TL;DR: I’ve been trying to get away from Twitter for a couple years now, so Musk’s bizarre “free speech absolutism” takeover is the nail in the coffin for me and, if you’re paying attention, likely for the service. I’m not happy about this, I’ve been there since 2006—I helped multiple companies get started and/or grow in a time when even Twitter couldn’t tell you what it was. My career and multiple friendships were kickstarted at least in part from Twitter. This sucks.
But nothing lasts forever, I can’t support that company anymore, and it’s time for a change and to re-focus. If you still want to keep up with my social shenanigans, my writing (thank you!), or my streaming aspirations, here we go:
- Mastodon: Not a perfect alternative, but it has some great ideas. Plus, I feel its goals align much better with creating a safe, reasonable social media space for us
- Tumblr: Still a fun space, now owned by WordPress
- Right here: I’ve wanted to get back to writing, and this is one of the spaces I’ll do it
- Finer Tech Newsletter: Like this site, but different and delivered to your inbox
- Personal blog: Less tech. More art, Chicago, photography, dogs, occasional mental health struggles, and we’ll see what else
I’m also getting into streaming, now that I finally have a proper office and gaming space in our basement. I love to laugh while I play and create a chill, welcoming place for people to hang out, whether I’m solo in a variety of games or with friends probably raiding in Destiny 2. If you partake in games of the video variety:
- My gaming Mastodon: Figured I’d give my video game adventures their own account
- Gaming Tumblr: Ditto
- Twitch: This will become more active and regular very soon, and I’ll figure out a schedule. Come hang out!
- YouTube: More videos soon too
Thanks for joining me in any of these adventures. I really do appreciate it.
I started souring on Twitter years ago, once it finally clicked that Twitter’s incentives and goals are antithetical to creating a safe, reasonable social space.
It’s an ad-based business. It needs as many eyeballs as possible. I’m sorry this analogy will get dark, but: in the same way the NRA quietly celebrates at every school shooting in the U.S. (because gun sales spike. Every. time.), some level of hate and abuse is good for Twitter’s business.
Their ads need attention. Twitter is heavily incentivized to wield moderation with a light touch to avoid banning too many accounts. At its core, Twitter is heavily incentivized to allow as many hateful, despicable, and abusive users as the service can tolerate. The destruction to our society is just collateral damage as long as their lines go up, the press remains passively or actively complicit, and the rest of us can’t be bothered to do anything about it.
I’m tired of not doing anything about it. I’m tired of the rules and safety of our online social spaces being at the whims of what’s gOoD foR bUsiNeSs. Fuck their ‘line goes up’ at the expense of the rest of us.
Again, this isn’t entirely because of Musk. But his brand of callous, clueless, racist, and abusive arrogance is one hell of a strong catalyst. You don’t need to search very hard to find the miles of shit he drags people through, or the fact that he’s basically a charlatan inventor who got lucky from his parents’ South African apartheid money.
I think I’ll take the typical route: I have a lot of longstanding relationships on Twitter, so I’ll promote this a few times over the next week or two before leaving so my friends and connections have a good chance to see it. Fun fact: a healthy majority of your followers never see a post the first or even second or third time, and it isn’t entirely the algorithm’s fault. It’s just the nature of social media. Check the analytics on any of your non-viral tweets to see what I mean.
I’ll request my Twitter archive, which might take a while since it seems like the exodus is, at least, not insignificant. Then I’ll delete all my personal accounts, which include things like @Bender, @Fry, and @Stewie. Told you I’ve been there a while.
There’s a restaurant in France called ‘Chartier.’ Without fail over the years, mostly tourists (I assume) have mistakenly thanked my Twitter account for a delicious dinner evening. Maybe the restaurant can finally have the handle, if they don’t abandon ship with the rest of us.