Take Twitter, for example. Of what use is Twitter? All I see is people throwing insults, retweeting endless memes, tons of pictures with famous quotes but nothing else, etc. What is the point of it all? What does it accomplish? Over this past weekend when I was listening to a podcast, I sat down and watched Twitter for a while and it was just appalling. There’s nothing useful going on. There was one point when the same meme was retweeted more than a dozen times in a row. It’s short attention span theater!
I’m not trying to insult people, but honestly, I don’t see Twitter attracting the best and brightest people. The majority of them seem to be, well, idiots. That may very well be because of the way I use Twitter, I don’t invade other people’s hashtags and make fun of their religions, I sit and wait for something intelligent to be posted to #atheism or #atheist or retweeted by one of the very few people I follow. Maybe there’s a secret that smart Twitter users know, other than simply avoiding Twitter altogether, but I haven’t found it yet.
Then there’s Facebook and Google+. Of the two, I like Google+ better, but none of these services are set up to allow intellectual discussions to occur. They’re not threaded, it’s just an endless string of comments and following one particular conversation is next to impossible, especially when a couple of discussions are going on at the same time. You have to try to follow the links, when people actually use them, and it ends up being a pointless waste of time.
Plus the fact that there are so many different groups on both Facebook and Google+ that the message gets diluted. I know that on Google+, I’m a member of 3 atheist groups, 2 skeptical groups, an atheist blogger group, several atheist podcasting groups and even though some of those groups have tens of thousands of members, very little is actually going on in the group. Lurkers outnumber posters 1000-to-1 most of the time and of the content that actually does get posted, there is a very low signal to noise ratio. It’s like watching 8 year olds post fart jokes.
I’ve written before about how pointless I find StumbleUpon and Reddit. Their members are just content locusts, they swarm over linked websites, read the first dozen words and then move on. This does nothing whatsoever for gaining large numbers of intelligent, dedicated, committed readers for a blog, it just gives a momentary blip on the radar as they descend on an article and then fly off to the next one. I don’t find anything valuable in their community either, every time I’ve gone to read any of the subreddits, they’ve been filled with rude, stupid and obnoxious people and, of course, they’re not designed to facilitate intellectual long-term discussion or debate either.
So am I out of luck? My New Year’s Resolution this year was to know when to get out of pointless debates. Originally it was aimed at religion, but I’ve taken all debates to task and so far, I haven’t engaged in any good debates this year.
I even went back to the IRC channel that I helped to found many years ago. Sure, it was chaotic, but at least there were some good discussions to be had. Apparently, that’s not even a thing anymore because in the hour or two that I sat and watched, people were making fart jokes and banning any theist that came into the channel because they might have to talk about religion or atheism! Isn’t that what a channel named “#Atheism” is supposed to be about? That’s why I left originally, because people in the #atheism channel didn’t want to talk about atheism, they wanted to talk about anything but, post memes and generally do what Twitter has turned into.
So where do the intelligent atheists go? It can’t be to any of these social media sites, they feel like they appeal to the lowest conceivable common denominator. Where do the intelligent theists go? Semi-intelligent theists? People who have two brain cells to rub together? I can’t find any of them.