Sorry Twitter. It Wasn’t Personal. It’s Political.

Leaving the Playground of Our Times

It seems that finally we are having a wider public discussion on the inherent dangers of the social media platform Twitter. A debate that has been certainly galvanised by a recent article from a self-confessed “Twitter Addict” Caitlin Flanagan in The Atlantic, titled “You Really Need to Quit Twitter”. Explaining how she found herself constantly seduced by the platform, Flanagan writes, ‘I know I’m an addict because Twitter hacked itself so deep into my circuitry that it interrupted the very formation of my thoughts. Twenty years of journalism taught me to hit a word count almost without checking the numbers at the bottom of the screen. But now a corporation that operates against my best interests has me thinking in 280 characters. Every thought, every experience, seems to be reducible to this haiku, and my mind is instantly engaged by the challenge of concision’. Realising that the likes of George Orwell would probably have never been found dead on this platform, while also noting the anxiety the platform induces in both its users and those who have the temerity to leave, Flanagan finally realised that ‘Twitter is a parasite that burrows deep into your brain, training you to respond to the constant social feedback of likes and retweets. That takes only a week or two. Human psychology is pathetically simple to manipulate. Once you’re hooked, the parasite becomes your master, and it changes the way you think’. Twitter then not as a mere arbitrary communications outlet; rather as a viral disease for reconfiguring human connections by literally cutting into language and altering the very structure of consciousness itself.

To read this article, log in here or subscribe here.
If you are logged in but can't read CP+ articles, check the status of your access here
In order to read CP+ articles, your web browser must be set to accept cookies.

Brad Evans is a political philosopher, critical theorist and writer, whose work specialises on the problem of violence. His most recent book is: Violence: Humans in Dark Times.

CounterPunch Magazine Archive

Read over 400 magazine and newsletter back issues here

Support CounterPunch

Make a tax-deductible monthly or one-time donation and enjoy access to CP+.  Donate Now

Support our evolving Subscribe Area and enjoy access to all Subscribers content.  Subscribe