November 12, 2016

BREAKING UP WITH TWITTER:

After the election, a handful of Twitter loyalists confessed to feeling alienation over the role the service played in their lives, and the country, this year.

“At best, it was just quips and outrages — a diet of candy,” wrote Brent Simmons, a well-known software developer who took his feed dark after blaming the service for, among other things, being part of the system that helped elect Mr. Trump.

But it was less partisan outrage and more a feeling of exhaustion that inspired a new round of quitter Twitter last week.

“Twitter is toxic,” tweeted Steve Kovach, a writer at the Business Insider website who likened the service to an unshakable addiction. “I can’t stand it anymore,” he told me in a private message on Twitter. “I started regularly deleting my tweets this summer and unfollowed everyone and started over. It was driving me nuts and making me sad.” Mr. Kovach said he has had trouble sticking with his self-imposed ban, but that the campaign’s end had strengthened his resolve.

I’ve been off Twitter for over a month and I’m amazed at how little I miss it. It was addictive while I was on it, but now it seems like a weird little obsessive place that has little importance in the wider world — which is what I thought of it before I got sucked in. Plus, I strongly dislike the company and its management, and don’t want to support them.

What’s more, since I got off I’m calmer and happier, and I feel like I got a sizable infusion of fresh brain cells. Marc Andreessen, who quit about the same time I did, reports something similar.

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