How to Make Twitter Good: Do It Yourself

Dominic Lipinski/ZUMA

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I’m sure I’ve said this before—maybe on Twitter!—but we should all pay a whole lot less attention to Twitter. A lot less. Stop obsessing about it. Stop arguing endlessly on it. Stop following hundreds of people, many of whom are stone assholes. Stop getting upset because one or two—or a few dozen—people say something nasty about you. Stop thinking you might change minds or win arguments on Twitter.

Just stop. Twitter represents the American id, to a certain extent, and if you voluntarily decide to dive into our national id and swim around in the muck, that’s fine. But know it for what it is, and don’t bother the rest of us with your discoveries. We all know that there are lots of assholes out there.

For the rest of you, follow these rules:

  • A “meme” doesn’t exists unless at least 10,000 people have repeated it on Twitter. In the Twitterverse, 10,000 is about equal to 100 in the ordinary world.
  • Follow people you like following. Ditch all the rest.
  • If you’re a thin-skinned type, block people with abandon. Don’t allow any second chances. If they say something mean, block ’em. You owe them nothing.
  • Don’t argue with assholes. This is actually just general advice for a healthier life, but it’s super-good advice for Twitter.

I’m not sure why I suddenly felt the need to repeat this. I guess it’s because we’re going through another round of how horrible Twitter is and how horrible @Jack is, but honestly, Twitter is only as horrible as you allow it to be. It can be the worst place in the world or it can be a modest part of your life that’s good for an occasional laugh or some handy information. The folks at Twitter will probably never change, but that doesn’t mean we have to just accept what they give us. With a small amount of effort, it’s not that hard to make Twitter into something that’s personally fun and useful.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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