It fills me with great sorrow to report that Sons of Anarchy creator and controversial tweeter Kurt Sutter has decided to throw in the towel. Sutter has deactivated his twitter account, leaving behind only fond memories of an honest micro-blogger who didn't mince words.
With his departure, he has left a question hanging in the air: What are the merits of 140 character communication?
Sutter gained a reputation online as a guy with a lot of opinions, and as a guy that wasn't afraid to share his opinions with the world. In July, Sutter went on a now legendary Twitter rant over the Emmy Academy's complete snub of his show Sons of Anarchy. Not only do I agree with him that the show got the shaft, but I thought his ranting was awesome, rage poetry if you will. Others failed to see the humor in it and that led to Sutter railing against those people when it was all said and done.
The most recent incident to cause a stir involved comments he made about the messy situation over at the AMC network. Various contract disputes have plagued the network's top three shows Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Most recently, Walking Dead's Frank Darabont made an unexpected exit from the show. Sutter tweeted his opinions on the situation, blaming Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner for the problems -
Why Darabont got fired - Weiner. He held AMC hostage, broke their bank, budgets were slashed, shit rolled down hill onto [Breaking Bad creator Vince] Gilligan and Frank. No one else wants to fucking say it, but the greed of Mad Men is killing the other two best shows on TV -- Breaking Bad and Walking Dead.
I don't know [Weiner], got no beef with him. Just hate that Darabont is being demonized. No one has the balls to tell the truth. [Mad Men] gutted AMC.
Apparently, after that last series of tweets, Sutter made a decision about Twitter and his personality. He came to the conclusion that Twitter is for people with filters, and he has none. Here is his final tweet, from yesterday -
twitter was a fun ride. all my comments were done in the service of free speech, humor and fan interaction. but ultimately, me having an instantaneous outlet for my darker impulses is not a good thing. i'm a guy who needs filters. lots of them. it seems that my opinions turn into headlines and my black humor turns into tabloid fodder. clearly my 140 characters are causing more harm than good
Sutter promised to still run his blog, where he posted about quitting Twitter -
The whole Twitter phenomenon is really indicative of what's happening in this country. And I say this in condemnation of myself as much as anyone else -- we are growing into a nation that has no time, desire or capacity for truth. All we can handle is 140 characters of knowledge. Headlines, spin, soundbites. We want other people to tell us what we should think. It's just cleaner and easier that way.
Sutter paints a pretty bleak picture of Twitter and really the internet culture in general. Nobody can argue that social media has given us both an incredible access to more information than we've ever had before and faster, at that - but is it too limiting?
Sure, some thoughts need more than 140 characters to complete. But sometimes limiting yourself to 140 characters is a great way to streamline concepts and ideas. No fluff - just the most basic form of any statement. Conciseness is clarity, right?
With social media, there are virtually no barriers between a thought and publication. When it hits your brain, it's on the internet within minutes (or seconds if you're fast on the qwerty). Personally, I loved Sutter's filter-less presence on Twitter, but his tweet-saga does prove a valuable lesson: For those of us with quick brains and a lack of self-regulation, social media can be dangerous at times.