Monday, February 24, 2014

Why I don't like Twitter so much anymore

Note: this mostly applies to my "dog" Twitter. My writing Twitter is what I find I've been spending a lot more time on, and interacting with people on.

I don't spend a lot of time on my @TheElkaAlmanac Twitter anymore. I'll share peoples' blog posts, and look at specific peoples' accounts to interact with, retweet, whatever, but looking at my feed in general? Not as much anymore. It just kind of depresses and frustrates me.

I've done it to myself, in a way. One's Twitter feed is full of who you've opted to follow, or follow back (I do tend to follow back, my numbers permitting. It's only polite, after all). But with my interest in supporting dog rescue and boosting the signal for people and things like that, I've gotten a lot of follows and such whose tweets I don't want to read. I also don't want to go and unfollow hundreds of people. It's my choice, and I could do it, but it doesn't seem fair. But.

I don't want to see pictures of animal abuse.

I don't want to see endless shares and retweets of online petitions for wolves and whales and what have you. Online petitions (petitions in general?) can and do get ignored.

This last week I saw a lot of posts about the giraffe in Copenhagen who was euthanized. It was a shame, yes, that a young giraffe died. But the conservatorship reasons for it, and the learning experience the zoo made it, were all handled professionally and sensibly, I felt. Sure, I fell prey to the click bait, but then I actually read the stories. I read the zoos reasons for not rehoming, and for euthanizing. It wasn't perfect, I suppose, but I think they're doing what they can. Not every animal can be saved, and this applies to the dog rescue world as well.

I don't want to see WILL DIE TOMORROW retweets of cats and dogs in New York City. The information is not always accurate with these animals. The shelters are not always staffed such that they can be reached for animals to be pulled. And sometimes, the dogs or cats have already been euthanized, before they were ever put on Twitter in the retweet hopes of an 11th hour rescue. It sucks, but it's the way it is sometimes. These things happen whether we want them to or not. I don't think people shouldn't try, but the people who will have the best success are the people who are in New York City that day, and who can go to the shelter. Not somebody in Maine or whatever who saw a dog on Twitter. And this isn't to say a dog or cat has never been saved in this way either, they have. But it's overwhelming.

There are people who have a greater emotional limit for this than I do. I know that. There are people who actually have broken their backs and their hearts working on the front lines of animal rescue, taking owner surrenders, or pulling dogs from shelters, doing transport, making vet trips. I admire these people, and feel they deserve our unending support. They're fighting on the side of the angels, and they're making a difference for dogs and cats (and other animals) every year, sometimes with little thanks.

I'm not intending to whitewash my life. It's unrealistic and disingenuous. But I want to know about some happy news once in awhile. I want to focus on animals that are already safe for awhile. Maybe that makes me a little bit cowardly (God knows I feel like I can't watch Blackfish). But it's the choice I'm making for myself.


  1. I quit twittering a couple years ago. I was getting tweets I didn't want to read either. I didn't want to see bad things either. It was a personal choice. I also felt like nobody was hearing ME either... it was all more like a bulletin board for everybody else. So I just took a hike. I don't think I've ever regretted it. I do not think you're a coward. Its OK to take a break. You need some happier things to look at, to think about, to uplift your spirit-- and I think that takes guts and more strength because it is so much easier to just sink into despair than to swim above the water and stay there. So do what you need to do to stay up there!

  2. Well said. I have unfriended people on Facebook, because I have no desire to see pictures of dead, abused, tortured animals. That and I dislike multiple political posts each day.

  3. Ditto to what Rebekah said. I don't even read blog post about abused animals anymore, it's just too difficult.

  4. Twitter is what you make of it. When I first made my dog twitter, I was annoyed that so many bloggers exclusively use it to promote blog entries. It's also a little cliquish--popular bloggers retweet blog links from other popular bloggers. But I persevered with my posting of actual stuff, and soon enough I found a little core group of "twitter friends." I also love the TweetChats that Jessica at YDWWYW does.

    TL;DR: Unfriend those people (they won't notice)! Come back to Twitter!