one of the good moments of his experience on the social network, but I must concur that this wonderful space often feels overwhelmingly crowded with hostility and vile trolls. (David has further thoughts on this piece below.)

At some point, it became clear to me that Twitter was becoming more of a hindrance than a help. For business reasons, I can't escape the prison (or, if you prefer, high school) that is Twitter, so I've had to become creative. I've created Twitter lists, where I can see only tweets from select people who inspire and inform. I also have a locked Twitter feed that is solely for my friends.

The biggest change is that I'm no longer really a part of the Twitter "community," meaning that I rarely interact with people on Twitter who wish to engage me. There are drawbacks to this, surely, but the upside is that I preserve my sanity. My guess is this will also be a new trend. I might be ahead of the curve again, but I don't think I'm alone. My guess is that as Twitter becomes meaner and coarser, more and more people will begin checking out. Some may, for business reasons, remain on Twitter, but they will join me in changing how they use it.

And that's a shame. The vision of Twitter — and remember, I was an evangelist for it — was the notion that we could share information and ideas in a civil manner.