Jump off the Twitter ‘brandwagon’

Editor-in-Chief shares his opinions about opinions

Twitter has ruined our ability to have opinions.
What? You want more? A one-liner isn’t a sufficient opinion for you, let alone the editor? Fine.
Last semester, I made the heinous mistake of implying to an acquaintance of mine that the pizza at Brooks had improved over the course of the semester.
“No, it’s so bad,” they responded. “I never eat it, but it’s just not good.”
I could have sat there all day and argued how the crust has been more consistently cooked through, is generally less burnt and is not at all a frozen pizza shell anymore. But I was talking to a brick wall, and I knew it. I had encountered what I’ve come to call a “Twitter opinion” — a reductive take truncated by a short word limit, making it oh-so-easy to misunderstand or misrepresent.
For nearly two decades now, a little blue bird has taught us that if our thoughts cannot be summarized in 140 characters — 280 if you’re feeling particularly verbose — no one cares to see them. Through the power of this reductive thinking, the only options that seem viable are to brand yourself a supporter of the opinion or an ardent denier.
It’s not my goal to indict Twitter — I’m sure they’ll do that themselves soon enough — because these aren’t just the opinions that dwell on Twitter. They are simply human disposition.
The problem rests in the scope of it all. We build walls around ourselves and our supporters, aim the barrel of our reply cannon directly at the enemy encampment, and enter a battle for glorious bragging rights that this opinion is in fact the correct one, all because we want to be noticed in the sea that is the internet.
The internet, to me, is like a plastic telescope you win at the county fair. It cannot be relied upon for precision or clarity. When you point it at a dog 30 feet ahead of you, you will indeed see something, but because the mirrors inside are cheap and poorly aligned, whatever reaches your eyes will always be off-center and blurry. But, most telescope users — that is, internet users — do not stop to wonder if the inner workings of the telescope are the problem. Instead, they throw their hands in the air and claim that the dog must be ugly, then go around kicking every dog at the fair until they are hauled away by security and banned from the fairgrounds. After all, you’re more likely to remember the dog-kicker at the fair than any of the carnies.
Bottom line: opinions are starting to feel more and more like a ploy to stand out, a false personality trait to signal which camp you’re in so you can either find another friend or make an enemy. I’m guilty of this — I’ve constructed my opinion into this article because it feels nice to know that readers will nod along with each sentence and leave a comment telling me I’m right and I’m brilliant. I want people to like me so I have friends and get a sense of fulfillment through not being alone in life.
But that’s not realistic — the part about everyone agreeing with me; jury’s still out on the being-alone thing — and I wouldn’t want it to be because there’s so much joy to be had in seeing things from another person’s perspective. But the walls went up as soon as I didn’t agree that Brooks pizza is bad and now I’m left wondering if the texture is the issue, or maybe the flavor, or the lack of diverse toppings. The opportunity to gain that knowledge is gone, though. What a waste of shared experience.
This year, I’m going to stop arguing for the sake of arguing. I’m going to keep my walls down and really seek to understand more perspectives. I’m going to avoid making a mediocre, simplistic worldview my personal brand. Changing your mind doesn’t invalidate you, and neither does disagreeing with somebody. Life experience is subjective, anyway, and sharing how I think things through, what I feel and what I see is the only real way to stand out as an individual.
I hope you hear from me again soon. I hope to hear from you, too. Until then, give Brooks pizza a try and let me know if you think it’s gotten better. You know what I think, but then again, I could be wrong. There’s a chance I’ve only had bad pizza all my life, and my acquaintance has never had Dominos.