Twitter and me

My Twitter Dunbar number isn’t 150. It isn’t even 99, but that’s what I’m working with as a provisional ceiling. It’s all too easy for me to see how this medium can work as really destructive junk, and I value it too much to just go along with that slide. So I’m determined to overcome social inhibition and wield the ax.

This is my public position:

The medium works its junkie magic because ‘unfollowing’ is an implicit act of microsocial aggression (whatever its rational motives), triggering primate brain-chemicals associated with social signalling. It’s as if you had suddenly declared an unwillingness to any longer pick ticks out of somebody’s fur. At a certain point this monkey business has to be over-ridden, or deterioration is all-but inevitable. People who aren’t prepared to to protect their time — even at the cost of social discomfort — will get nothing done. That’s the threat of social media, as a disease.

Since tweet-space is limited by nature, some background to informational hygiene procedures:

(1) I have two twitter feeds, and (for obvious time-preservation reasons) I’m not going to be following anybody on both. Non-NRx types who’ve been chucked out of my @Outsideness feed are most likely implanted on @UF_blog, so that should not count as microsocial violence except to the hyper-sensitive.

(2) Opinion signalling without thought or originality is tedious. Even if I agree with everything someone is saying, they’ll be chopped if they never say anything new. Something that’s new once isn’t new after being repeated 500 times. Sadly, there are all too many reactionaries who think the very idea of saying something new is close to civilizational treason. (I’m sure they have an audience, but I’m not it.)

(3) Twitter babbling is grating on me a lot. I don’t care about your mating or drinking habits. If I have to listen to you talking about either at a rate exceeding one tweet a day, we have to part ways. Also, the rampant ‘alpha’ peacocking in the reactosphere is getting utterly repulsive. If you want to persuade people you’re intelligent, try saying something intelligent. Saying “You know what, I’m really freaking intelligent” is about as pathetic as human communication can get. (Such statements probably have an audience that finds them charming and witty, but I’m not it.)

(4) Basically, I don’t care about you at all, but only about the information and ideas you share. The odd joke is OK, but it better stay odd. Cognitive survival demands that I dig out my inner ruthless bastard, and I will.

ADDED: A typology of Twitter conversations.

February 23, 2014admin 23 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Admin , Media

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23 Responses to this entry

  • AWC Says:

    Lists are definitely the way to go. You can organize them along interests.

    Only downside of lists is that re-tweets don’t show up in lists. (Not that all re-tweets are great but sometimes there’s a real gem.)

    In an ideal world, Twitter would be like the French movie Ridicule: say only what is necessary and when you do make it golden.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Thanks for the useful tips. Your final sentence is crucial, and it could be a practical objective rather than a poignant hope. We won’t get perfection, but we can get sharper rather than duller.

    [Reply]

    Karl F. Boetel Reply:

    Tweetdeck, if you’re not already using it: mandatory. Put the people whose tweets you consistently want to read into one column (hi @oddblots); maybe put your mentions/notifications/re-tweets in another column so you can see who reads you; and the canaille in a third, because you might find something good in there every once in a while.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    I’ll check that out, thanks. It sounds invaluable.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 5:57 pm Reply | Quote
  • VXXC Says:

    Ha!

    Now unfortunately whether I take the model of guard dog [grrrr] or my preferred upgrade of Anti-Body I consider myself duty bound to react, even at the certainty of being recursive, hopefully not tedious.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 6:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Puzzle Pirate (@PuzzlePirate) Says:

    TweetDeck one way to be a Twitter-pro junkie. I don’t use it too much because it’s a bit overkill for what I want. You can find the extension for Chrome here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tweetdeck-by-twitter/hbdpomandigafcibbmofojjchbcdagbl?utm_source=chrome-ntp-icon

    Or just use their website: https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Salvation.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 6:49 pm Reply | Quote
  • Stirner Says:

    First the Stick of Jim, now the Unfollow of Outsideness.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 6:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    It’s my impression most people have a list of people they actually read, and have everyone else undisplayed, yet followed. That way you avoid microagression while conserving your sanity.

    But anyway Twitter *is* about opinion signaling. Or let’s call it brand creation. It’s hard to say anything worth a damn in 140 characters (Konkvistador’s efforts notwithstanding), so it’s mostly about primate grooming and the odd group conversation.

    I hate to spoil your tech optimism again, but if you thought Twitter would give you high density quality ideas… well there are only so many good brains out there. And not all are good at density.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 7:05 pm Reply | Quote
  • survivingbabel Says:

    I can’t really see Twitter as a long-term-positive platform outside of a strict, mutually-agreed-upon criteria of focused usage. Even then, it’s absurdly over-exposed, just asking for something stupid to happen.

    As I’ve mentioned before, what we need is a vetted platform, with variable rate limits depending on user’s rank, and no arbitrary character limits. Each post, from bon mot to long-form essay, appears in a single feed, with preview sizes set. Replacement for twitter, forums, e-mail lists, and RSS feeds (if not blogs themselves). @raptros_ is working on this.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 7:17 pm Reply | Quote
  • Carl Says:

    Twitter is a terrible medium for the transmission of useful information. It is perfect for snark and other forms of humor. I understand that Twitter has helped form the social space that is Neoreaction, but it still looks like a cesspool to me. Preening, posturing and validation seeking seem to be the main purpose of social media. Those ends are diametrically opposed to seeking the truth, and I therefore view the NRx Twitter explosion as a tragedy. I’m open to being convinced otherwise.

    [Reply]

    Ademonos Reply:

    Very much this. Twitter is part of the disease and not the solution.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 7:38 pm Reply | Quote
  • Anthony Says:

    Given that you are using Twitter as a place to gather information, I wouldn’t have thought the Dunbar number to have much relevance. Isn’t it more a question of how much information you can process without the noise becoming too extreme? I thought my saturation point was about 200 and restricted myself for a long time but I’m letting it drift up now.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    If the two aspects were easier to lever apart, it would all be much easier.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 8:41 pm Reply | Quote
  • AWC Says:

    KFB,

    Does Tweetdeck show re-tweets? (Just curious.)

    If anyone is interested, here are the lists I follow:

    https://twitter.com/OccamsRazor5/lists

    [Reply]

    Karl F. Boetel Reply:

    Sure does.

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 9:14 pm Reply | Quote
  • AWC Says:

    Outside Twitter, I use feedly as a reader:

    http://feedly.com

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 23rd, 2014 at 9:36 pm Reply | Quote
  • Bryce Laliberte Says:

    This will probably result in fewer tweets about my drinking habits, I suppose.

    *sips rum*

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Frankly Bryce, you were at the front of my mind when I wrote this. You put up some of the smartest tweets on my feed, but your out of control babbling is driving me out of my mind. If I unfollow you I know I’ll miss some high-quality stuff, but on present trends sanity preservation may force me to accept that loss.

    [Reply]

    Bryce Laliberte Reply:

    I will have to consider driving you out of your mind a compliment.

    Okay, I’ll tamp it back a little.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    You probably need a separate “Unbottled Bryce” twitter feed — I’ve no doubt there’s an audience for it (among those with vastly more shooting-the-shit time on their hands than I have).

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 12:38 am Reply | Quote
  • Karl F. Boetel Says:

    We could trying tagging srz intellectual bizness with “#NRx” and then admin can put that in a special Tweetdeck column (excluding retweets & other noise) and just read that.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    The signal-to-noise ratio is pretty good, especially after the recent harshness. I’d hate to clip another four — and actually five — precious characters out of everyone’s messages.
    (Going to play around with this Tweetdeck gizmo soon as I get a chance.)

    [Reply]

    Posted on February 24th, 2014 at 6:27 am Reply | Quote

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