Twitter is one of those places that people hate and use at the same time. Millions upon millions of users log in every day to share photos and quick thoughts, talk to friends and random folks around the globe, and stream the feed looking for interesting articles, news, images, videos, and more to share. It’s both a brilliant platform and a nightmare zone full of trolls, angry mobs, bot farms, organized harassment campaigns, and plain old assholes. And then there’s the cycle of negativity that Twitter seems to produce, both in its algorithmic structure and in the culture of “all engagement is good engagement” that exists there. If you’ve ever logged into Twitter and thought “my mood has taken a nosedive” or lost hours of your life to doom scrolling, then you know what I’m talking about.
As an avid Twitter user — it being my primary platform — I know exactly what it’s like to face some of these things. I’ve dealt with trolls, bots, a harassment campaign, and far too many assholes to list. By comparison to others — especially women and members of minority groups — I’ve had it easy, but that doesn’t mean the experience on Twitter hasn’t been destructive. Twitter tends to make us into worse people. But it doesn’t have to be that way…totally…
There’s likely no way to make any social network problem free, but there are some things you can do to make Twitter a less sucky place. Here are seven of them:
1. Tweak New Twitter
One of the things I noticed as Twitter’s web interface became a more cluttered space is the way its trending sections and other areas fed into my mood over time. The trending topics and hashtags section is overwhelmingly full of bad news, people behaving badly, and little else. Seeing that every day can take its toll, especially during difficult times. The last 4.5 years in the United States have been particularly miserable — from endless political misery to endless bad actors and hatemongering and so on.
Tweak New Twitter is the fix. TWT is a Chrome, Firefox, and Edge plugin that allows you to control the look and structure of the Twitter interface. With it, you can hide the sidebar content, place retweets in a separate feed, force Twitter into the chronological feed, and make other tweets to navigation items. Here’s what my Twitter looks like: