I can’t believe I’ve lost so much time, in the past several days, to Twitter discussions that really amounted to arguments. It’s consumed a lot of my time, which is understandable, because once my brain locks onto something problematic, it won’t let go until it finds some resolution. But because I do such a poor job of expressing myself at times, and (perhaps because my thinking process has developed in solitude and isolation) my logic isn’t readily apparent to others. That much is clear, now. I just wish I’d realized this, 12 hours ago.
Social media really sucks at facilitating discussions, sometimes, especially Twitter, with its 140 characters. If anything, it just pours gasoline on a spark, turning it into a brush fire and fanning the flames across the proverbial great plains of conceptual development. Facebook is even worse, because the lack of character limits lets people go off on tangents and derail even their own arguments.
Or it turns the discussion into something quite different. It starts to get really uncomfortable. Awkward. Frustrating.
And then, perhaps thanks to the character limit, the name-calling begins. And worst of all, some people use terms that I’m not sure any of us even understands 100%– I certainly am not clear about how/why they’re using them, in no small part because my language has been largely acquired via reading, not by talking to other people. So, I can read a large number of pieces about a specific phenomenon, and I’ll come away with my own interpretation of what that phenomenon is all about… but I’m wrong.
So very, very wrong.
Probably the worst thing about having
discussions arguments with people on Twitter, is that it turns into a competition about who can make their point better. It’s not about understanding the other person’s point of view. It’s not about increasing each others’ understanding and widening worlds. It’s about drawing lines in the sand, demarcating territory, and trying to quash the other side’s points — without understanding where they’re coming from.
And that happens on my side, as much as the others’.
Which is pointless to me, because fundamentally, I don’t believe we know shit about shit, and discussions are a great opportunity to learn more about the world, to revise half-developed points of view, and broaden your perspective.
Not limit it.
When Elie Wiesel passed away, recently, I saw a bunch of images of his quote about needing to take sides — pick a side, or you’re complicit in terrible things happening. I have to wonder (at the risk of being seen as a heretic, or worse yet, a denier of the horrors that are done – which is so not me at all, considering I would have been trucked off to the ovens, myself, if I’d lived within the greedy borders of the 3rd Reich in the late 1930s), isn’t maybe that need to divide and attack/defend ONE SIDE one of the things that’s getting us in trouble? That we feel so compelled to pick sides, to make sure we’re separate and apart from that “wrong” other person, that we lose sight of the complexity… all the while failing to address the underlying systemic injustices that make us want to pick sides, to begin with? Isn’t part of the problem the fact that we suppose that there can ever be a single correct side, to begin with?
I have no appetite left for the schisms. The attacks. And the belief that going on the offensive is the right thing to do, to defend yourself. Yes, there are serious issues to be addressed. I’m just not the person to join any campaigns, right now. Perhaps ever.
All the drama just sets me one step farther down the road to a meltdown, and it’s not worth it.
Not even if I believe with all my heart that I’m right.
I think I’ll turn off Twitter notifications for this blog and take a break from interacting with folks there for a while. I always appreciate the informative links to articles and blog posts. But the whole interactive thing sometimes makes autistic withdrawal vastly more preferable.
People who really want to interact with me can find me here.
Where I can think in extended blocks of more than a few short sentences.