Deemphasize Twitter

I know Twitter has been renamed by its owner. That’s actually part of the overall reason behind this post. I will refer to it as “Twitter” rather than the new name.

If I look at my profile, I joined Twitter in January, 2007–seventeen years ago. This was about six months after it was released. I would send tweets from a Nokia phone using SMS, painstakingly entered with T9. The original 140 character limit was a function of its SMS origin. It took a while for me to see the utility and build a community. But we, as users, organically built a lot of the conventions typical in social media today: @user notation to address someone, retweets (via copy-and-paste with RT), and hashtags.

I also made many friends. Some became people I know in person; others are very dear to me even if we’ve never met face to face. We had second-screen discussion about tv shows and news events, and day to day activities. It’s been a community and virtual water cooler.

As is well known, it was purchased over a year ago by a man whose ego is one of the largest in the world. He has taken actions, under the guise of “profitablility” and “free speech,” that have destroyed it. It has less stable technology, and a place where bigotry, hate, and misinformation are welcome. It is no longer the place I joined in 2007.

And it has felt less and less like a place I want to contribute to.

But I still want to engage with the friends I’ve made over the years, and enjoy the bits that are still enjoyable. Also, “mrguilt” has been my username on pretty much every platform. It’s my brand, and I don’t want that name to go to someone else on a major platform. I’m especially concerned whoever would take it might, intentionally or coincidentally, post hate with that name. Best to keep it.

So, I’ve decided in 2024 to deemphasize, rather than leave, Twitter. What does this mean?

  • I will primarily post on other platforms There have been many short message, Twitter-like platforms that have risen over since the buyout. Mastodon has actually been there for a while, and BlueSky has been up-and-coming. However, Threads seems to be where critical mass is developing. You’ll see posts on all, but primarily on Threads.
  • I’ll still post on Twitter… As I said, I still have a lot of friends who haven’t moved. But it probably won’t be the first for new posts, and probably not what I scroll when I need a break.
  • …but I’ll curate more. On Twitter, my attitude was you had to earn a block from me through either a direct attack, or something very extreme. My thinking was it was best to avoid being in some echo chamber. Best to expose myself to other views. On Threads, the advice has been, in order to make it a better place, block liberally. This keeps the algorithm from feeding you more. This will now be applied to Twitter
  • I may “leave” altogether If the hate speech gets worse, I may drop down to just some sort of keep-alive post, so as note to lose the username.

I confess I haven’t quite figured out exactly how this will work, or how someone might tell the difference on a day-to-day basis, but it is intent.