Social Media

I Want Twitter to Be an Enjoyable Experience

After President Obama won his first presidential election in 2008, my Facebook feed was littered with people threatening to move to Canada, complaining about having a liberal without a U.S. birth certificate for a president. That is when I first truly began to appreciate the “unfriend” feature and its role in helping me set boundaries. I am almost-constantly checking my phone: popping in and out of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, G-chat, email and texts. Because of that, I place a high priority on keeping these spaces constructive. Life outside of social media is frustrating enough—I don’t need Instagram to be a place of frustration too. While there is certainly a time and a place for productive civil disagreements and exchanging ideas, I believe these conversations are best left for instances that aren’t limited to likes, comment sections, or 140 characters. I find it nearly impossible to have that kind of constructive interaction on social media, especially on Twitter. The beginnings of these conversations? Sure. Conversations about Michigan football games and Beyonce’s amazing-ness? Of course. I use Twitter as a place to keep up on news and pop culture, joke with friends, and share pieces that I enjoyed reading or writing. It’s also a great place to get a glimpse of the thoughts and perspectives of leaders in education—something that I truly value about it. When it becomes, however, a full-blown debate about the use of student growth in evaluations or the role of the federal government in education or some other equally contentious subject? No, thank you. There are, however, a number of folks who are more than happy to debate any issue on Twitter, at length. And this is a perfectly reasonable way to use Twitter—there are some people who are great at getting their point across this way. It just isn’t for me. Unfortunately, these conversations frequently devolve into personal attacks, misrepresentation of facts and events, and unfortunate assumptions based on small pieces of information. So sometimes I unfollow people. Sometimes I mute people. Sometimes I block people. Plain and simple: If someone regularly engages in a way that I don’t enjoy seeing on my timeline, I remove them from it. If I’m ever curious about whether they’ve changed their ways or what their opinion is on a specific topic, I seek them out. But at the end of the day, my Twitter feed is my place to take in what’s happening in the world, and I want it to be an enjoyable experience, as defined by me.
Valentina Payne
Valentina Payne joined Bellwether Education Partners in 2021 as chief of staff to Andy Rotherham on the External Relations team. Prior to Bellwether, she spent seven years at brightbeam, where she most recently served as its chief growth officer, overseeing operations, finance, fundraising, and strategic growth of the organization.

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