How to Make Twitter Good: Do It Yourself

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I’m sure I’ve said this before—maybe on Twitter!—but we should all pay a whole lot less attention to Twitter. A lot less. Stop obsessing about it. Stop arguing endlessly on it. Stop following hundreds of people, many of whom are stone assholes. Stop getting upset because one or two—or a few dozen—people say something nasty about you. Stop thinking you might change minds or win arguments on Twitter.

Just stop. Twitter represents the American id, to a certain extent, and if you voluntarily decide to dive into our national id and swim around in the muck, that’s fine. But know it for what it is, and don’t bother the rest of us with your discoveries. We all know that there are lots of assholes out there.

For the rest of you, follow these rules:

  • A “meme” doesn’t exists unless at least 10,000 people have repeated it on Twitter. In the Twitterverse, 10,000 is about equal to 100 in the ordinary world.
  • Follow people you like following. Ditch all the rest.
  • If you’re a thin-skinned type, block people with abandon. Don’t allow any second chances. If they say something mean, block ’em. You owe them nothing.
  • Don’t argue with assholes. This is actually just general advice for a healthier life, but it’s super-good advice for Twitter.

I’m not sure why I suddenly felt the need to repeat this. I guess it’s because we’re going through another round of how horrible Twitter is and how horrible @Jack is, but honestly, Twitter is only as horrible as you allow it to be. It can be the worst place in the world or it can be a modest part of your life that’s good for an occasional laugh or some handy information. The folks at Twitter will probably never change, but that doesn’t mean we have to just accept what they give us. With a small amount of effort, it’s not that hard to make Twitter into something that’s personally fun and useful.


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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