Follow NPR’s example and ditch Twitter

What’s the first thing you do on your phone when you wake up? After you turn off your alarm, how long does it take for muscle memory to lead you to a social media app? three, four swipes? Now, ask yourself: what would happen if you didn’t? You may have missed a funny meme or the latest trend or some tidbit of juicy sports gossip. Worse yet, you lose your sense of connection to accounts you consider friends, but that relationship is one-sided, and closer to an imaginary friend as adults.

Best case scenario is that you don’t waste hours of your day scrolling through an endless stream of crap, it doesn’t Subject to the massive amount of hate that powers the internet, and refrain from arguing with @PhillyFan23891 about whether the process was successful. Trust me, the worst day of the best case is better than the best day of the worst case, and I should know. I’ve been Twitter-free for over a year now.

For the sake of transparency, I quit all major social media platforms a year ago for self-preservation and my mental health after I made an egregious, and shameful reporting error that went viral. However, even before my accident, I was off Facebook for a long time, and Twitter and Instagram were deleted from my phone. It didn’t stop me from checking out the latter two apps in the browser or on my tablet, but my feeling of “fuck this shit” had been growing over the years since I realized how excruciating it was to play only on my phone. happened.

Sure, the reactions to the big moments from my favorite players and teams were fun to watch because who doesn’t like their vested interests validated on a national level? And that validation is exactly what we’re looking for on social media. Likes, retweets, shares, reshares, reactions and everything else makes us feel visible. Yet once that post is out of whack, the pleasure subsides, and you’re left trying to think of the next post, picture, or video to get the endorphins pumping in your brain. (I’m not sure endorphin is the right word, but I’m trying to sound smart so give it a go/don’t google it.)

Social media is a repeating cycle, and one that people would probably happily move out of the way if they weren’t addictive. I can say that giving up social media was easy and my quality of life improved immediately, but took serious discipline and a few months to stop thinking about what was happening and what I was missing. (I have a LinkedIn account, but that’s the NA Bear of social media platform.)

It’s like a breakup in that at first you can think about it, and then little by little, it’s getting less and less in your mind before you come to the realization that you can live without that toxicity in you. Life is happy and better. I am all for removing toxic aspects of my life, and nothing is more harmful than Twitter. (I was off Facebook before the 2016 election, and haven’t tried Truth Social, so don’t quote me on that.)

Journalists think they need it for their jobs, and I thought the same. Maybe I’ve missed an idea for a crazy highlight, story, or column, I’ve found that if a story is insanely important, it will get picked up by whatever schmuck ESPN pays to comb social media. , and I’ll see it when it comes out on Google News. And honestly, it’s better to aggregate most Twitter content than try to squeeze 700 words out of it.

a painful experience

When I was on Twitter, I found myself hesitant to speak on a topic because the angle was already taken by another writer. One year on, my outlook has done a 180, and there are two main reasons:

A. I’m not important enough that anyone is going to care about the overarching opinion. Also, it is If the crowd is parroting me then that isn’t contributing to an echo chamber – or at least that’s how I rationalize it.

and b. I think I can write better than most of these jackass, which wasn’t the case a year ago because I was so crippled by insecurity.

hard to believe b While you still have a Twitter handle, because the column is reposted to far from every tweet. I remember I wrote an article about Justin Jefferson and was called a moron or other insult to that effect. Who knows if I was wrong – The Jeffersons’ 2022 season makes me feel like I wasn’t – or if Homedude was A bitter Packers fan, having a bad day, or both, but it’s hard not to notice.

My current approach to appeasing the reader is the opposite, and I don’t care who is offended as long as it gaslights the intended target (usually Philly fans). Obviously, I want to be precise and avoid discrimination. Common sense keeps both of those in check for the most part, and my editors flag things that slip through the workflow.

It’s impossible to tell whether I’m the more popular writer, and I certainly don’t think I’m a few columns away from influencing the national discourse. I don’t have access to page views, and I have zero recruiters knocking on my door to hire me. I have (I think) the respect of my colleagues and the trust of my editors.

Looking back on my quarterly reviews and increasing creative freedom, I believe I’m having a blast and pursuing exactly the career I want. Perhaps if I had stayed the course and remained a Twitter user, the added exposure would have accelerated my brand and footprint. Plus, it’s more about being good at the internet than being a reporter. If you want to make a career out of social media, then pivot to influence.

Progress is extremely difficult to measure without an increase in followers and likes, and I wonder how much bigger an audience I could have attracted if I’d stayed on social media. Most journalists would be lying if they said, “It doesn’t matter whether my work reaches a million people or just one.” However, you have to live accordingly, or else important stories will get pushed out to make way for clickbait.

Sports journalism existed long before social media, and it will be around long after Elon Musk completely turned Twitter into his personal sport. You can either stay on a flaming, sinking ship, and talk about how it’s destroying your career, or you can move on like me and everyone else who has lived in blissful ignorance. option is selected.