Twitter Used to Be Great, Now It's a 'Prison'
Matt Lewis says it's become a haven for petty fights and snark
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2013 2:21 PM CST
The Twitter bird.   (Twitter)

(Newser) – Political writer Matt Lewis used to consider himself an "evangelist" for Twitter. No more, he writes at the Week. It's become "more of a hindrance than a help," more about imparting snark than useful information. More like a "prison." Lewis joined relatively early, in 2008, and was among the first journalists to use the site aggressively to tweet links and build a following. Eventually, though, everyone started using Twitter, and that's when things changed.

"Writers should be thinking of big ideas, but Twitter sucks you into small, petty battles," writes Lewis. "Like a game of whack-a-mole, you can end up chasing the things that irritate you—hoping to correct every misconception or lie." As a journalist, he can't leave Twitter completely, but he has changed how he uses the site—setting up select feeds and locking out strangers. Gone are those early days of interacting with everyone. "My guess is that as Twitter becomes meaner and coarser, more and more people will begin checking out," he writes. Given the site's lofty goal of offering a way to share information in a civil manner, "that's a shame." Read the full column here.

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Showing 3 of 40 comments
Feb 7, 2013 11:23 AM CST
Couldn't agree more. Bottom line, people are going to have to learn how to cut through all the noise to get to the information that's important to them. The ease of getting online gives the masses the ability to interact. Online anonymity give the masses the ability to interact without any manner of civility and social mores (should they choose). It's a sad testament to society to see how many people choose that path.
Feb 1, 2013 4:47 AM CST
My eyeballs were assaulted by grotesque on-line porn when I innocently clicked on a link in a Twitter feed. It was the first day I went on Twitter, and it took me all day to get over my visceral disgust. I didn't take Twitter seriously after that, and still don't.
Jan 31, 2013 9:23 AM CST
I don't know about you all, but I waste sooooooo much time editing and re-wording tweets to fit within their crazy character limit. Aka, hindrance. More so if I want to include a photo or link. That is my prison. If they would just up the character limits to perhaps even 20 more characters, I would tweet more and more. And many communication 'glitches' can be overcome if there is an ability to learn just a little more data about someone's opinion. Twitter is starting to remind me of real life. You start speaking to someone and you are interrupted after 1 sentence. Then heaps of assumptions is extracted based on that one single sentence. The petty fights are not the result of this of course, but I assume this briefness does contribute to it. I bet you if Twitter upped their character limit to 200, more people would use it and more clarity would be gained on opinions.