Jordan Peterson's quote on twitter

I opened up a journal last night that I hadn't written in for a couple of years, since late 2020. The last thing I wrote in it was interesting. It was a quote from an interview with Jordan Peterson, as follows: "Twitter's a strange social network. I've kind of pulled myself away from it. It's not an easy place to conduct yourself with as much grace as you might, and I think it sort of rewards impulsivity. Maybe it's because of the constraint on characters, or something like that. So I think people tend to show their worst on twitter, and some of that's a consequence of the structure of the technology." It felt pretty poignant for where we find ourselves today with Twitter, and these other social networks. In recent weeks I've been attempting to show up on twitter as myself, and gently and organically connecting with others. This is how I used the platform, along with Wordpress (my first blog was on there), back in 2015. I've since made some deep connections online through Twitter. I've made friendships with people I've never met. I've felt connection and a sense of community. Twitter has been special for me. There are so many wonderful interactions I've had and warm acquaintances and friends I've made on there. There are folks from all over the world, from all walks of life, you can find on twitter. That, in and of itself, is wondrous. There are many fellow writers and creatives and sensitives I've met on twitter, and I've met others who I share less in common with, too. At its best, twitter can be a friendly village or town hall. That's how I remember it, and that's how I am choosing to think of it. On the other hand, I notice how distracted I can get. Clicking on a hashtag and coming across an explosive argument, or a polarising take, or the latest piece of news. I have to be mindful of not letting myself be exposed to too much of this stuff. Before I know it, it can derail and distract me, and get in the way from the specialness of twitter that I described in the previous paragraph. I'm continuing to feel out my use of twitter. I've noticed recently that I'm not seeing the tweets of those I follow as much as I used to, so I may revert to lists to help me use it more mindfully. Dr. Peterson's words still ring true, perhaps even more than they did a couple of years ago when he spoke in that interview. I've recently returned to a twitter account I've not used for a while, and I'm getting used to gently sharing my words, and stripping into interactions with a spirit of openness and curiosity. How we choose to show up in the real world, or the digital world, can go a long way. Here's to spending time in warm villages and town halls, and creating a sense of community for ourselves and others around us. With the right focus, outlook and approach, I believe we can all be a part of that, and that these digital spaces can continue to be special ones. by,
Jas
// 6th January, 2023