A couple days ago I came across this blog post on comedian Jay Mohr’s website in which he declared that he was leaving Twitter because he was getting too much negative harassment from haters. You should read his whole explanation, but here’s an excerpt:
Twitter sucks. It starts as a really amazing social network but slowly and surely becomes an amazingly awful social network. When I signed up for Twitter I was super excited. I wanted to type super funny things. I wanted to hear feedback from fans…okay, screw that…I wanted more followers than other comics. If you are a comic, that is truly the perverse joy of twitter. I could tweet the noblest or funniest 124 character bon mots in the world but they wouldn’t rent space in my brain at night as much as, “How do the Sklar Brothers have over a hundred thousand followers?” (I think they are hysterical by the way)
He went on to say…
I don’t think it is a particularly good idea to have a social media sight where ANYONE can tell me I suck. Many of the trolls tell me that I should have thicker skin. No. No I shouldn’t. When I am coming home from the beach and smiling and happy, I should be able to check my twitter account without reading that a movie of mine is on Showtime4 and it sucks a bag of donkey balls. There is no reason anyone should have that type of accessibility to anyone else.
When I read that, here’s a few of the words that come to my mind: Foolish, short-sighted, petty, wrong, and stupid. I know that seems harsh, but sorry, that’s how it comes across to me.
Mohr’s decision to abandon Twitter is bad enough, but his reasons for it and his decision to spell out those reasons in this blog post are even worse. Here’s why:
It sounds like the main reason that Jay is bailing on Twitter is because he didn’t like a lot of the feedback he gets from it. I’m sure it gets annoying hearing people tell you that you suck, but isn’t that what heckling is? If he were performing at a show and people didn’t laugh, or they heckled him, I assume he’d handle it and move on. I don’t think he’d “quit,” walk off stage, and never come back.
Like it or not, the world has changed and audiences can now react to your creations through social media – whether you’re actually on social media or not. Just because Jay abandons Twitter, it doesn’t mean that people who hate his movies are going to stop posting Tweets saying that they hate his movies. All that he does by leaving is ensure that that his voice is less heard.
For example, now the only things that will be said about Jay Mohr on Twitter are by other people – he no longer has his own voice to allow people to make their own opinions about him.
Making it even worse is the fact that by abandoning Twitter, he’s taken away one of the easiest ways for the people who love him to reach out to him and interact with him. Essentially, he’s punished his fanbase in a screwed-up attempt to punish the people who hate him. The people that hate him won’t suffer by him leaving Twitter, the people who love him will. It’s a completely backwards decision.
In fact, if you look at the couple comments left on his blog post from his fans, they almost unanimously are disappointed that he’s leaving Twitter. For example, one fan says “…your fans will miss the interaction…,” and another says, “I’m a big fan who signed up on twitter just to find out when you host the Jim Rome show…”
Finally, what kind of message does it send to your fanbase when you announce that you’re leaving Twitter because a few people were saying bad stuff about you? Here’s what it says: that you’re extremely thin-skinned, that there must be a lot of people out there that don’t like you, that you care more about those people than your fans, and (hypothetically) that maybe your fans should reconsider why they like you when so many other people don’t? It’s just all bad across the board.
Now, I don’t intend this post to bash Jay Mohr – I don’t know him personally and have no grudge against him. Actually, I feel bad for him because there was nobody around him to explain to him why this was such a bad idea. I don’t believe that anybody has to be on Twitter if they don’t want to be, and it’s not going to make or break your career. However, I can guarantee you that going on Twitter and then bailing in a public fashion and crediting your departure to your haters is definitely not a good idea.
Do you agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments…