I have been failing at social networks since the early 2000’s. I rode the MySpace wave in 2005. Joined and quit Facebook half a dozen times over the last decade. Paid $50 for a one year subscription to Apo.net. Since 2008, Twitter has been my water cooler of choice on the web; a place to procrastinate, meet new people, and share ideas. But over the last few years expectations of Twitter and my friend’s expectations of me have been coming up short. It might be time for me to leave Twitter.
For someone who doesn’t make new friends easily, my participation on Twitter has led me to meet some pretty cool people, and at least one punk. But my snarky sense of humor often makes my replies come across as trollish and arrogant. I am not making as many new friends as I once did. Instead of driving people away it might be time for me to go.
The simplicity of trading short 280 character messages from the comfort of handcrafted third-party apps has always made Twitter appealing to me. Unfortunately Twitter doesn’t treat its third-party developers much better than the way I come across on social media; trollish and arrogant. The official Twitter client has long since lost its charm, and the future of third-party Twitter clients looks uncertain.
I don’t want to participate in a social network where my timeline is controlled by an algorithm, obscuring the posts of the people I follow, or presenting tweets out of order. Twitter owes a lot to its third-party developers, and we deserve better than this.
Worse, Twitter has gotten so big it now attracts the lowest of humanity. Parasites who rely on Twitter’s prominent platform to amplify their messages of hate. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, has gone so far as to defend the hate. Driving people I respect off the platform and onto greener pastures. I don’t expect Twitter to police their platform perfectly, but I do expect Twitter to deny access to repeat offenders who publish hate or proclaim acts of violence against others.
Where do I go from here…
Brent Simmons describes the harsh reality long time Twitter users like myself are facing today:
There is no scenario where the Twitter we loved in 2008 comes back.
Even if it were sold to some entity with energy, resources, smarts, and good intentions, it’s too late. It has celebrities with millions of followers. It has the president. It has millions of accounts using it for unlovable purposes.
It’s never coming back, and using your emotional energy hoping it comes back is a waste.
While Stephen Hackett spells out the truth that alternative social networks like Mastodon, or Micro.blog never stay green long after the mob arrives.
If you think switching social networks can mask the basic fact that a lot of humans are terrible to each other on purpose, you’re in for a surprise.
Yeah, Twitter leadership is really bad at running Twitter, but rules only provide punishment. Humanity’s dark center will always break through eventually.
I am not suggesting a specific alternative to Twitter, just that it is time for me to take a break from the birdsite. I am deleting my Twitter apps and logging out of Tweetdeck. Over the next 31 days Tweetdelete will erase my remaining tweets. I want to spend more time blogging. I can’t say my decision is right for you, but I will leave you with these wise questions from Macdrifter Gabe Weatherhead.
If you are a Twitter user, answer this. Keep it to yourself, but try to be honest. What valuable thing have you learned from Twitter in the past 48 hours? Was it about an Apple product or something about some tech startup not liking poor people on their commuter buses? Did you take action on the information? I’m not going to judge you, but I will tell you that in my experience what Twitter gave me was almost never valuable and it certainly came to the exclusion of actual joy.
After Multiple Provocations, Twitter Has Banned Alex Jones And Infowars
After weeks of equivocation, Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Infowars and its founder Alex Jones on Thursday, following similar moves by other large tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify. The decision came after a series of provocations from Jones that Twitter deemed in violation of its “abusive behavior” rules.