August 3, 2011

WHY I AM OFF TWITTER

I was right.

Not when I said that I was wrong. But the first time. About Twitter. And while I am incredibly grateful for having "met" a few wonderful people, most of all the woman I have fallen in love with, in the end, I had it right the first time.

Twitter, in the end, is meaningless. It's an echo chamber of prejudices that get embellished and taken further and farther than they should, and the truth is nothing anybody is really interested in. I have been thinking about this a lot over the past few weeks and have discussed it with my wonderful woman over the past few days, and I have approached Twitter in the past couple of weeks a lot more like a social experiment than anything else.

What would be re-tweeted, what would be commented upon, and by what social and or cultural and or religious group. The results have been, well, how to phrase it? Disastrous. Outside a developing story, a catastrophe, where Twitter becomes the record of eyewitnesses, often accompanied by videos and/or photographs...

.. it is an echo chamber that shows a lot more about those who "follow" you than you wish to know.

In the end, my decision to no longer peruse my time line is based on numerous factors, but I will tell you a few examples. I have (and will continue) to criticize the hell out of Israel for its human right violations, which was pretty much unanimously met by "Here! Here!" by those in the Arab world who "follow" me (never let the fact that somebody appears to give a shit about what you say leave an impression), but the moment you turn the same critical eye on their culture, they get either

(a) offended or

(b) become very quiet.

In other words, no retweet for this shit, how dare you? And before some of them reading this go all "Waaah" on me (which some will, I have no doubt), it is the exact same way on that other side. And I am sick of it. Sick and tired of it all. Like I tweeted today, "The truth knows no friends and needs no followers"

Because in the end, they don't want to hear it. Based on culture, religion, personal prejudices, they will simply block it out, especially when it goes against their "beliefs", be they religious, cultural, political or otherwise.

I have thought about it for a while now, but today was the moment I was finally so sickened by it all that I am writing this. And it was Egypt once again. You know, where everybody goes mental once again, because the same people who put him in power now put that fossil of a man named Mubarak in a cage to put him on for a very special "show and tell".

And make no mistake, that is exactly what this "trial" is. A show. Wonderful! We get tweets that state "Mubarak plane just landed!" and "He is in a cage!" Whoop-de-fucking doo! We have reached the same point that is reached in every revolution, and shame on me for believing that people are capable of learning. Or thinking. Or doing anything other than feed their own little world views.

I am embarrassed by this. I am also embarrassed by the fact that I watched those who did the "revolution" go on worldwide tours and have panels where they were treated like minor celebrities, that the same people who complain about poverty and injustice the next moment tweet about how they are at a F1 race in Canada or on a month long vacation in France.

I am embarrassed that I allowed myself to be a voice in that chorus, when it is the same people then who - when some were still holding out in a peaceful protesting sit-in at Tahrir were violently removed by the same police and army forces that were there in the days following January 25. I am embarrassed and ashamed that the same people - if not outright condone such an action - used Ramadan as an excuse, as an explanation why it was right to empty the square.

I am embarrassed by a lot more than this, also with those in America and their take on Obama, because several have the same kind of blind, stupid, idol-worshipping loyalty to a man, not the office, not an idea that the Bush acolytes showed for 8 years.

The truth is the truth. And it has no friends. And it needs no followers.

But what broke me, what made me think "this is not worth your time or effort" was today's fact that not one, not a single one of the Egyptian soldiers who performed "virginity tests" on female protesters on March 9th was arrested, nor were they charged, nor are they investigated.

I even titled the tweet "Things that nobody wants to know". And I tested people. Knew how was online. Which one of them retweeted me in the past. Do you want to know how many people retweeted that in the deluge of Mubarak Mabuarak Trial Trial tweets?

2

Let me repeat that. 2 people, one of whom was a young girl in Egypt. When I tweeted about that is afternoon, one more (who doesn't count, she is my friend) and one more.

So that is 4 people.

You want to know why? Because people don't want to know about this. They don't want to think about this. They are willingly blinding themselves to anything that is not already part of their pre-formulated world views.

I am not stating this to make myself sound like I am the only one in the know. In fact, over the past few weeks I have become increasingly tired and weary of things, thinking - like I did when I wrote that piece about the Guardian and Wikileaks - "why is nobody else picking up on this? This is something that should never go away, that should be front and center, because it matters".

As I stated a long time ago, I am anti-social by nature. For me, social interaction comes with responsibilities. If you have a friend, even if it is a Twitter friend, you must be there for them, you cannot simply go "oh, well, it is not as important as a real friend"

Well, I can't. For me it is all or nothing.

And it has been eating at me, that bit. Not the few people I genuinely care for, but the fact that in the end, most things, they just don't matter.The truth... doesn't matter. And I have found myself spending way too much time on this, time that could be spent writing or working out or, hell, even masturbating would be an improvement over scanning the news and try to strip it down to what it actually means.

It doesn't mean that I will be completely off Twitter, but it does mean I will no longer engage outside the very small circles of those I care about. No, I will no longer reply to a mention from somebody I don't know or care about. I will still tweet when something catches my eye, but I won't debate you, I won't give you that time of day anymore.

The truth has no friends. And it needs no followers.

That is how it's going to be from now on.