When Twitter turned ugly

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” is a fun way for celebs to poke fun at themselves. It’s actually quite hilarious.

But underneath the humor, the segment also reveals the viciousness of the medium.

Of course, the meanness isn’t reserved solely for celebs (though they likely attract more criticism than your average person.)

That’s the focus of my latest column for The Week — how Twitter went from being a virtual tech utopia to being more like high school.

Here’s an excerpt:

 The early adopters might have been tech-utopians, but the succeeding waves were angry cynics and partisan cranks who used the technology to make the world even louder and worse than it was before Twitter.


… It’s a lot like the transformation of the 1960s. It started out being about free love, sharing ideas, and changing the world, but somehow we ended up being more about Altamont and Charles Manson.

I’m not advising everyone to quit Twitter. I won’t. Not now, at least. But my message to anyone who wants to be a sane, productive and decent human being is to not get sucked in — to be intentional about your Twitter usage.

In other words, we must learn to be in this virtual world, but not of this virtual world.

Matt K. Lewis