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More about Twitter's toxicity


It's now been about two months since I deleted the Twitter app from my mobile phone, and I've already written about Twitter's toxicity, but something struck me again recently.

On no other social network I've ever been on people hate-retweet so much than on #Twitter. Not even on #Facebook. Hate-retweeting is the act of mentioning someone else's tweet to comment on how bad you think the tweet, the opinion expressed or the person is to you. I don't exactly understand why people on Twitter feel the need of doing that more than on any other platforms, but I have a few hunches:
  • Twitter is hugely popular and mostly public. Many famous people are using it for everyone else to see.
  • The short format encourages candid reactions to events, and the publicity again push people to be the first to comment on anything newsworthy.
  • Anger and humor naturally spread faster than any other speech tone. By combining both, snarky remarks gets the engagement jackpot, which in turn makes them more readily available by Twitter's suggestion features.

For all these reasons, I'm more glad than ever to host my own #Friendica decentralized social network server where there's no public feed to speak of, I control what strikes my eyeballs in my feed, and I feel much less "social media fatigue" than I used to on Twitter. Which means I'm more sensitive to the fewer instances of hate-retweets I still get from my linked Twitter account than when I used to see more of them.

Oh well.
This entry was edited (2 weeks ago)
Another example of how Twitter creates it's own verbs. It wasn't until these type of social interactions really started getting popular/defined, that I learned of "Sub-Tweeting". This is the act of tweeting about a person but not mentioning them (with an @ or otherwise). Basically as a way to bad mouth them publicly but have plausible deniability as well. Kind of like, we all know who you're talking about, but you didn't really say who you were talking about.

Indeed, I got called out once for actually mentioning someone who was evidently the target of such a sub-tweet. I don't think jargon is specific to Twitter, but the extent to which it is negative (sub-tweet, hate-retweet, meltdown, hot/nuclear take, ratioed, ...) certainly is.