Emotions about Emoticons

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

In the past six months, I’ve deleted Twitter off my phone four times. Within two weeks it was back. Soon gone again. Twitter can be a tool for good. In the past, we looked at Ways to Use Twitter well. To recap:

  1. To connect with colleagues.
  2. To amplify reticular activation.
  3. To bust biases.
  4. To connect with fans.

I did this but Twitter also riled me up. If my inner monologue had subtitles they would read, That doesn’t even make sense… and That’s such a load of horseshit. As a response, I’d delete the app. Within two weeks it was back.


I reasoned – we are reasonable creatures said Franklin – that it was in pursuit of Deep Work. This idea from Cal Newport is that Deep Work is rare and valuable and cultivated aside from social media rather than astride it.

From Aziz Ansari (who also deleted Twitter) to Sam Hinkie (who is mostly inactive on Twitter) there were cases against the app. Just not the ones I gave.

My disbelief at what I read was a form of cognitive dissonance. Someone saw the world in a different way. Instead of digging deeper I checked out. Realizing this is self-awareness. Thomas DeLong talked about asking if you were activated. Peter Attia talked about the “stress buffer.” Jason Calacanis talked about soft spots and sweet spots. 

Farnam Steet has a great page; The Work Required to Have an Opinion that lays out the case for understanding.

“The work is the hard part.You have to do the reading. You have to talk to anyone you can find and listen to their arguments. You have to think about the key variables. You have to consider the system. You have to think about how you might be fooling yourself. You have to think not emotionally but rationally. And you need to become your most intelligent critic.”

Emotion is a signal that the world we expected and the world we see fail to overlap. It’s a signal to do the work. It’s a signal to listen better.


Thanks for reading. Of course, I’m on Twitter @mikedariano.

1 thought on “Emotions about Emoticons”

  1. […] Twitter, much like that first college internet connection, is developing. Everyone is still figuring out how to use it. Right now we’re mostly sharing Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. But it’s getting better. There are successful ways to use Twitter which are better than my own bipolar reactions. […]


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