There are many reasons I don’t tweet. Being thin-skinned isn’t one of them.
Yes, it hurts when someone says something critical about me, but I try to learn from that rather than go off half-cocked in a fit of pique because someone brought up something I said, or more likely tweeted (because you know, I may have said it, but I surely didn’t mean it, and do I really have to say who I’m talking about?), and pointed out glaring hypocrisy.
I know that since I’ve put myself out in the public eye a little, I’ll be criticized as much as I am applauded. However, it serves no one (except detractors) to get into a public shouting match over something that’s ultimately inconsequential (but my feelings were hurt!!!). I accept that. Someone who’s about to become responsible for leading the country should too, rather than surrender to the compulsion to fight back against each and every perceived affront.
Plus there are all the insulting names I’d have to come up with for everyone I feel has slighted me. Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins famously (and ungrammatically) said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” I have to agree. That’s time that could be much better spent cuddling with the furry one … and then applying antiseptic, antibiotics and Band-Aids once he decides he’s had enough of that.
No, the primary reason I don’t tweet is because I’m sometimes so obsessed with facts that I would miss the chance to present or comment on something in a timely manner because I’m so worried about the possibility of passing on hoaxes. Most of that odious stuff is pretty easy to suss out, but sometimes there’s a little niggling voice that says, “Hey, this could be true.” It shouldn’t happen on over-the-top hoaxes like pizzagate, but clearly it does. Hell, the Hitler fluoride myth still gets trotted out.
And no, “fake news” is not whatever you don’t agree with. This term is overly broad, which means it’s perfect for ideologues to dismiss anything that doesn’t make them look good. However, what responsible people mean when talking of fake news is propaganda, sometimes spun from whole cloth and sometimes with a tiny kernel of truth embedded in it, that is deliberately designed to mislead the audience. But what about all that liberal satire, conservatives counter—that’s fake news, isn’t it? Yes, but satire (at least the actually funny stuff like The Onion or Andy Borowitz) is designed to make the audience laugh, not batten down the hatches and burrow underground to await the apocalypse.
Whether it’s Macedonian teenagers, Russian fabulists and spam-bots, or hard-line American partisans, “news” from such sources should be taken with a whole salt mine. Does the “evidence” cited evaporate as soon as you start checking it out? Are Paul Horner or Fappy the Anti-Masturbation Dolphin mentioned? Is the headline outrageous? Does the story confirm everything you long suspected about that person you hate? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you might be a dupe.
And dang those Russian spam-bots for hacking my brain. Filling my email inbox apparently wasn’t enough. I can’t read cyrillic script!
Legitimate news sources (meaning those who specialize in journalism and showing their work rather than simply making wild accusations) have a responsibility to repair their reputations if they’ve done sloppy reporting, as that puts us in partisans’ cross-hairs for accusations of “fake news.” (Poor Washington Post, after its two recent sloppily done high-profile pieces that have tarred it as a “fake news” purveyor among certain demographics.) If mistakes are made, own up to them quickly, publish a correction or retraction, as painful as it may be, and correct what caused the problem in the first place. It won’t be easy to win back reputations in the current atmosphere, but it is vital for truth to survive.
You know, actual truth, not “post-truth.”
There are other reasons I don’t tweet, including that I don’t think anyone seriously wants to see what I had for breakfast. (Here, I’ll make it easy for you. Every day, it’s a protein shake; IBS is a cruel mistress, especially when it won’t let you eat bacon and eggs—or any solid food—in the morning.) There’s not enough interesting stuff going on in my day to merit constant tweeting … and when would I work? I have a hard enough time trying to get my regular work done sometimes. Besides, I’d like to live my life, not tweet it.
I’m also not huge on social media—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., are just not attractive to me, if just for the slew of abuse unleashed by and on their members. What social media I do use is much less in-your-face (since there’s not really anti-social media … except for real life). Too much on social media has devolved into … I don’t even know what to call it. Somebody has to willing to stand up for common decency, and I’m proud to be one of the willing. And the chocolate welcome basket rocked!
Of course, I’m also not always “on,” so my attempts at humor in 140 characters or fewer would probably fall flat. Again, my urge to edit and fact-check and rewrite for the ultimate pithy barb would take over and what is supposed to be immediate would be closer to “Well, no, I don’t like this … delete! I’ll get something posted in a few days … maybe.” I only do two scheduled posts on my blog each week (and the odd post here and there when events merit it), and I spend hours writing, editing, rewriting, re-editing and worrying about what I’ve written. That, and trying to get the furry one to get off my arms so I can type.
You have no idea how hard that can be. Or bloody. Yeesh.
Stock tip: Buy Johnson and Johnson. My Neosporin and Band-Aid use alone will probably keep it solvent for years.