When I first joined Twitter back in 2010 — holy cow, Twitter has been around that long? And I’ve been part of it this whole time? — it was mainly to follow various sports I’m interested in. That included the players, journalists for my favorite teams and the like.

Over the years, I’ve added other accounts, including a few news sources, particularly local ones, journalists I’ve worked with and a lot of comedy accounts. I’ve really tried to stay away from political ones, mainly because I want Twitter to be fun, not infuriating.


Unfortunately, politics has seemingly bled into everything these days, making it hard to ignore. You know what else is hard to ignore on Twitter? Hot takes.

Merriam-Webster added “hot take” to its dictionary in June 2018. Its definition: a quickly produced, strongly worded, and often deliberately provocative or sensational opinion or reaction (as in response to current news).

In other words, an opinion without much thought given to it in order to get people to pay attention to you.

You get a lot of these on social media because, at times, it seems the whole goal is to get as much adoration as possible for your 280 characters (I’m old enough to remember when Twitter was only 140 characters) of drivel.

Hey, look, I’m sure I’m guilty of it. But I tend to tweet about stuff that doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. What’s the minimum the Steelers should accept for trading Antonio Brown? Who should be in the main event of this year’s WrestleMania? Which wide receiver should I keep in my dynasty fantasy league? That IPAs are gross and that cheese is the only acceptable pizza topping for a crowd when you don’t know what everyone else likes because greasy pepperoni and stanky mushrooms will permeate the rest of the pie and ruin it, much like pickles on your Chick-Fil-A (don’t @ me bro). These are the innocuous topics on my Twitter timeline.

Carter: Does tough driving test equal better drivers? Not in Maryland.

What came first in Maryland: bad drivers or a difficult driving test?

Hot takes in the realm of sports can certainly be obnoxious when it comes to highly paid commentators or analysts spewing nonsense about why they think a certain team will win a big game (especially when they don’t even know who is on the rosters – Cheers, Stephen A. Smith!) or when they start playing the blame game regarding who is really responsible for a team’s shortcomings. But, do they really matter? Fans of certain teams might get angry, but that’s the whole idea, to get people talking.

When hot takes bleed over into politics and topics like race relations and sexual violence – you know, things that matter – is when it really starts to get ugly. It’s especially frustrating when journalists and elected officials start to give their own “hot takes.”

It makes me angry when journalists do this because it ends up eroding the credibility of my profession, which has enough problems without giving the “Fake News” crowd something to latch onto.

When credible news organizations and politicians jump on stories like what now appears to be a staged attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, using it to talk about racism, white supremacy and the like, before all the facts come to light, it really does a lot of damage — not only to the credibility of journalists and politicians who couldn’t wait to give their hot takes, but to the real victims and issues that do exist. And they very much do exist and very much need to be talked about, but let’s take a minute to get the facts sorted out before we jump in head first.

Unfortunately, the business model has changed. There are a million different outlets to get national news. Giving consumers “just the facts” in many cases isn’t good enough. They want instant analysis. Or instant criticism. And the hotter the take and the faster it’s out there, the more likes, shares and clicks it’ll get.

Of course, most hot takes are just hot garbage. They’re easy. They don’t require a lot of research or depth. They aren’t designed to inform or entertain, they’re designed to get an emotional reaction and in many cases, that’s all these hot takes are. Positive. Negative. Doesn’t matter.

Emotion overrides logic. Always has and likely always will. So as long as we keep consuming it, the hot takes — and hot garbage — will continue. That’s my hot take.