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In a culture of Internet toxicity, a question all productivity-minded people should ponder is why they are participating in social platforms. For example, Twitter has become a predominantly negative cesspool. Even the pun-loving techies I monitor from a distance seem to lean increasingly toward darkness and anger.

Few rainbows are to be found on Twitter these days. Maybe it’s just the dark mode UI talking, but I don’t go there to laugh anymore. I don’t go there to connect with friends. Instead, I put on my virtual armor, and read through comments and responses directed at me or my company. To be sure, much of what I see is fine. However, many comments are meant to start fires, even when couched in smiling niceties.

That’s the Internet for you. We’ve always had flame wars, trolls, and haters, all the way back to my dial-up days on Delphi forums and AOL. I know how to block and mute people, and of course that helps. Even so, I find that there’s something different in the tone these days. Folks are on crusades to bring others down. To shame. To burn in digital effigy.

To destroy.

When toxicity spills over into my timeline despite my best filtering efforts, my head goes to a bad place. I lose focus on work, finding myself instead brooding on the dark proclamations of the vocal bitter who wield hashtags as cudgels.

Why am I on this platform? Why am I participating in social media’s culture of toxicity, even passively?

I’ve had answers for this in years past–the “good outweighing the bad” argument winning me back repeatedly. Lately? I’m not sure that holds up. Social media is largely a destructive force, designed to deliver advertisements, arguments, and addiction. Considering those selling points, no one would purchase the product.

What, exactly, is the point then? Others have asked themselves this question and have opted out. Some I know personally. Some I’ve read about. The common theme among these folks? None have reported regret for having walked out of the toxic mire that can depress the mind and rob productivity.

Yes, I still have a Twitter account, but I can no longer explain why, at least not in a way that stands up to intellectual rigor. The issue is becoming harder to ignore.

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