New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman has had enough of the “anger video game.”
That’s how she describes what it’s like to be on Twitter in these days of heightened partisan bitterness and bickering. So after nearly nine years and 187,000 tweets she’s pulling back from the social media platform. Haberman wrote about her decision in a newspaper column on Friday, and Politico made mention in its Morning Media column on Monday.
With exception of breaking news and my own stories, taking a break from this platform. No reason or prompt other than that it’s not really helping the discourse.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) July 15, 2018
Haberman wrote that Twitter was “distorting discourse” in her mind and there was no way she could “turn off the noise.”
“The viciousness, toxic partisan anger, intellectual dishonesty, motive-questioning and sexism are at all-time highs, with no end in sight. It is a place where people who are understandably upset about any number of things go to feed their anger, where the underbelly of free speech is at its most bilious.
“Twitter is now an anger video game for many users. It is the only platform on which people feel free to say things they’d never say to someone’s face. For me, it had become an enormous and pointless drain on my time and mental energy.”
Anyone who regularly uses the platform surely understands where Haberman is coming from. While glimmers of value can still be found in occasionally illuminating tweets or streams of comedy, for instance, Haberman is right in saying that tone is now overshadowing actual news.
Haberman plans to engage less frequently and in a different way with her 882,000 followers — close to 700,000 of whom she gained since President Trump was elected. On Monday she was mostly retweeting reaction to another development in New York City media — the gutting of the newsroom staff at The New York Daily News.
It is good that elected officials are weighing in about the negative impact this has in NYC. Would have been more helpful had any of those in power done this when reports of looming mass layoffs emerged last week. https://t.co/65oFWaUibf
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) July 23, 2018
Politico also pointed at the modern musings of another Times reporter, with a link to David Streitfeld’s Q&A on the tech he’s using and not using.
Streitfeld admits, even as a tech reporter based in San Francisco, that he doesn’t use a lot of tech. When asked what tech he does use, he said he still marvels at email.
“Another illusion promoted by Big Tech is that everyone is using it,” Streitfeld said. “After all, everyone in America is on Facebook, right? Everyone with an opinion is on Twitter. But most of the people I know aren’t on either. They live in the real world.”
Streitfeld also discusses Amazon and his relationship — especially as a lover of books — with that tech giant.
“They want to take over the world, and they want to keep it all secret. What could possibly be more alluring for a reporter?”
Read the full piece for more of Streitfeld’s insight on buying used books online and trying to raise his young daughter in a tech-free household.