Last week, Twitter got new management.
Now, I’m not a fan of the new management. But then, I wasn’t a fan of the old management either. Nevertheless, this presented an opportunity to reflect on how I engage with Twitter.
About a year ago, I decided I was spending far too much time doomscrolling, and I deleted the app from my phone. I’ve done this before, but this time it stuck. I keep the browser signed out, too. If I want to check what’s going on on the timeline right now, I have to go to a computer. This means that I rarely check out the timeline. And I do not miss it.
So where’s the value? The value is in the conversations, the mutuals, the shared context we build over years. But at least for me, it’s been diminishing: the value I get out of Twitter now (or even a year ago, pre-deletion) is almost zero. I almost never receive a message from a friend that wouldn’t have been more personal somewhere more private. I see a lot of awful global news, but very rarely do I get some personal news that improves my relationship with someone.
This past weekend, I toyed with the idea of switching on Mastodon (with my own server, because what’s the point of joining someone else’s?) and trying to find my place in a community. I didn’t bother, in the end.
It’s not 2008 any more. The world has changed. It’s become more connected, for better or for worse, and I don’t think the evolution of communication platforms looks like Twitter. I think it’ll be very different.
As for me, I think I’ll keep my Twitter account around, mostly checking in occasionally to see if I have messages, but I’m done with the service. I don’t need it any more.
Perhaps I’ll join Mastodon, somewhere. Perhaps I’ll start my own server with microblog.pub. Mastodon uses the ActivityPub protocol under the hood, and it’s open. You can even write your own software if you want.
But for now, well, I have this blog. It’s not going anywhere. Maybe I’ll write more often. I enjoy it. You can subscribe, you know. The web isn’t going anywhere, and RSS will work until the apocalypse.
And if I want some conversation, perhaps I’ll add some server-side support and implement a Webmention endpoint (which is even simpler than ActivityPub), so your blog can talk to my blog. The way Twitter was meant to be, over a decade ago.
If you want to contact me, I’m sure you can find my email address. No doomscrolling required.