Lately, I’ve been thinking about deleting my Twitter account. It’s not that the social-media platform is a cesspool of depravity, bad faith, unhinged antagonism, lockstepping partisanship, self-perpetuating irrationality, rumor-mongering, intellectual debauchery, bad grammar, anxiety, conspiracy theories, gratuitous vulgarity, and ad hominem attacks. Anyone, after all, can find a handful of good reasons to remain on social media. No, I’m beginning to worry that my Twitter addiction will adversely affect my legacy.
I should start by noting that while I’m not exactly a big shot in the social-media-follower game, over the past decade of sending out half-baked missives and random thoughts about politics and culture I’ve cultivated a modest following of imaginary friends — and not a few genuine haters. And as fun as it’s been interacting with readers and sparring with antagonists, the upside for continuing to do so seems to be shrinking rapidly.
For one thing, lots of folks have been getting in trouble over their old tweets these days. What was once a completely innocuous quip in some long-forgotten quarrel over marginal tax rates can easily be repurposed to turn an innocent fellow into a transphobic Benito Mussolini fanboy. One minute you’re offering a thought experiment — once a mainstay of political discourse — and the next thing you know it’s stripped of context and you’re a misogynistic puppy hater. There’s little you can do about it.