…To the Twitter End

Nobody ever commented on it but I had the same YouTube video linked in my Twitter description for about a decade.

You can look at it on the WayBack Machine, it had been there that long. It was like my junior year of high school and somebody posted that clip of Nic Cage putting on plastic fangs from Vampire’s Kiss in a Skype group I was a part of. After like a year I thought it’d be funny to keep it there. Now it’s on the site forever, now that the account is gone. 

I think I’ve overall had a negative opinion of Twitter since like 2014 at least. I can remember looking at something on Twitter on my phone while working at my summer job that year in a dying outlet mall and thinking “I need to stop doing this.” Which was accurate at the time, and it’s an indictment on me that, recognizing how that feeling never really went away, it took me nearly eight years to actually delete the thing entirely. I haven’t really looked at my actual timeline on twitter in months and even then it was only very sporadically. I haven’t had it installed as an app on any phone I’ve owned since at least early 2020. I’ve been using it in this weird half-on setup, only auto-posting from my Substack since like late July 2021. 

What has changed now is that I work at a school now and I don’t want students to find me on Twitter and ridicule me by finding my old tweets. I could just lock it from public view, but I don’t read the timeline anyway and I’m so antipathetic towards Twitter now anyway in a broad societal sense that I’d really just rather not have any presence there anymore if I’m not going to publicly have it posting things.

Not having a Twitter will not affect my day to day life at all. But there is still some melancholy to deleting it. It is one of the few internet accounts that I’ve had since adolescence, one of the only accounts that I created as a minor, a high-schooler. I get nostalgic looking back at what I tweeted back as a kid in my mid-teenage years.

Screen Shot 2022-03-25 at 7.40.55 PM

It’s 100% asinine bullshit nobody needs to read. And nobody did! At least, not judging by the lack of favorites or retweets on those. But I didn’t care, I was having fun, and it was just a stupid website for jokes and asinine bullshit back then anyway. I didn’t think anything more of it than I did my posts on the Sega-16 forums at that time. I don’t know when it changed, but the site started to take on a sort of self-appointed gravitas at some point. You log on to Twitter now and it’s constant bickering and fighting about everything, constantly, endlessly, with no end goal or point. They put shit you have no idea about on to your front page every time you log on, and it’s supposed to feel like the most important thing for you to know about, and it’s supposed to get you upset or disturbed in some way because that’ll keep you reading the site and looking over the advertisements and maybe that leads you to get something from the advertisements. It still goes barely anywhere and affects barely anything but the site is very good at convincing you that this world-defining gravitas is warranted.

I just have a distaste for all of it, and I have for a while. The constant pithiness, the “dunks”, the “ratios”, the “main character” bullshit, the way that almost everyone talks with either this intense, Miscavidgian self-righteous furor or a performed detached Clive Shropshire-style unaffectedness. Constant repetition of the same phrasing structure, (imagine thinking that…/new whatever just dropped/*checks notes*/whatever challenge) inane self-referential low-effort memes, the caustic quote-tweet riffing, if I think about it too long I want to beat my brains in with my bare hands. And I was so knee-deep in it for so long, too!

That’s not to say there was nothing good there, or is nothing good there at the moment. A lot of people have perfectly healthy relationships with it and can get over all the stuff that I don’t like, I just don’t and can’t. That’s how it goes, it’s the same thing with all of the other social media sites I got off of (Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, etc), I just almost never find it valuable to deal with the negative things in order to get to the positive things, I don’t like modern social media because of that. I also think I have a particularly poor personality for it, I remember in 2020 finding myself like hundreds of replies deep in threads feeling the need for some reason to read every opinion in every debate, hoping my side’s tweeter had the better, pithier remark than their side’s tweeter. I don’t think most people are like this, but I know I am, and I’m glad I don’t subject myself to that anymore.

There were points in the past few years wherein I would be looking at Twitter, reading whatever was there, getting as upset as the site was designed to get me, and I would remember that I only first made a Twitter account to follow Tony Hawk’s thoughts about the 2010 X Games. One of the first tweets I ever made was like “Did Bob Burnquist really just try a 900???” after Bob Burnquist tried to land a 900. There’s video of it here: 

That was cool! I couldn’t believe it, he really went for the 900! And I’d ask the question, how did we get from that point to this point? How did this fun diversion where I could make my little comments about skateboarding on the TV get to me completely rapt in attention scrolling through discursive knife-fight threads laying on my bathroom floor at 1:30 AM? 

I don’t know. Part of that is growing up, that I’m 26 now and I was 15 then and I’m more aware of the world now. That’s the internet, though Good stuff either gets shut down like Vine, or falls into disuse like all the old webforums we used to visit, or succeeds for long enough to see everything good about it corrupted and bastardized like… well, everything else that’s around now. But I can’t deny that there was good, and I must celebrate it here. These are my favorite tweets:

My favorite Tweet of my own was, of course, “Randy Got a Boot on the Wall” from October 22nd, 2017.

Screen Shot 2022-03-25 at 9.02.56 PM

This tweet was inspired by when I was at my friend Randall’s apartment and he had a boot on the wall. What follows now are my favorite tweets by other people:

10. @deanjnorris and @lurie_john 3/8/2013

Screen Shot 2022-03-25 at 11.25.20 PM

I love this conversation, first that Dean Norris would come to John Lurie under false pretenses to try to hit on the cousin from Stranger Than Paradise, also love that John Lurie, in response, lies to him, because Balint would’ve been like in her late forties in 2013. She won’t be 65 for like another ten years. That’s public information on Wikipedia that Dean could’ve looked up. Just wonderful. Two actors from completely different spheres coming together. This is one of the ideals of what Twitter was meant to be, I think. Dean is one of the men who uses Twitter well, infamously using it once when he himself was “choking the alligator”

9. @frankiemuniz 6/20/2018

This is ultimately the best way to use Twitter, with this mindset. You’re the sheeps baaahing about things and I’m the wolf who lives in the wolf den, me and Frankie both are the wolves. We each have our own dens though. I don’t live in the den with Frankie

8. @TheBigHurt_35 8/25/2020

Great Stuff, Frank. #ReallyLoveThisGoSox. Retired athletes are among the only people using Twitter correctly.

7. @hateshaliek 4/24/2020

Cors Asking $5

6. @realDonaldTrump 10/16/2012

Trump Coke Tweet

Look. I didn’t vote for him and I don’t like him as a guy, and I thought his policies were abhorrent, and I’m glad he’s not the president anymore. But this is a very funny thing for a person to say. Especially a very wealthy person. You just don’t get this from Biden. You really don’t get this from anywhere else.

5. @JackBensinger 8/5/2019

A lot of people do these fake NowThis videos now but Jack is and has always been the best at them

4. @JimmyG_10 1/23/2013

Those don’t look good, Jimmy. Those look like they wouldn’t be that good to eat at all.

3. @harriweinreb 6/20/2020

Harrison has, by volume, my favorite account on Twitter. His account is worth bookmarking and reading even without a dedicated Twitter feed

2. @KDTrey5 8/19/2009

I love this because Garroppolo’s tweet was from when he was like a high school kid, The Big Hurt’s was from when he was long finished with his playing career. Kevin Durant was an active NBA player when he tweeted this. He made the All-Star team in the season that followed this. He was making millions of dollars and had this MUGEN fight set up in his head. That’s cool. I think about this sort of thing as well and I’m older than he was when he tweeted this, to be fair.

  1. TIE – @brendohare 6/30/17

AND 9/9/2019

I will never be able to choose between these two. These are my personal pinnacle of Tweets. I think I prefer the second one because I love the idea of a person who thinks that wealth would mean that you could have thanksgiving dinner every day. Brendan is great at playing these sorts of characters, you can hear them on his show This is Branchburg.

See, so it wasn’t all bad. There was a lot of good! Grass grows through the cracks in the pavement. But those are outliers. Overall I will accept living without these, or only coming into contact with these secondhand. That is fine. I will take missing the good if I can also miss all of the bad, and there is so very much bad on that site, and it’s built to produce as much of it as it can and to show as much of it to you as it can. I am not worse off because I don’t look at Twitter now and I will not be worse off not having an account there anymore. I do not feel any less informed, what is there is generally not valuable information and that which is valuable information is not ultimately exclusive to there. People 20 years ago considered themselves well informed enough from reading a newspaper.

I do not feel like I’m missing out on all that much culturally, the most valuable thing I’ve missed out on is like previews and new releases in music and games, but there are methods I’ve found to still find those  as well. This is not a necessity, something like four out of any five people you meet don’t use Twitter in any capacity, and only like ten percent of those people tweet more than a couple of times per day anyway.  So we’re talking about two to three percent of people are active, more than sparing Twitter users? That’s still a lot of people, but that stat put into perspective for me what I was actually dealing with regarding Twitter. What goes on there is of no or at least little-to-no importance. For some reason, I didn’t want to believe that for a long time (having been on somewhere for so long, having a small but real following on that site, and the constant affirmations of the favorites and retweets probably is what did it), so I stayed on there. 

I know this is just “I’m deleting my account on a website” and it probably wasn’t worth spilling this much ink over. I deleted my old TikTok a couple of days ago and didn’t say anything about that. But there is something specific about Twitter, it was like the definitive social media I used, the one I put the most energy into for years, and now I’m not there. It is a bit melancholic, because as shown earlier, there are good memories wrapped up there, but those are in the past and I felt like it might be good to say something before burying them there.

Goodbye tw-all that!

If you still want updates on my work, you can get them all sent right to your e-mail by signing up for my Substack page – joebush.substack.com

About Joe Bush

The guy behind JoeBush.net and a lot of other things
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