The Case for Letting Cranky Old Men Hate Twitter

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Today the Internet got another one of those trite cases against Twitter, again from someone who doesn't know how to use Twitter because, this time, he's not even on the network. These types of columns that come around every so often evoke the same exact foolproof argument against their stupidity: Twitter is what you make it, so it's your fault if you hate it. The New York Times's Joe Nocera makes it particularly easy to take down his column with this argument because he admits he doesn't even use the service. Nocera: You can't hate Twitter, if you don't get Twitter. But, this time, maybe it's time to let the crank-ball hate the terrible digital media thing that "exacerbates our society-wide attention deficit disorder." 

Of course, his argument is flawed for all the usual reasons, but Nocera has demonstrated that he has no interest in hearing any constructive criticism of his columns. "If you are mocked on Twitter and you don’t know it, have you really been insulted?" he asks. The answer to that rhetorical question in the case of Nocera is no. He doesn't like Twitter because he doesn't want to hear mean, or critical, or thoughtful things said about his writing. Even though a column is precisely the kind of journalism that should be a part of discussion. The very kinds of discussions that happen on Twitter every day.

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So, there's really no point in heading on over to Twitter to call him a crank. Or putting up a blog post about his outdated view of the world and then having it tweeted out so that people see and read it. He won't hear it and doesn't want to. "Ignorance was bliss," he writes, referring to the time before another @JoeNocera on Twitter started sending him some of the feedback he was missing out on. 

Let's just let the old guy be old and fall into blissful obscurity. Plus, if he's not on Twitter, we can ignore any and all cranky-old-man things he has to say, confining his columns to a closed system, where only people who seek him out will read him. Imagine if this guy got his hands on an account: Then we'd have to listen to his complaining all day, every day. Totally ignorable column-sized doses are a lot easier to handle. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.