The big question… why did I stop using Twitter? I brought back the blog as I needed to re-familiarize myself with the ins and outs of WordPress to better support customers at the day job. No matter what, I was going to start blogging more, and tweeting less. But what in particular pushed me over the edge… what line was crossed? Why did I find the need to leave the birdsite? Was it Elon’s musk?
Outside of LiveJournal, I have never been a fan of any of the social media platforms. Okay, sure, I have used the birdsite for over a decade, and I have a tumblr, but I don’t actually like using those platforms. I do not have a Facebook account after experiencing its stalker algorithm first hand… it was somehow able to figure out that a fake account about a fictional bat might know the brother of someone that also did not have a facebook account. That sort of thing could be dangerous for victims of domestic violence.
As a thought experiment, I figured out that if I printed out the dumb things I posted to the birdsite and sent them through the mail to the individuals that were my actual audience, each tweet would cost me about $10 to $20. So I started doing that. For a few months, about once a week I would send something dumb through the mail to a couple dozen individuals.
Fast forward a couple of years, and someone figured out they could sell hashes of URLs in a spreadsheet to a bunch of idiots. Within two weeks of the first articles in the media about these hashes of URLs in a spreadsheet, everyone and everything had their Grand Strategy. One of those enterprises that had a Grand Strategy for hashes of URLs in a spreadsheet was Discord. Needless to say, the fine folks that actually use Discord are smart enough to realize this is stupid. Some even canceled their Nitro subscriptions in protest (until they realized they could no longer post animated emoji).
That got me wondering… how does Discord make enough money to stay in business? What can I do to replicate something similar to a Discord-like experience that isn’t subject to the whims of a benevolent benefactor gifting us such a platform? So I setup a forum that can be used in a pinch should Discord ever go belly-up, setup various things for voice chat, and that was that. I still use Discord, but I have fallback options. As the first rule of systems administration goes… Always have a backup.
From time to time on the birdsite I would click on a trend, or perhaps they once again reset preference or figured out a solid bypass for the common ad blockers, or someone I follow retweeted something, and it was overall a negative experience. But no, that was not the last straw. I was already having a bad day. The day itself wasn’t that bad, really, but I was definitely Not In The Mood. Allergies combined with not enough sleep will do that. So, I flip over to my pristine topical account. Most recent post? Something from Cody’s Lab. Oh look, I have a notification. I click the notification. Tweets you may have missed… the tweet that is literally at the top of the timeline that I literally just saw.
That made me think… what do I get out of twitter? Practically everyone I have met in real life has moved on from twitter with many choosing to go for a hike in the woods rather than use any social media. There are a few dozen individuals I follow on twitter that I absolutely adore. They are wonderful. I am happy to have them in my life and they are the only thing keeping me on the birdsite. The rest of twitter is mostly a negative experience. I unfollow, mute, and block. Twitter keeps dumping on the noise. That dumb celebrity gossip site that I explicitly blocked? Nope. It’s still going to show up in the trends. Literally anything involving sports that has been blocked, muted, and is explicitly noted by twitter as something I don’t want to see? Here, have more sports. “Linux” as a trending topic keeps showing up… why?
Am I actually done with twitter? No. That will never happen until we all figure out mastodon. What I have actually done is stopped using it as something that lives in a window on the side monitor. Whatever I would normally tweet I instead blog it.