His most dispiriting observations are those about what social media does to politics – biased, “not towards the left or right, but downwards”. If triggering emotions is the highest prize, and negative emotions are easier to trigger, how could social media not make you sad? If your consumption of content is tailored by near limitless observations harvested about people like you, how could your universe not collapse into the partial depiction of reality that people like you also enjoy? How could empathy and respect for difference thrive in this environment? Where’s the incentive to stamp out fake accounts, fake news, paid troll armies, dyspeptic bots?
I’ve just started reading this (very short) book and it’s already making me weigh up the reasons for keeping my Twitter account. The major benefit I get is that, every so often, my feed will surface a person I’m not familiar with, who writes (or shares information) about a topic I’m interested in. However, I’m also aware that there are other places I could go to more intentionally find out who those people are, and follow them in a different way. For example, most of the time they’re writing on their own blogs, or on Medium. But that’s not where they share the links to the pieces that they care about. I worry that, by deleting my Twitter account, I would lose the serendipitous connections that it facilitates. Maybe a good place to start is by turning off the notifications for @mentions.
Note: I deleted my Facebook account about 2 years ago, I don’t spend much time on Google+, I don’t use LinkedIn or ResearchGate as social media, and I never got into Instagram or Snapchat, so Twitter is the one account I’m still active on.