Ways of Time Wasting
Don't get me wrong. I like comments here, and I'm willing to leave comments elsewhere. But arguing with other commenters--no, just no, never again! (Bad recent experience not to be revealed with a link--sorry.) This is just a disastrous time-waster because it's a come one, come all situation, and the world is full of bad faith debaters. That is, people (often anonymous) who do not listen, cannot rationally respond to arguments and counterarguments, but are fantastically good at being sarcastic, snarky, and pointlessly quarrelsome.
Twitter, on the other hand, limits the nonsense. It is a quick quip-and-link business, and feels as if it's among friends. Of course, it helps if you have almost no followers--that cuts down on the potential rubbish and hostility. But I've come to appreciate the 140 character limit. Facebook is also wonderfully light and limited.
I hope someone appreciates my title. I'll let you follow me on Twitter if you can guess what philosophical classic I'm alluding to. What an offer! Actually, you can also follow me on Twitter if you can't. See how I'm using the lingo? Follow me on Twitter? I actually find it just a touch revolting, but I'm persevering anyway. I can do this thing! In another week, I might even be able to talk about my "tweeps" without vomiting. Voila:
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Just be careful that they don't completely wreck your attention span and ruin any grammatical capacity you may have had. (Sadly I speak from experience.)
I'm kind of fond of Twitter-speak, and it can be habit-forming, I wouldn't want to do it all the time!
This is a great lesson to learn. I don't have a "never again" policy (I learned this lesson some years ago during the 2008 primaries), but I have learned when to follow my instincts and simply drop it when certain kinds of discussion arise. It's hard to do if you're someone who likes discussion, or even likes to argue, to "be right," or who wants to convince people of alternative ways of looking at things. But as you say there aren't enough good faith conversationalists out there, and things escalate too quickly often, frequently in remarkably insane ways.
It's hard for me to drop it when the interlocutor won't sign off on "agree to disagree" but instead must get in one more insult or misrepresentation. I'm exaggerating about "never again," but I think I may not engage with people unless either they have a track record of sane interaction or the blog has heavy-duty moderation.
I once really, really enjoyed Twitter. I got tired of it when I realized that it wasn't quite my audience. Bad faith debaters aren't worth one's time, but I found it hard to reach out to serious readers on Twitter.
I'll admit I'm liking Facebook a lot more. I think the fact that more of one's personal life is involved makes the conversation, shared articles, pictures have a bit more significance at times. I'm not saying Facebook can't be fluff. Of course it can. But there are higher moments there, believe it or not.
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