Twitter, Unplugged


Writing from Turkey, a country that temporarily unplugged Twitter to quell government protests, novelist and essayist Kaya Genç describes the experience of disconnecting from the service. Instead of the liberation he expected, the lack of Twitter left him feeling like a prisoner in solitary confinement:

On my third day without Twitter, however, I realized that I couldn’t say about Twitter what Sartre had said about hell. It was not other people. It was me. Twitter had done things to me that I couldn’t undo. It had imposed a regime of reading onto my mind. It had opened my ears to a particular mode of conversation. It had reminded me that I was not alone as a reader, and that I could share my reading with others whenever I wanted. Twitter had created in my brain the idea of an implied reader who I should consider whenever I wrote a new sentence.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →