Those of you who know me well know that I keep taking these social media sabbaticals. Once in a while I decide that I’m spending too much time on these platforms, wasting both time and mental energy, and log off. Time has come for yet another such break.
I had a bumper day on twitter yesterday. I wrote this one tweet storm that went viral. Some 2000 plus retweets and all that. Basically I used some 15 tweets to explain Bayes’s Theorem, a concept that most people find really hard to understand.
One class of people who have become loud of twitter of late is what I call the "testing mafia". Every time someone tweets some covid-19 related news that seems mildly positive, they instinctively react "but we aren't testing enough".
I want to take a small maths class here
— Karthik (@karthiks) April 15, 2020
For the last 24 hours, my twitter mentions have been a mess. I’ve tried various things – applying filters, switching from the native app to tweetdeck, etc. but I find that I keep checking my mentions for that dopamine rush that comes out of new followers (I have some 1500 new followers after the tweetstorm, including Chris Arnade of Dignity fame), new retweets and new likes.
And the dopamine rush is frequently killed by hate, as a tweetstorm like this will inevitably generate. I did another tweetstorm this morning detailing this hate – it has to do with the “two Overton Windows” post I’d written a couple of weeks ago.
A few days back I'd written about how the "Overton Window" has split, into what I had termed "Jamie" and "Craig" Overton windows (obviously I had to stick in a sports reference) https://t.co/PfGw0bneXy
— Karthik (@karthiks) April 16, 2020
People are so deranged that even a maths tweetstorm (like the one at the beginning of this post) can be made political, and you see people go on and on.
In fact, there is this other piece I had written (for Mint, back in 2015) that again uses Bayes’s Theorem to explain online flamewars. Five years down, everything I wrote is true.
It is futile to engage with most people on Twitter, especially when they take their political selves too seriously. It can be exhausting, and 27 hours after I wrote that tweetstorm I’m completely exhausted.
So yeah this is not a social media sabbatical like my previous ones where I logged off all media. As things stand I’m only off Twitter (I’ve taken mitigating steps on other platforms to protect my blood pressure and serotonin).
Then again, those of you who know me well know that when I’m off twitter I’ll be writing more here. You can continue to expect that. I hope to be more productive here, and in my work (I’m swamped with work this lockdown) as well.
I continue to be available on WhatsApp, and Telegram, and email. Those of you who have my email or number can reach me in one of those places. For everything else, there’s the “contact” tab on this blog.
See you more regularly here in the coming days!