Friday, 27 November 2020

Turning off the firehose

 Over the past month or so I've drastically reduced my time on Twitter. Traditionally I'd spend 2-3 hours a day scrolling through that endless feed, getting annoyed, sharing cool things and blathering about my own crap. That's a long time to spend on something that really wasn't doing me any psychological favours. Now I spend that total time per week, if that. I flick through a few tweets to look for anything interesting being shared, send some supportive messages (since we all must contend with this awful year) and get out. As someone who suffers from anxiety, this has helped.

Twitter is such a double edged sword. On the one hand, as a game designer I want to use it to make connections and understand what's going on in the industry. On the other, the outrage-reward economy brings out the very worst in normal people. Minor discretions get blown out of proportion and the pile-ons begin. The circular discourse never ends, with the same points trotted out and the same arguments flaming up every couple of months. It's not healthy.

There's very much a 'if you're not with me then you're against me' mentality there. Often the best thing to do is just stay completely quiet - talk about the things you like and inject some positivity into a trashfire social. You're not at the behest of anyone to behave how they want you to behave. 

And me? I'm guilty of all of the above. I've called out random people I've never met out of some misplaced sense of righteousness that really gives you that dopamine hit. It's not right. We tend to become experts in philosophy and morality, or whatever the topic of conversation is that hour. Then we'll defend our position pretty much to the death. It's exhausting, both to do and to watch, which is why I'm using Twitter less and less these days.