Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce – author, poet, painter


Day 353

Whilst my dear friend Ren writes eloquently and with gravitas about living without social media, I have spent most of my weekend and today thinking about my deliberate absence from twitter (thinking in the background, not obsessively in the foreground). Let me explain.

Since Musk took over twitter, there has been a flood of right-wing, libertarian, and racist tweets appearing on my timeline by people I don’t even follow, by people who aren’t even followed by people I follow (yes, I have been lurking to see what’s happening). There’s a feeling of extreme lawlessness about the place, of anyone having the freedom to say whatever they want, the untruer the better. And yet people remain on there whom I admire, people whose voices deserve to be heard, people who have serious inclusive messages to spread, people wishing to bring attention to, and keep attention on, events around the world which need to be broadcast to a bigger audience for the sake of presenting facts, not lies, to as large an audience as possible.

I can’t work out if Musk is deliberately trying to turn twitter into a platform exclusively for right-wing opinion and lies by fostering this kind of atmosphere (bear in mind I closed my profile because I wanted no part in the witch-hunting lies he was propagating personally in his posts) so that it can be one of the main forces against democracy, and if part of this goal is to drive as many left-leaning users from the platform, people like me who think it’s a point of principle to leave. And here’s what’s really been exercising my mind: are those of us who are in the process of leaving, those who have left, those who have deleted their presences on there, just playing into his hands by reducing the voices of freedom on the platform, or are we right to stick to our principles?

The thing is – mastodon is great, but the reach of known (but not mega-known) people like me is even smaller on there than on twitter (for me that’s 351 followers on mastodon vs 3,600 followers on twitter). And bearing in mind that I am supposedly championing new music on the radio and on my social media (as well as my own writing, though I’ve done precious little of marketing myself since 2016 when politics took over), am I not depriving the artists that I do play of some deserved oxygen of publicity (minor, admittedly, and truthfully)? It may not seem much of a conundrum to most, but it is one for me.

On a day when I feel like I’m being split into increasingly small pieces, it’s not really something I can resolve myself right now, and the very inarticulate question I have asked myself remains unanswered. But it throbs there like a bruise or a torn ligament.

And there remain many things to do before the year’s out, including finishing Aggie whom I have not done anything on for 8 days (odd how writing her in public was a massive incentive, and writing her in secret now isn’t).

At least I did 30 press-ups this morning.

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  1. The Fear of Silence – Ren Powell | Poet & Teaching Artist

    22nd December 2022 at 10:23

    […] my dear friend, Richard. We didn’t meet on social media. In fact, as much as I use it to keep in touch with the […]

    1. Richard Pierce

      22nd December 2022 at 20:54

      Thanks, Ren. That was in 2003, I reckon. Lordy.

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