In Praise of Twitter -- Andrew Crofts

Confessions of a Ghostwriter By Andrew Crofts 

So, confession time; I'm rather fond of Twitter.

On the whole I only follow people I like or am interested in, so I have seldom been troubled by trolls or hate speech, and whenever it has managed to infiltrate, I can mentally filter it out, in the same way I do with the horrors that pop up on the television news or the front pages of newspapers, concentrating my thoughts on things that I can do something about myself – of which there are shockingly few.

I enjoy the distraction of the gossip on the Twittersphere, and the feel-good videos that go viral, and I learn more about what is happening in the publishing and writing worlds than from any other source. The last few books that I have read have come to my attention from tweeted recommendations.

I can see that social media has handed a megaphone to people with some pretty nasty opinions, but these people have always been there, sounding off in the pub, or berating their partners and families with their unsavory views behind closed doors.

I will miss Twitter if it folds under the strains of its new leadership, but I’m sure that I will have found something else to fill the void within a couple of days.  There’s hardly a lack of choice in this glorious, information-filled, story-rich world.

Comments

Peter Leyland said…
Thanks for this Andrew. If you read my October blog, you will know that I am a Twitter afficionado and have had nothing but good from it. The black bits I have found can be avoided easily and you can soon amass a coterie of 'friends' because people do like discussing books and literature.

I have honestly noticed no difference since Elon Musk took over. Perhaps the bubble will burst but until then, 'You can have your ball back', which is the twist on my lion's tail/tale.
Griselda Heppel said…
The problem isn’t that the people with nasty opinions have always been there, yelling at the television or sounding off at the pub, so that there’s nothing new. What is new is the huge power they have they didn’t have before. Fear of twitter lynchings has done massive damage to free speech, with academics being hounded out of universities and publishers and media carefully only taking on books/stories that are acceptable to their workforce. When I worked in publishing ( at a lowly level) the idea that I could refuse to work on a book because I didn’t like its contents/author would have been absurd and would have cost me my job. But this is happening everywhere and it’s in large part thanks to the power of Twitter.
Having said that, I’m grateful to Twitter for the information it gives that you can get nowhere else (certainly not from most news outlets) and a lot of it is fun too.
I also like Twitter very much, particularly for its often random mix of various people's thoughts and images. Although I do tend to follow cat and dog accounts more now than I did before, I also like to see posts from people I completely disagree with, just to try and keep up with their thinking. Of course there is a difference between reasoned debate and just hurling insults at each other, and it's unfortunate that the latter is what seems to happen quite often on Twitter!
I quite like Twitter, as it's so random! (FB annoys me because I only see a handful of the same people's posts or other stuff FB thinks I should see.) But yes, you have to be selective and thick-skinned... I'm having a rather amusing conversation on Twitter with a number of Asda's parody accounts at the moment :-)

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