The internet could use more gratitude: next time a blog post, GitHub project, podcast episode or YouTube video helps you, write a "Thank You" tweet to its content creator.
Don't follow me on Twitter
I am @jm_fayard on Twitter, but don't follow me there, I have nothing new and interesting that fits in 140 characters.
I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter: I spend more time there than I wished, I hate how it tends to make me angry and feel powerless, especially when I already feel down. Twitter gives a megaphone to Nazis and white supremacist to maximize user engagement and make its investors happy. It helps jerks to spend time harassing women. For much more on this topic, there is a wonderful book by Mike Montero called Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It
The counter-argument is that Twitter is just tool, that people can use wisely or badly.
It's in part true, we do have a choice - for example to use it to express gratitude - but it's misleading because it's incomplete: Melvin Kranzberg's law of technology reminds us that the way we design our tools does matter,
Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral. Melvin Kranzberg
Conversations do not get better when thought is split in tiny bites, and attention is diverted by vanity metrics:
Install the browser extension Twitter Demetricator and see how different it feels!
That being said, I have found a very satisfying use of Twitter. Not promoting my content, I genuinely dislike doing so - and I'm happy that DEV does it for me - but to say thank you.
Use Twitter to say thank you
Content creators don't get a lot of feedback that the work where they have put hard work was useful to someone. They got statistics about views and stuff, but that's not the same thing. Nothing beats a direct communication between two human beings.
That's why it's such a simple and powerful hack: next time you find a blog post, a GitHub project, a podcast episode or a YouTube video that gave you a ton of value, find the Twitter handle of its creator and tell them urbi and orbi that their work was meaningful to you!
The best part is that you don't have to care about metrics and reach.
You will reach the content creator, and there is a high probability that she will be happy:
I enjoyed this article from @annajmcdougall that teaches a skill crucial to spread joy around you: giving good compliments