“The Screaming Hellsite”

First I should probably dispel the widely-accepted notion that I was “harassed” off of Twitter. The truth is, I deleted my account on a whim, and I un-deleted my account on a whim. There was no grand plan in either direction, which I’m not proud of, because that’s not a good way to do business.

It did have to do with Ta-Nehesi Coates, however, and also the wider discussion of what we gain from using Twitter in the first place. I woke up the morning of December 20th to a fervent discussion regarding Ta-Nehisi Coates’s decision to leave “The Hellsite”, as it has become known to many who use it, and all I could think was, why does his decision need to be significant? The misery of the Twitter experience was no longer worth any potential benefits to Coates, so he left.

And then, in a moment of epiphany, I realized that Twitter was a massive source of unhappiness for me, as well. It wasn’t like I was getting tons of bile in my mentions, or at least any more than I usually do, but rather there was the unhappiness concurrent with the act of using Twitter. Half of my timeline is impotent rage at the state of the world, and the other half is about the attendant misery of simply being on Twitter.

And I wondered, why am I doing this to myself? Why is anyone doing this to themselves? So I deleted it. It’s pretty telling that I un-deleted it to complain about The Discourse surrounding the Golden Globes. For Christ’s sake, we call it “The Hellsite” – why are we spending so much time and energy on a platform we have nicknamed according to the widely-accepted pain and misery that come with its use?

The flipside of this is, of course, that it doesn’t matter. Twitter’s user base is so large that no mass act of protest, let alone one user, will yield any change. Nothing will. Misery and anger is baked into the very coding of the platform at this point, because misery and anger means engagement, and engagement is Twitter’s endgame.

It’s also fallacious to act like Twitter is a tool I can really afford to throw away on a whim.

But I think it’s also useful for everyone, not just me, to reevaluate how we use Twitter. It does turn into a compulsion, almost an addiction, and I still wonder at how many hours I wasted just scrolling through my timeline, being ground down by the misery and anger everyone projects, but how doggedly determined everyone is not to leave. I’m not magically happy and enlightened all of a sudden, but I am trying to evaluate how I use the platform. It should, at the very least, not be more miserable than any potential benefits.

  • Matrim

    Well, selfishly I’m glad you’re back, I generally enjoyed your tweets and the occasional interactions, and as a brand it’s pretty hard not to have a twitter presence, but if it’s a net negative you should keep clear (or at least not read the timeline and just use it for your business). Either way, I hope you do what’s health for you.

  • Cwhitfill

    Take all the breaks from the screaming hellsite you need to. Grinding yourself down is also bad for business. And even if I’m wrong and forever enduring the hellsite is good business, fuck good business. Treat yo self.

  • kaoruchan180

    Tumblr is more the hell site I cannot escape but causes me distressed personally. The problem with social media is you are basically forced to be on x platform based on where your friends went. After 5 years of tumblr a ton of friends are tumblr only, when I finally drop the site we will possibly lose touch like people I knew once on livejournal and deviantart when I switched to tumblr.

    It really is bad though, both sites have a major issue of nothing being seperated off like it would be on a bbs forum or something like reddit. Obviously there are downsides to that, mostly subsections going off the rails and no one doing anything because they aren’t in that section, but the tumblr/twitter model is possibly worse for your mental health.

    No separation means you are basically at the mercy of who you follow. Even with mutes and blacklists you CANNOT block all upsetting content, whether it be shit like political hell news or just obnoxious fandom crap. Something that is a minor disagreement with a friend becomes your whole feed as they spam something about it. Since the election this has amped up A LOT too, like people are less charitable and more snarky now. Lets not even try to empathize with other people and just make offensive sweeping statements I guess.

  • Jon

    I assumed the geostorm was responsible for your brief absence

  • Sans_Fi

    Thanks for coming back. In times like these we kinda need Lindsay Ellis’ voice. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c790b5b3cbe88bfc2c952d3924a411596d2f123707b259888c79d2dd246edcd9.jpg

    • Scott Ricketts

      This is perfect.

  • Rimmi SheRex

    Also glad you’re back. You’re one of the reasons why I hop on the damned thing. You and the Kiffness. He’s so cute ^_____^

  • Baked Potato Ver. 4.0

    I never really caught on to the whole web 2.0 thing of putting your real name to things. And while i have moved past the mundies cowding my internet. (A lot of them being closet freaks anyway) the whole “openness” of facebook and twitter have always rubbed me the wrong way.

    But then again this generation seems to have masochism and martyrdom baked in. Its hard not to feel like this is the same level of decadance like before the fall of Rome.

    Glad to see ya back on, but you may want to just do a mailing list.

  • UnbrokenPrecureClues I Refuse

    When I joined twitter, I’d already been privy to the accounts and tweets of my brother’s friends, and I noticed a lot of nice people who coped with difficulties like sadness and persecution and work and relationships and depression and all sorts of things. So when I began to tweet, I decided I’d be very positive and friendly and cheerful and open and keep trying to engage people in conversation to maybe make them feel a bit better. It’s been a while since then but I do still get people telling me that they like my personality and friendliness and happy exclamation marks! So I at least have that feeling that I’m doing some good for some people. And honestly, being pleasant to others makes me feel good too. It’s no secret I have my own dramas and the world is full of bad news these days, but when I can wish someone good luck with their work or tell them to have a nice day when they head out and “welcome back” when they return, it’s nice. I hope I can keep being a good twitter friend for people in the future!

  • No-Personality

    Three. Billboards.

    Goodnight, Irene.

  • diamond

    Good to see you back, don’t blame you for leaving.

    About the black dresses things, it’s not just people outside the industry criticizing it, Rose McGowan was also pretty harsh with her criticisms and I can understand where she is coming from.

    • Gonzo79

      McGowan is a vacuous narcissist.

  • Clélia Gurdjian

    Welcome back, Lindsay! I only joined Twitter myself recently as I as told it was compulsory for anyone wanting to work in Publishing, and I definitely get the whole anger and misery thing. You’re the only Youtuber who I really actively follow and care about so I’m glad I’ll be enjoying your tweets again. I love that you have a “Writing Projects” section on this website; it’s amusing too, as I wrote a whole marketing plan in the context of my Publishing MA for a fictive book of yours (that sounded a bit creepy, sorry). Wish you all the best and thank you for creating such compelling content!

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