I joined twitter dot com in November 2007, which means I’ve been on that cursed website for over 13 years. The thought of still being there 20 years later raises too many uncomfortable questions for me. Truth be told, using Twitter has been a compulsive act for me for a while. And the easiest solution is to simply pull the plug.
The thing that finally pushed me to this point, even though I had considered bidding farewell before, was Twitter banning the president of the United States. Leaving Twitter is in part a small act of protest against a company that thinks they can shape American politics by silencing voices.
No longer will I contribute to the enrichment of Jack Dorsey and his organization. Twitter’s stock value is largely driven by the number of “daily active users.” Well, subtract one from that total now. Also, Jack won’t be making any more ad revenue off of these eyeballs.
With the silencing of conservative voices, the website will become even more of an echo chamber. I don’t want to spend my time in an echo chamber of any political stripe. I’m actually sick of politics. I know I’m just as bad as anyone else at posting knee-jerk reactions to infuriating headlines, but I really don’t want politics to have that much influence on my thoughts and day-to-day life.
I realized a while ago that Twitter is a horrible forum for meaningful conversation. It’s a great way to quickly connect with a large number of people (it’s AMAZING at that), but even the best conversations are flitting and truncated. So, I’m returning to the airy confines of a personal website. Who knows, maybe I’ll just be screaming into the void from a different domain. But if you do still want to keep the conversation going, leave a message here. Just like one of those old-fashioned message boards.
Future historians will wonder how the sexual desires of only three to four percent of the population became the fulcrum on which an entire worldview was dislodged and overturned. A partial answer is that the media are to blame. Back in 1993, a cover story in the Nation identified the gay rights cause as the summit and keystone of the culture war:
All the crosscurrents of present-day liberation struggles are subsumed in the gay struggle. The gay moment is in some ways similar to the moment that other communities have experienced in the nation’s past, but it is also something more, because sexual identity is in crisis throughout the population, and gay people—at once the most conspicuous subjects and objects of the crisis—have been forced to invent a complete cosmology to grasp it. No one says the changes will come easily. But it’s just possible that a small and despised sexual minority will change America forever.
They were right. Tying the gay rights cause to the civil rights movement was a strategic masterstroke. Though homosexuality and race are two very different phenomena, the media took the equivalence for granted and rarely if ever gave opposing voices a chance to be heard. Though the unrelenting media campaign on behalf of same-sex marriage was critically important to its success, it wasn’t the most important thing. Americans accepted gay marriage so quickly because it resonated with what they had already come to believe about the meaning of heterosexual sex and marriage.