To tweet, or not

Because dogs and cats are for poor people and those who care about something other than themselves. Editorial cartoon by Nate Beeler, Columbus Dispatch.

Because dogs and cats are for poor people and those who care about something other than themselves.
Editorial cartoon by Nate Beeler, Columbus Dispatch.

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.

Somebody get him to a 12-step program, STAT! Editorial cartoon by Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News.

Somebody get him to a 12-step program, STAT!
Editorial cartoon by Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News.

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 if it's about someone I hate, it's definitely true! Editorial cartoon by Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com.

And if it’s about someone I hate, it’s definitely true!
Editorial cartoon by Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com.

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.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if a turkey were actually writing that tripe. Editorial cartoon by Bruce Plante, Tulsa World.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if a turkey were actually writing that tripe.
Editorial cartoon by Bruce Plante, Tulsa World.

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 some people I'd follow if I were on Twitter, but the average Joe Schmo? Nah. Editorial cartoon by Jeff Parker, Florida Today.

There are some people I’d follow if I were on Twitter, but the average Joe (or Kayla) Schmo? Nah.
Editorial cartoon by Jeff Parker, Florida Today.

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!

Yeah, that stuff's ancient and might end up making you actually get to know people! Wrong Hands by John Atkinson.

Yeah, that stuff’s ancient and might end up making you actually get to know people!
Wrong Hands by John Atkinson.

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.

Who wouldn't want to cuddle with this cutie? Just don't try to put steroids in his ear if you prefer your blood on the inside.

Who wouldn’t want to cuddle with this cutie? Just don’t try to put steroids in his ear if you prefer your blood on the inside.

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11 thoughts on “To tweet, or not

  1. I love the presidential pet cartoon! I may find that and tweet it. I’m on Twitter but more as a lurker/retweeter. I follow national and local news and also some fascinating people like a judge who tweets about citing sources and the origin of idioms. I need to cut back on my news sources, though. I follow way too many, which only adds to my anxiety.

    Cute photo of Luke! I have a feeling he’s worth his weight in Neosporin and BandAids.

    Like

    • I hadn’t seen that particular one till last night, and I’m glad I found it! Nate Beeler is one of the greats.

      I think I saw a study that said most people on Twitter don’t actually tweet. That would probably be me, but if I were on Twitter, my bosses would expect me to tweet, I’m sure.
      Brummett is one of the funnier/better local ones I’ve seen. I just couldn’t measure up.
      The boy is certainly worth it most days, especially when his back’s not bothering him. I got his birthday presents Monday, and when I got home, his head was in the blinds because he knew the boxes were there. I gave him the small toy that day (and ate a piece of the pecan toffee I ordered for myself), but the big one is locked up till Friday. I’m so mean. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I follow John Brummett and Tom Brannon on Twitter. I like them both. I also follow a couple of cats. One is Larry the Cat who lives at 10 Downing Street. His Twitter name is @Number10cat, and he is funny. I get the impression that he’s not a big fan of Brexit. I think you would be great on Twitter, but it’s time consuming. Just reading everything I follow takes too much time. I’m going to cut back since I’m back in school this spring.

        Is Luke’s birthday on Friday also? Can you believe we get a full moon and Friday the 13th for our birthdays? I’m excited!

        p.s. I wrote a paper about editorial cartoons as an undergrad. I want to find it and reread it, although I’m sure I would want to rewrite the heck out of it.

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      • I’ll have to look up Larry. 🙂

        Since I don’t know when Luke was actually born, I share my birthday with him … and it’s kind of a present for me to see him get excited about new toys. I didn’t notice that it was a full moon; that just makes it cooler! I always love when our birthday is on Friday because I get to watch the superstitious people freak out. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Never been a Tweeter but I do own a “deactivated” Facebook account. Perhaps it’s a generational thing or maybe just an age thing, I don’t know and I don’t care. I just started texting about two months ago and I don’t really like that but one of my sisters insists that since I live alone she wants a text everyday letting her know I haven’t fallen and I can’t get up. 🙂 Fact is, it seems at least as a means of communication that most of this social media stuff is quite redundant.

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  3. Well my social media is definitely redundant. Facebook and Twitter just get previews of my posts. That’s it. Aside from that I have no use for either of them. Of course, if you consider WordPress to be a social network, then I’m deeply into that.

    Like

    • My Google+, Tumblr and LinkedIn accounts all just get the same thing I post here. Sometimes it’s hard enough to find the time to deal with these posts, so I can’t imagine trying to post on individual accounts or adding Facebook and Twitter.

      Like

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