After some 12 years on the site, I’ve finally deleted my Twitter account. Its takeover by a profoundly narcissistic, mediocre and insecure bigot gave me that extra excuse I’d been looking for all these years.
But why does any of that matter? After all, isn’t it ‘just a website’?
Yes. And no. Whether you are an activist or a scholar or a journalist or a policy-maker, Twitter has had an undeniable influence over your life – even if you’ve never been on it.
I was a very active user of that site. I gathered some 34,000 followers, had my tweets featured in mainstream media dozens of times, and made a lot of friends. Twitter is also how a lot of my work got published, and how so many people even heard about me in the first place. For that, I’ll be forever grateful.
But still, I quit it, and I ain’t going back. I’ve reached this conclusion after many years of deliberation. Weighing the pros (exposure, networking, connections etc) and cons (addiction, restlessness, a huge waste of time etc). I don’t know whether this is the right decision for everyone (although at this rate the site might become irrelevant soon enough anyway) and in many ways this conversation isn’t even about that.
I invited returning guests Musa Okwonga and Justin Salhani to talk about the impacts of social media on our world, with a focus on Twitter. Give it a listen, and let me know what you think!
- Center for Countering Digital Hate: Twitter fails to act on 99% of Twitter Blue accounts tweeting hate
- The ‘Enshittification’ of TikTok by Cory Doctorow
- Wilder Winds by Bel Olid
- The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction by Ursula Le Guin
- The Lonely City by Olivia Laing
- Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
Where to listen
All episodes are first released on Patreon, and you can get them on your Podcast feed by copy-pasting the RSS that appears at the bottom of your page when you join (here’s how) as soon as they’re up. Patreons get episodes anywhere from weeks to days in advance.
The conversation is available on any podcast app such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, Amazon Music, Audible, Stitcher, Radio Public, Pocket Casts, Castro and RSS. Just type in ‘The Fire These Times’ and you can subscribe directly there.
It is also on YouTube. At the moment the YouTube page is not being updated but it will be in the near future.
How to Support
The Fire These Times is independent. Since March 2020, I’ve produced weekly episodes averaging anywhere from 60 to 110 minutes.
With a small amount donated monthly or yearly, you can help expand this project into video essays, public panels, newsletters and more. I also wish to release episodes twice a week. Your support can be for as little as $2 or $5 a month or $20 or $50 a year, which is what most people contribute.
The best way to do so is through Patreon, which will also give you early access to audio episodes, exclusive video episodes, merchandise, monthly hangouts, access to the upcoming book club and more.