Twitter Change May Help Break The Bad Habit

Twitter. Can’t live with it. But starting to learn to live without it.

How are things going? This is an actual quote from an actual news story in several leading national outlets including the New York Times:

“A email to Twitter’s communications department seeking comment was returned with a poop emoji.”

Not long ago, I would have used that platform for PR analysis to tell you that this is the antithesis of sound communication during a time of change, like the one that Twitter foisted on its users over the weekend.

But now, if you are like many a Twitter user these days, you’d wish death upon me (Last August, I was told to “drop dead” after tweeting an opinion), spew antisemitism in my direction (I was lectured by random strangers, none of them appeared to be Jewish, on what “really” qualifies in that regard) or proclaim Elon Musk a “patriot” or some such nonsense.

After dealing with what appeared to be yet another technical glitch, Twitter has now imposed, it appears (but we can never know for sure) something called a “rate limit.” Get this – limiting the amount of content that users get to see via the platform, unless you pay up. What value does that bring remaining advertisers? That is a mystery. What does paying up get you? Other than a bigger limited, it’s what’s left of real-time news and information, which has become the only redeeming value of the site, amid a lot of hate speech and bad grammar.

All of this is fine for the 90 percent of the U.S. that, lucky for them, stays off Twitter. For for the rest of us, so many tied in some way to the news business, it’s a quandary. Twitter has become something of an – and I don’t use this term lightly – addiction. This weekend, as all of this was going down, I was trying to keep up with NBA and NFL free agency news. That’s the farthest thing from life and death content but over the past decade and a half, I have gotten hooked to getting it this way along with, well, basically every other piece of information I find relevant.

I’ve been trying to wean myself off the platform for weeks. I decided in June to all but curtail original posts. Because so many are apparently doing the same, it didn’t affect my life, personal or professional, one iota except having to stop myself from what had become habitual action.

My profile now reads as follows:

Used to tweet a lot about PR, crisis, media, business & sports. But death wishes & antisemitism now get in the way. Thanks to journos for still posting news.

Musk bought a global communications tool and has turned it into his toy. At the same time, the state in which I live now has a new distracted driving law that prohibits any touching of your device while behind the wheel. Twitter can literally be dangerous. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever gotten a “fix” while driving. Maybe Musk is doing the right favor at the right time by helping to break the Twitter habit?