Why Twitter is Just Awful Now and What Could Be Done About It

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As Monty Burns said about labor negotiations in his time versus during his grandfather’s era- “Oh, it didn’t use to be like this. No, it didn’t use to be like this at all.” Twitter, without a doubt, was the most fun social media platform once upon a time, but that time has long passed.

At some point in 2016 it peaked, then went downhill, and seems to get worse every single time you login these days. Let’s take a look at what’s gone wrong with Twitter, and then later propose some ideas about what could be done about it.

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This continues our series exploring everything that’s wrong and dangerous with social media. Go here to read the previous essays on

Facebook being washed up for good now

The smartphone disease, of which Facebook is just a symptom 

The adverse effects of social media hitting Gen X harder than any other group

And if this is too much gloom and doom for you, then read this essay on why Animal Instagram accounts are better than all types of social media combined.

It All Starts at the Top

The President of the United States of America is a role model, and thus shapes the behavior of American citizens. The horrifying decline of Twitter took effect before he took office, and all that’s wrong with Twitter was already in place before his “political” career became “a thing,” but he certainly exacerbated all the negativity at a rapid fire pace.

Now Twitter is synonymous with him, and he’s basically the most disgusting human being imaginable. If Trump is really into something, it’s inherently creepy. Twitter will never do anything about trying to curb his repugnant behavior on the platform either because every single tweet he makes gets wall-to-wall coverage, and they’ll take the free advertising for their product.

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Trump Effect

Obviously a lot of what Trump tweets violates their terms of service, but they obviously don’t care, because like we said above, they’d rather have all the free publicity. We’re stuck in a nightmarish, vicious cycle in which the world’s biggest narcissist is in the world’s most powerful individual position, and has the easiest way of attention whoring in the history of technology at his disposal.

You also have a for-profit, ratings uber alles media industry that enabled and created him, because how will you ever find a cheaper, lazier “news” story to produce that reading a tweet?

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When the POTUS acts like a troll with a default setting avatar, then where else can we go from here? Only down. Way down.

Reality Show Style Garbage/Toxic National Discourse

When you have a reality show President, you also get a reality show level of national discourse- even on serious, grown up topics. Pretty much anything goes today, in regards to what somebody will say in public. These days, way too many people tweet and speak like an outsider with nothing to lose. Very few speak like an adult in the room with sober responsibilities.

The Russians knew this, and they exploited it to their advantage to influence our elections.

Human Russian Troll Bots

In addition to Russian bots, you also have an endless supply of real-life provocateurs who perform the same exact function. Dinesh D’Souza, Tomi Lahren, Britt McHenry (those two are almost the same person at this point), Clay Travis, Ted Nugent, people on this list and so many more just like them exist for no other purpose than trying to outdo each another in their desperate attempts to get the attention thrusted upon themselves.

They may be referred to in the media as “conservative pundit/commentator,” but there’s nothing actually conservative or Republican about it. It’s not commentary or punditry either. It’s just vile racism, bigotry, ridiculous conspiracy theories and pure hatred being eschewed from human piles of feces that don’t even believe most of what they say.

I’d rather toil in obscurity for a thousand lifetimes than be “a character artist,” especially one that disseminates nothing but society corrosive venom.

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That’s just half the equation though. On the other side you have the forcing an apology culture, the professionally outraged, and the political correctness extremists who see life as nothing but a chance to be offended by something. It’s an extremely poisonous cocktail that we see served on Twitter every time we surf on over.

People are more easily offended than ever, while at the same time standards of public discourse have never been lower.

No meritocracy for responses

I have more followers than ever before, and this October I will have had a verified account for 20 months, but my tweets go more ignored than ever before- why? I don’t have an answer for that, but I do know that my level of material is the same quality as it has ever been and that people who make very similar jokes or observations have a completely different user experience.

They get hundreds, sometimes thousands of retweets and likes for saying the same thing I do. What gives? Maybe the next subhead below provides an answer. In the meantime, enjoy the witty and intelligent tweets above and below I made Sunday that absolutely no one at all gave a crap about.

Clearly, I have been buried in Twitter’s search results, and I’m not showing up. If you saw the 60 Minutes story on Google a couple weeks ago, you saw how the tech giants manipulate search query results to benefit themselves and bury the competition.

New Algorithms and Promoted/Sponsored Tweets

I have no clue what happened when Twitter changed their algorithms, I just know that my Twitter experience declined. Now I see more and more self-promotional tweets, advertisements and just the same people over and over again on every topic. Clearly, my tweets are getting lost in the shuffle.

Staying in Your Own Silo

It’s very unhealthy to see only tailored trending topics and mostly just accounts of people who agree with you on everything. Twitter and Facebook don’t care- they just want it that way so they can sell you crap. This is the main reason America is so polarized right now: Instead of just disagreement, now we have alternate realities.

Twitter and social media keep you in your bubble.

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280 Characters Created Further Decline

The smartphone and its apps are basically Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction- if you go too long without paying attention to them, they flip out. The Twitter app is the ABSOLUTE WORST. If you go a couple days without Tweeting, or receiving a notification, it makes up fake notifications for you, in order to make you re-engage.

The decision to move from 140 to 280 characters was nothing but utilizing this same principle. All Twitter did was create some kind of goofy excuse to bring you back in.

What Can be Done?

Verify Everybody

Let’s see what happens when every single person on Twitter has to be themselves. We won’t have any more “keyboard tough guys” that’s for sure.

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Get an Edit Button

Self-explanatory.

Of course, Twitter will NEVER EVER do it, because an edit button would make Tweets less inflammatory, and therefore less viral and thus, less attention on the Twitter brand.

Get Outside/Off the Computer/Put the Phone Down and Have Real Human Contact

There are people I know IRL, in real life, who have abundant opportunities to interact with me in real time. Instead they choose to just text and tweet and Instagram comment at me. The cycle of interacting with circuits on a screen, instead of in actual reality continues, until…these people are jettisoned from life.

I honestly don’t care what the trends are these days, I will not tolerate that nonsense and time burglary moving forward. We all need less social media and more actual socializing in all our lives. Look at the sharp decline in social skills, especially among millenials and younger, as evidence of this.

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Paraphrasing the immortal Sideshow Bob, I’m aware of the irony of tweeting out this link/self-promoting my Twitter account in order to deride it, so don’t bother pointing that out.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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  1. […] diabolical sociological cocktail, with social media the most potent and toxic ingredient of all. If you're sick and tired of hearing about who's trending online right now because of what deplorabl…, then you should turn the TV off, put the phone down and go see a movie […]

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