#179: Chairs Missing

I’ve never muted a person or topic on Twitter. I’ve constructed an entire social media philosophy around this: If I need to mute someone on Twitter then I believe I shouldn’t be following them at all, and if I find myself wanting to mute a bunch of phrases or topics then it’s probably time to recalibrate my broader approach to the platform or just log off entirely (blocking is different, although I’ve been fortunate not to need that either). Another way of saying this is that if I’m spending a meaningful portion of my waking life on a site like Twitter—which I am—then I want to know exactly how awful it is while I’m there, and if I decide it’s irredeemable, then I’d like to think I’ll stop showing up (although I haven’t yet). This may seem masochistic but I’m comforted by the fact that people who do mute aggressively don’t seem to be enjoying themselves any more than I am—which could be wishful thinking on my part, but maybe also suggests that many of us are bad at identifying what we specifically hate about Twitter or the various other digital environments we inhabit. The algorithm always seems to be one step ahead of us anyway, finding new ways to surprise us with content that we don’t want to see. If you mute one topic, that just creates space for something even worse. And maybe it’s not the word “NFT” you really want to tune out, but something more fundamental and abstract, perhaps something inherent to Twitter itself—OK fine, a vibe.

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