Mitch Horowitz has Some Advice to Rebel Against the System — and It May Not Be What You Think

In a time when sarcasm and humiliation are standard, there are ways to resist

Jamie Cohen
3 min readOct 28, 2022


“There’s this expression that you’ve all heard, Twitter is not real life,” Uncertain Places author Mitch Horowitz explains, “I’ve never dug that expression because of course, Twitter is real life. We spend more time on Twitter and other social media platforms than we do among people we love.”

As Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter begins, many are recognizing the existential dread that comes with a return to the less restricted days of Twitter. Nearly instantly, bad actors celebrated the opportunity to broadcast their bigotry on mainstream social media.

Social media platforms benefit from anger and humiliation and their algorithms amplify speech that causes outrage. The negative way we use social media ripples outward into our offline lives and we carry the stress from our screens into our homes. If negativity has become standard, what ways can we rebel against the system?

Well, Mitch Horowitz has three steps to engage with in order to be a rebel in our digital age. Speaking at the Meme in the Moment Festival on October 26, Horowitz laid out a strategy to stand out against the systems.

  1. Get away from cruel people.
  2. Greet trash with silence.
  3. Don’t humiliate people.

“The first thing is, in your personal life, if you’re interested in trying something rebellious and helpful, and that’ll make you feel good, get away from cruel people and be absolutely decisive about it in your most intimate life,” he tells the crowd.

“Emotions are more powerful than thought emotions are faster than thought. It’s not anybody’s fault. It’s just the way that we are built. If you identify relationships in…



Jamie Cohen

Digital culture expert and meme scholar. Cultural and Media Studies PhD. Internet studies educator: social good, civic engagement and digital literacies