Statement on Twitter

Statement on Twitter

In July 2020, I made a decision to step away from Twitter, and I generally don't use that platform regularly or often any more. You can still find me there at @RobertTalbert, but:

  • I do not check my feed regularly;
  • Therefore I don't respond to DM's often; and
  • I do not generally respond to @-replies at all.  

Mostly I use Twitter to broadcast: posting links to blog articles, sharing stuff I am reading, and adding retweets to things I endorse. But that's about it, and if you are wanting to contact me, I recommend using the comments on the blog posts, or use the form on the Contact page.

In case you are interested, here's a longer rationale for that decision.

I've been on Twitter since 2006, when there were only 10,000 users and it was called TWTTR. I have made countless meaningful connections with people and organizations on Twitter, and many real-life friendships. In many ways my entire academic career was built on Twitter. I owe this platform a lot.

But it also became clear in 2020, in the run-up to the US Presidential election and as higher education geared up for the 2020-2021 academic year, that it was time to move on, because Twitter was at that point consuming more personal energy than it was producing. I grew tired of the divisive, shallow substitutes for meaningful discourse and explorations of ideas that permeated Twitter (and still do). I became increasingly disappointed at the tendency of conversations to devolve into complaints or empty virtue-signaling. Most of all, in a time where we in higher education really needed to encourage each other and find ways to take on the challenges of the pandemic with courage, discipline, and a positive attitude, the preponderance of Twitter discourse was nowhere near those things.

In fact, what I see today on Twitter are people who, rather than doing or making something useful that makes the world better, settle for looking for any flaws whatsoever in the work of other people who are actually getting things done, then dunking on those people — all in the name of scoring fake internet points. I've just decided I don't want any part of that.

I think that those of us who are working to enact broad, systemic change wherever it is needed — and it's needed almost everywhere — have no option to remain plugged into things that drain us of the energy we need to get work done. For me, Twitter became one of those things, and so I unplugged. I made a commitment to reinvest the time saved from Twitter into writing longer-form pieces on the blog and for other media outlets, and this has been a successful venture for me. Your mileage may vary on this, but for me, the choice to disengage from Twitter was the right one.

I will continue to interact with the people and organizations from Twitter who do energize me and help me to grow, through other means, such as the Mastery Grading Slack workspace and LinkedIn. If you are a Twitter follower, thank you for spending some of your attention on what I have to say.