, 11.05.2019 08:59 AM

Turned off, logged out

I turned off Twitter and Instagram, and logged out of Facebook, last month.  Click.  Bye.

Now, that was the first paragraph.  In the second paragraph, you are perhaps expecting me to write that I sleep better, eat better, and that I am now capable of great insights into the human condition.  That I read a dozen books a day, I commune with spirits, and I am planning a Scottish tour of my punk band in the coming months.

None of that is true.  (Although the part about the punk tour actually is.  More on that at a future date.)

On Twitter, I had – and perhaps still have, I don’t know – about 42,000 followers.  I had maxxed out on Facebook followers, and had three platforms there.  But turning them off was pretty easy.  I don’t miss ’em.

Often, people turn off Twitter because they’ve tweeted something they regret.  Elon Musk is one of those.  One of his tweets cost him $20 million or something.  Here he is tweeting about how he doesn’t think tweeting is a good idea.

My bet?  He’ll be back.

For me, turning off social media was simply good for my soul.  For one weekend in October, journalists who had devoted months to documenting the racism and bigotry of Maxime Bernier and his political party did a whiplash-inducing volte-face, and decided to depict Maxime Bernier and his political party as victims.

Thereafter, the winged monkeys in Bernier’s cabal went crazy, and unleashed a barrage of threats and hate.  It got so bad, my EA had to change her phone number.

That’s all Bernier’s ilk can do, really: spew hate on social media.  They’re keyboard warriors.  They’re not so good at actually winning over Canadians in real life, as it turns out.

Now, in this paragraph – the tenth, I think – don’t expect me to lament how social media has become horrible and mean and nasty.  Don’t expect me to express surprise. Social media has always been horrible and mean and nasty.  That’s the one thing social media excels at: being mean.

And anyone who ever expected something else make me roll my eyes. Every January, for example, journalists are moved to contact the inventors of the Internet – to wit, when ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983 – and they all express profound sadness, and surprise, that pornographers and Klansmen would embrace a medium that was (a) global (b) immediate (c) unregulated and (d) basically free.

Hear that?  That’s the sound of me rolling my eyes.

Anyway.

Every morning, and every night, I hear from lots of people who say they miss reading me on social media.  They express hope that I’ll come back.  They say they understand, because social media is horrible.

And I’ll sometimes write back and say: I didn’t leave because it was horrible.  It was always horrible.  And I’ve been exposing and opposing racists, anti-Semites, homophobes, Holocaust deniers, misogynists and Islamophobes for more than three decades, so I’ve kind of gotten used to horrible.  I know how to push back at horrible people, too.  I’m not bad at it.

And, just so we’re clear: I’m talking about platforms, not talking.  I’m going to keep doing this web site.  I’m a keynote speaker at a political conference this weekend.  I’m on a political panel at a big conference on Monday.  I’ve got another book, my tenth, coming out next month.  In other words, I plan to keep shouting at passerby – but how?

So, a question.  What do you, regular readers of this nearly-twenty-years-old-website-that-isn’t-a-blog, want me to do?  Come back to those platforms, or no? Yes to Twitter, no to Facebook? The reverse? Instagram Joey pictures and nothing else?

I read every comment y’all make.  Every one.  Most I approve, the defamatory and stupid ones I don’t.  There are rules, you know.

So, tell me what you think.  I may put up a poll to solicit views, but those Internet polls are total crap, as you know.  They’re wildly wrong, 20 times out of 20.

Comment away instead.  And, I may or may not share your comments with Elon Musk.

Not sure he’ll listen, but maybe it’ll save him a few million bucks.

36 Comments

  1. Ron Benn says:

    Warren, I don’t participate in social media, so I don’t miss your Twitter, Facebook and other social media account musings (my Facebook account was set up so that I could post comments on PostMedia sites – something I no longer bother with).

    I do read your website (not a blog) on a daily basis. It is part of my morning reading list. I especially enjoy your insights into what happens behind the curtain in political party planning.

    You don’t need me (or any of us) to tell you to do what is best for Warren Kinsella, or your family, or your employees. You already know that banging you head on a wall gives you a headache, and that when you stop, it feels better.

  2. NeinerNeiner1 says:

    Hi Warren.

    I’m one of those ones who misses you on Twitter.

    I would really like to see you return to Twitter. I enjoy the information you share & you are one I am able to learn from.

    I am strict on myself when it comes to Twitter. I only follow & stay following those who I feel l can either contribute to what they say, or I can learn from them.

    I do my best to stay out of the shallow end of Twitter.

    Out of all the platforms, I find Twitter to be the most “mature”. I think because the characters are limited & people have to get to the point.

    I also think on social media, you had some loyal followers. Who were supportive of your work, you as a person etc. I worried when you left that you lost that, which when feeling low we usually need all the positivity we can get.

    An idea I had for Twitter. If you keep your page locked down. You would have to approve followers, your tweets would be protected so no one but your approved followers could see them.

    Your previous account still should be up. Lock it down, prune your list of any weeds & away you go again.

  3. Peter says:

    Unless you have business reasons to go back, I’d stay away for your sanity and health and concentrate on this site. Speedier moderation might encourage more good exchanges. But why do I suspect I might just as well encourage Rocky to stay out of the ring?

  4. Pipes says:

    I am old now and was buried after retirement so social media means absolutley nothing to me. However, everyone around me cant get their gobs away from their phone for 10 minutes. I find it vicariously voyeuristic and a convenient place for cowards, haters and friendless losers to express themselves will tapping out kaka with their cheesey stained hotdog fingers while wearing their mommy-made meat loaf stained wife beater t shirts.

    But enough from me-you need to do what you think is right-for you! You will find when you retire no one will want to speak or read you anyway….

  5. Fred from BC says:

    Like Ron, Pipes and a few others here, I have no use for social media myself and consider it to be the bane of polite society.

    That said, you run a PR firm and since communications is your bread and butter you don’t have much of a choice here; between the thousands of followers and millions of mentions…you pretty much have to go back, don’t you? But not until you’re good and ready. You don’t owe Twitter or Facebook a thing, and this website that you go out of your way to build and maintain is much appreciated by all of us here.

    • Warren says:

      You guys are awesome.

    • Peter says:

      Very well said, Fred. I think we all want Warren to know we have his back before he slips back down the rabbit hole.

    • karlt says:

      Fred,

      Could not have said it better. So thank you!

      Warren, as a few have noted, this site is considered daily reading for what I would expect are many of us. For my part, I appreciate the depth that you are able to go into in more than 280 characters. Whilst Twitter may be a valuable form of communication that you deem important in the long-term, it holds no appeal for me.

      As always, your insight and opinion is appreciated, so for those of us who have regularly read your website-not-a-blog for years, thank you.

      -k-

  6. It’s not for me to tell you what to do. I really enjoy this website, but mostly for the comments but you deserve credit to keeping the comment quality high while still diverse and freewheeling.

    I also enjoy discussing politics on Twitter, although I stopped following Warren a while ago because his going on and on about the SNC thing took up too much of my feed.

  7. Mike Adamson says:

    It’s up to you of course. I read your postings here and I’m glad you will continue. I followed you on Twitter and enjoyed reading your comments but I’ll survive if you don’t return. I never saw your stuff on Facebook or Insta so that’s no loss. You are the expert of your own life so do what you think is best for you.

  8. Derek Pearce says:

    I don’t do Twitter or Insta, and while I followed you on Fbook I’ve mostly kept my participation in discussions on things you write to the site here. Itsna little bit handy to seenstuff from you pop up in my feed but not absolutely necessary.I think Fbook is easier to moderate/block than Twitter no? Whatever makes you happier and healthier, do that, even if means staying away from all platforms.

  9. PK says:

    I have a neighbor who is alt-right. He helped me when i had cancer – i say hello he lives next door, we talk politics – i disagree, but not in anger – what’s the point – I’m a liberal, not a party cheerleader but I usually vote Liberal because I have progressive views. The toxic atmosphere is that the people you stand next to are going to define your political or ideological views, not at party meetings, but in everyday life – that’s the standard and it’s propaganda all day, in Alberta, from either side, looking for people to malign. Absolutely toxic –

  10. Steve says:

    As much as I liked reading your snappy reparte and comebacks on Twitter, I do appreciate the longer-form content of your website, and the fact that there appears to be more of it now that you’re off of social media.

    I’m not a big social media user anyway (old school, I guess), so getting my Kinsella fix on your website is probably enough. The only thing that might not work is when stories are breaking; but then again, maybe it’s better to focus on stuff once it’s been confirmed as not fake.

  11. Sue Redpath says:

    I miss reading your twitter account Warren. It was always the first one I read every morning with my coffee. I respect your opinions and intelligent observations. I very seldom comment on twitter but it would be lovely if you came back . Your honesty and integrity always came through in your tweets, and I know you have helped many people. You are a good person Mr. Kinsella and I admire your courage.

  12. Warren,

    IMHO, this is a two-part question: most importantly, what does your better half, mother and children think you should do? Is there family close to unanimity on that front? Wise consensus always speaks volumes.

    Lastly, Kinsella is known for his gut. What has it been consistently telling you, since you bid social media au revoir?

  13. Chris says:

    You know every time you make a post like this people are going to line up and kiss your ass, and you don’t seem to approve the ones that run counter to that.

    You’ve become addicted to the validation.

    You are an incredible writer, save your works for something less fleeting than a stupid twitter or facebook feed.

    Stay away from silly social media.

  14. Robert White says:

    I’m into Cybernetic Theory & Information Theory due to tertiary education. My informed opinion is that you should reinstate yourself back on all the communications nodes that you have temporarily disconnected from. Go back to all of the nodes with a decision rule in place that allows you to recede into non-communications mode when you get irked, or are too busy to bother with the stressors.

    Read Symbols, Signals, & Noise: The Nature & Process of Communication 1961.

    Information Theory is the greatest scientific tool to use for problem solving via anything Internet related.

    Lastly, you are a teacher/professor, Warren. Professors profess & teachers teach.

    Cheers, Robert

  15. Dawn Mills says:

    Paraphrasing the genius Bill Belichik, I don’t use Instabook or Facetwit. This website is hard enough. (those Captcha thingys are a royal pain, and prove what, exactly?)

    Keep walking the dogs, loving your wife and kids and all will be well.

    • I suspect Facebook and Twitter are the major source of new readers and commenters to this site. A look at the refurer logs would tell you.

      The Captcha are odd. They seem easy to OCR, but the system used may be so old and obscure, bots aren’t programmed to handle it.

  16. Darcy Wallace in Moncton NB says:

    Dear Mr Kinsella,

    Thank you for playing a role in distracting Ol’ Swastika Eyes from Beauce, QC. Every moment the PPC folks spent obsessing about Daisy Group was a moment they were not engaged in their Get Out The Vote initiative. They lost and you played a part in that. The nice folks at Daisy Group endured harassment and intimidation. This Canadian thanks you for your contribution.

    A conspiracy theory, where they play a starring role, is bait too delicious to resist for those human raccoons.

  17. Des says:

    I miss you on Twitter. I find myself on it less now that you’re not there, actually. But I wouldn’t come back unless you’re ready though. But always remember, there are the block and mute functions. I don’t have a lot of followers so I don’t have to worry about that too much, but they could be more useful for people with a big following such as yourself.

  18. John Lawson says:

    Warren,
    You should go back on twitter. One of your strengths is your writing. My advice WRT Twitter would be to have a core plan for twitter and stick to it. I observe many people get distracted with twitter due to the 288 character limit. Some days you seem hazardous and combative on twitter. Every tweet should align with your plan and you should be able to answer the questions — ” Am I better off for sending this tweet? — Is it making a contribution ? and is it aligned with my plan.

  19. Ginny Balfour says:

    All I’ll say on this is I do miss reading & on odd occasions responding to your tweets Warren. What you do next, I leave it all up to you. But do please post the odd Joey pic, they do cheer me up.

  20. Joe H says:

    While I miss you on the Twitter and FB, I understand why you unplugged. I take extended breaks from social every once in a while because of the ugliness.

  21. Todd Robson says:

    We all need to go back to MySpace .

    Apparently it’s so lame, there’s not any political haters there.

    Worked for Dane Cook …

  22. Dave Gilbert says:

    Warren,

    I think you need to do what is good for you, and what is good for your health. Don’t worry about your followers.
    Those of us that enjoy hearing/reading what you have to say will find you, no matter where you decide to go.
    Obviously keeping in touch with the general public is important. At least the general public that is sane. So you need to figure out which platform allows you to do that effectively.
    And remember what Sir Winston Churchill once said…
    “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”

  23. Mike Jeffries says:

    As a physician I see social media as like a drug. Every ‘like’, every positive comment, and every retweet can have a psychotropic effect with a resultant dopamine surge which can like porn be addicting.
    Of course the opposite happens with negativity causing depression, anxiety, and loss of self esteem resulting in anger and rage.
    Sometimes professional help is required to answer whether one should participate or not.

  24. Sean van der Lee says:

    Good evening Warren,
    So far this year I have deactivated my twitter for 5 months. I was busy with work and frankly twitter doesn’t matter that much to me, it’s a website! I will deactivate again when I lose interest and probably come back again. All good!
    Come back if you want. If you don’t want deactivate again. Keep moving forward whatever you do and enjoy!
    Your friend
    Sean

  25. Richard Roberts says:

    I like reading your musings and articles in the paper. Since I have never tweeted and use facebook to see what my former students are up to, I don’t care if you never go back to them. The website is great.

  26. Matt Jones says:

    Hi Warren,

    The only social media posts of yours I see are the ones you re-post here; I do however read this non-blog regularly.
    Cheers,
    Matt

  27. Greg Reuvekamp says:

    Oh man, I sure hope your band is going to be in Edinburgh mid March. If so, I am so there!

  28. Sonya says:

    I left Twitter and FaceBook around the time the campaign started and I doubt I’ll be back in any real form. I don’t miss them. I will likely use them to promote events or organizations I care about, but that’s it.

    Instagram is good fun. I like being passively engaged in nice things that people share. I’d enjoy pictures of your favourite place on earth, Joey, mysterious donut heists, and the wonderful Missus. Or whatever you feel like posting. That’s the fun of Instagram. Even the “here’s what I had for breakfast” stuff is pleasantly banal.

  29. MATT GOERZEN says:

    Go back on Twitter — and if you like, Facebook. It will annoy all the right people.

  30. David says:

    Hey Warren;

    As one of your followers, I do miss reading you on Twitter, but I understand why you got off it, and I don’t blame you for doing it. Hopefully, you’ll be back someday. You’ve done a lot of good on social media.

    Are you going to be doing the Kinsellacast again?

  31. John says:

    I quit Facebook last Christmas and on Twitter I only look at a few reporters once in a while. Don’t miss either at all. They’re sewers. I’m not going back and I wouldn’t if I were you either.

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