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Lindy West: ‘I Quit Twitter and It Feels Great’

Lindy West, writing for The New York Times:

I’m frequently approached by colleagues, usually women, who ask me about quitting Twitter with hushed titillation, as if I’ve escaped a cult or broken a particularly seductive taboo. Well, here’s what my new life is like: I don’t wake up with a pit in my stomach every day, dreading what horrors accrued in my phone overnight. I don’t get dragged into protracted, bad-faith arguments with teenage boys about whether poor people deserve medical care, or whether putting nice guys in the friend zone is a hate crime. I don’t spend hours every week blocking and reporting trolls and screen-grabbing abuse in case it someday escalates into a credible threat. I no longer feel like my brain is trapped in a centrifuge filled with swastikas and Alex Jones’s spittle. Time is finite, and now I have more of it.

At the same time, I know this conversation is more complicated than that. I’ve lost a large platform to self-promote and make professional connections, which isn’t something many writers can afford to give up (less established writers and marginalized writers most of all — in a horrid irony, the same writers disproportionately abused on Twitter). I get my news on a slight delay. I seethe at the perception that I ceded any ground to trolls trying to push me out. I will probably never persuade RuPaul to be my friend. Also, I loved Twitter. Twitter is funny and smart and validating and cathartic. It feels, when you are embroiled in it, like the place where everything is happening. (Scoff if you like, but the president of the United States makes major policy announcements there. This is the world now.)

I really hope Jack Dorsey reads West’s piece and takes it to heart. She’s the last sort of person Twitter should want to leave the platform.

Thursday, 1 February 2018