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February 25, 2016

My Easy Embargo of Twitter

I've gone off Twitter. Or, I should say, I've stopped being a Twitter user, and user is the right word.

I didn't particularly wish to write this, because it's a bit silly, but I'll explain, because this seems to be of interest to my Twitter followers, and my Twitter critics, especially.

I'm going to write two posts: one, what my embargo consists of, and two, why I'm doing it.

This will just be the one explaining what I'm doing, rather than why.

I have never given this a name, but I'll call this the "easy embargo." For any health regimen to be effective (and cutting a useless, angry, stupid form of social media out of your life is a health regimen in itself), it has to be easy and livable.

There's no point planning a diet where you cut your food intake to 1000 calories a day, then you plan, based on that, losing four pounds a week.

I'll tell you how many pounds you'll lose on that diet: Four pounds, total, if you're lucky. Because your will last about 3-4 days on it. You'd be a tower of iron will if you lasted the whole week.

You won't last past that.

For some time, I've been doing an easy embargo of Disney/ABC/Marvel. What do I mean by "easy embargo" with respect to that?

Well, I'm embargoing them the easy way. But I'm not making promises I won't keep.

Look, I'm trying to hurt Disney and ABC (and Marvel, but just because it's owned by ABC). But I'm not trying to hurt myself.

I'm not going to hurt myself to hurt Disney/ABC. So if there's something I really, really, really want to see from this company, I'll see it. You can probably guess at what some of those things might be.

But if I'm eh on it, I won't.

And I absolutely won't promote it.

I haven't seen Star Wars VII. I'm eh on it. I imagine I will see it eventually, when I can pay Disney/ABC the least amount of money to see it legally, when it's on PPV or Netflix.

Assuming I do see it, I won't write a review of it. Unless I don't like it. In which case, I'll write a negative review.

I wouldn't lie about a movie. But I'm not obligated to write a review of a film, either. So if I like Star Wars VII, which I kind of assume I won't, I just won't say anything about it either way.

I don't promote these things. I stopped linking Star Wars and Marvel teaser trailers and the like.

This isn't a hard embargo. It's not hard in both senses of the world -- it's not hard as far as being absolute, and it's not hard as in requiring all that much effort from me.

It's easy on myself. If there's a Disney/ABC project I really want to see, I will see it.

But more and more people rely on free social media buzz to sell products. I won't give them that.

Similarly, I'm doing an easy embargo of Twitter. I have 47,000 followers. That's a pretty good number of followers. I see no reason why I should spite myself while I spite Twitter.

So I will promote my site on Twitter. I will use it, but I won't let it use me. I will use it as a soulless corporate branding device and promotional platform. If I write something I like, or if i wish to use my decent reach to promote, I'll do so.

What I won't do is provide them free content. Any platform requires content, after all. This site would be a much poorer experience were it not for the thousands of people commenting here, adding their own takes and opinions and diversions and links to stories.

It would just be one post from me or a coblogger every hour, and a lot of dead air.

That is what I intend to give twitter: A post I think deserves promotion, and then dead air.

What Twitter needs to be healthy, as any social media platform needs to be healthy, is a buzzy, vibrant atmosphere with lots of give and take. People agreeing with each other, people disagreeing with each other. And occasionally, the spectacle of a big fat fight and feud.

I'm not going to give them that any longer, partly because they're SJW censors and bad people, and only want my speech only to the extent it advances their purposes.

But partly because I've just decided it's an absolutely dreadful habit with no merit whatsoever, one which hurts the users life in every way possible, like smoking.

And just like smoking, there's a timesuck component. Smokers have to take breaks from work (or even from pleasure activities) to get their fix. So too do Twitter addicts (of which I was one).

So I've broken the habit. Partly out of protest, partly out of a simple realization that Twitter Isn't Cool, I've stopped using Twitter for the purposes it intends for me -- to provide them with links, observations, banter, the occasional spectacle of a Twitter fight -- you know, to help them populate their pointless corporate product with content --- and to use it exclusively for my own purposes: just to promote the blog.

Otherwise it's just going to be dead air.

And if a critic wants to respond to a link and headline to the site, well, he won't get the satisfaction of my reading him, because I won't. Or, if I inadvertently read it, I won't respond.

If he wants the satisfaction of insulting me and having that insult heard -- well, he'll just have to come here, to my platform.

I'm done with interacting on Twitter. There's no pleasure in having a conversation with a Censor breathing wetly on the back of your neck.

I'll write another post about The Easy Way to Quit Twitter, and seriously, it is easy as pie -- once you get out of the habit of checking Twitter, full of the guilt of the narcissist, to see if anyone responded to what you said or retweeted it (and let's face it, that's the only point of Twitter), it just goes away in seventy-two hours. You just don't care anymore.

But I'll write that later. For now, I'm getting back to things more important than Twitter: My blog, which is my actual job, and other things more interesting than checking my "Mentions" feed to get a minor jolt of sad validation from seeing that a tweet I wrote got 58 whole retweets and thereby "shaped the narrative" in some pitifully trivial way.

PS: As Twitter continues to lose users, as I expect they will, I imagine they will in fact be bossy and vindictive enough to start saying "Inactive users' accounts will be deactivated and reassigned to others," etc.

So part of the reason I will provide one or two posts a day is just to keep them from taking away my brand-name account and then, like a cybersquatter, threatening to assign it to someone else, including an enemy.

Does that seem far-fetched? Well, I also didn't expect Twitter to ban Anna Sarkeesian critic Stace McCain within days of Anna Sarkeesian joining the Ministry of Emotional Safety and Mental Hygiene.

I thought they'd be a bit more subtle about things than that.

But they weren't.

See? I'm not inactive. I'm giving you a tweet or two a day. What more can you ask?

PPS: As this post is of very limited interest to anyone not involved with Twitter, I'm starting on another one ASAP.


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posted by Ace at 04:42 PM

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