Brandon Pittman

May 10, 2021

Escaping Twitter

I deleted my Twitter account recently. I didn't say I was doing it before I deleted it and I wasn't going to say anything about it—just be gone.

I deleted my account because I wanted to ensure I didn't wind up falling into Twitter Traps (rabbit holes filled with angry people arguing over nonsense that has no effect on them but fills them with rage anyway). But if you follow tech/programming news, it's impossible to avoid Twitter entirely—because so much of the news in this bubble is generated on Twitter.

I was checking the "Popular" list on Pinboard and saw a post about Tailwind CSS, a CSS framework that I love and use daily. The title of the post was TailwindCSS: Adds complexity, does nothing. I should have known what the content of the post would be because I've seen the same sorts of complaints lodged over the last couple of years. But I followed the trail and read the post. It was what I expected—it wasn't going to change my mind. I followed a link at the bottom to a rebuttal but it wasn't a well-written one. Then a link promoted at the bottom of that post led me to a post pointing out that Adam Wathan left a passive-aggressive reply to a Sara Soueidan tweet that linked to the original anti-Tailwind post.

You can't avoid Twitter traps even if you don't have a Twitter account.

The third post supposed that Adam's response was a sexist and/or quasi-white supremacist response to him getting his feelings hurt by a woman of color. Maybe, but what struck me most was that he didn't need to say anything. He's making so much money from Tailwind UI and Refactoring UI that he can employ multiple people. He doesn't need to leave back-handed comments to anyone (especially someone who does so much to help people with things like SVG mastery and accessibility—both areas that are woefully under-covered in web dev education).

I immediately thought of a quote from Meditations where Marcus Aurelius reminds himself that "you don't have to have an opinion about this." I see how Adam wants everyone to just be positive—it suits his purpose. But he shits on non-Tailwind ways of handling CSS as well. He's not the ray of sunshine he wants others to be. Sara's post is constructive either. Adam has a point about being positive. But neither of them needed to have an opinion. Arguably, Adam's response was far worse though, because he went out of his way to take personal offense to someone's critique of a thing he made and then tried to hurt another person personally and directly.

Lesson learned: we can't avoid Twitter drama unless we stop reading programming news entirely and people with egos need to feel validated at all times and if they don't they will lash out.