So Twitter turned into a ghost town overnight, which was somewhat inevitable I suppose.
Reinstating The Face Of Evil (the most popular one, at least) was the last straw for a lot of people. Everyone’s had the ultimatum “if he comes back, I’m leaving” for two years now, and you can’t really back down from that if you care about your reputation. It wasn’t as dramatic as Thursday night when everyone was having a fun MMORPG shutdown party; it was more like a perfunctory “ugh, bye.”
(It turns out even The Face Of Evil doesn’t want to be on Twitter anymore.)
I hate that we live in a world where I even have to say this: You might think my staying on Twitter is an endorsement of The Face of Evil, or even Elon Musk, but that would be naivé and I would think less of you for such foolishness. It isn’t. I’m lucky enough not to be in this position, but, among many other reasons, a lot of people can’t and shouldn’t just up and leave their primary business network, and they shouldn’t be judged for it, and certainly won’t be by me.
I also wouldn’t judge anyone for leaving, either. I get it. Personal safety is of primary importance in life and on the Internet. It’s increasingly hard to find, and it’s not often located on any social media.
However, I have almost zero patience anymore for all the Judgy McJudgersons running around preaching about what other people should do with their lives or social media accounts. And that’s the end of my own judgy sermon.
The fediverse is an interesting place to browse, but there are still a couple of major obstacles stopping me personally from making a permanent public account for writing over there:
- There’s no way to trust a server operator, from a consumer protection standpoint. If Mastodon leaks all of George Takei’s DMs to TMZ by accident, which is definitely going to happen someday, who’s he going to sue? That twenty-something German kid who wrote Mastodon in his basement using the worst server language? Ya right.
- There’s no guaranteed stability of your public content. The links will only last as long as the server lasts, and as long as the server operator (can we use the term “sysop” again?) doesn’t purge the database, which they definitely should periodically to keep costs down. The same rules of using an IRC chat room should apply to the fediverse: Save logs, screenshot anything important, and assume someone is eavesdropping. Some people might view impermanence as a feature, but I find it damnably inconvenient.
For those reasons, the only way I can see myself living in the fediverse, in a way that protects me and my interests, is to own the domain name my account is attached to, which strongly implies that I have to run that server myself, which costs time and money. I think I’ve said that before, but I don’t remember if I spelled it all out in a blog post.
I’m incubating some fun personal fediverse projects, but it’ll be a while before they get anywhere.
My Twitter Triggers
Back to Twitter: The primary trigger for me to stop writing original content on Twitter on a daily basis is when I can’t download a handy list of my own tweets anymore. Twitter is a very convenient note-taking and micro-blogging format. I frequently go back and reference my old tweets for various reasons. It’s a writing journal, in effect, a place where I jot down random thoughts throughout the day, which I would otherwise forget 10 seconds later. I don’t know of any other place to do that so conveniently, except, you know, scribbling in a notebook, which stinks and also hurts my hand.
The trigger for me to stop logging into Twitter altogether would be when news accounts stop delivering reliable news to me. If I can’t glance at a Twitter timeline any time of the day to see a snapshot of the world zeitgiest, it’s of no use to me anymore, and I’ll have to resort back to RSS feeds.
In any case, as with Facebook, it’s very unlikely I’ll ever deactivate or delete my account. (Accounts. I have an absurd number of throwaway Twitter accounts in addition to my real name and @endgameviable. Every time I get a new domain name, I get a Twitter account with the same name.)
I’m sure there are bots out there somewhere that monitor which accounts get deleted so they can swoop in and create them again afterward. I’ve always suspected there were bots doing that with domain names. I have no proof of it, but it’s one of those things you just know someone does, because if I can think of the idea and conceptualize how to do it, someone else can too.
I might use this opportunity to do some Spring cleaning on my @endgameviable account. I’ve wanted to mercilessly cut the number of people I’m following down to the bone for a long time. I’m following over 200 accounts and I’d really like to get that down to just a handful of bloggers and game industry accounts.
I’ve been squeamish about it for a long time, because I hate to send an unintentional “I don’t like you” unfollow subtext (I absolutely hate that social media follow lists have devolved into some kind of demented character assessment test; it’s the pettiest part of blogrolls multiplied to a millionth degree). But now that I know there’s nobody on the other end anymore, I won’t feel so bad about it.
So if I unfollow you in the near future, it’s probably one or more of these reasons:
- I don’t remember who you are [\or why I followed you], which is my fault.
- You’re not following me, which is your fault. But it was probably something I said at some point, sorry about whatever it was. I probably had a bad day.
- You haven’t tweeted any original content in a while that interests me, which is nobody’s fault. Sometimes peoples’ interests just don’t align. Most times, really.
- You have a history of only posting links to your other stuff, which I can usually find in an RSS feed somewhere if I’m interested.
- You’re a streamer or YouTuber who only tweets when they’re live. I have no idea how or why I ended up following so many of these accounts, because I never watch live streams when they’re live.
- You said you left Twitter, or your account is already missing, so there’s not much point in following you anymore.
UPDATE: Other potential reasons, now that I’m looking:
- You mainly just retweet things. I usually disable retweets, and prefer to see original writing.
- You have a history of sounding sad or angry. When I see people are sad, I get sad, and when I see people are angry, I get angry. You have my sympathies, but unfortunately I’m very easily overwhelmed by other peoples’ emotions. I have plenty of my own day-to-day problems to deal with.
UPDATE 2: One more reason that’s popping up a lot as I get further down the list:
- You haven’t tweeted much or at all since the 2014-2015 time range.
The point is, it won’t be because you’re an awful person. I’m not aware of anyone I’m following who’s an awful person. Maybe disagreeable or misguided sometimes, but that’s normal human behavior. I think I’ve only ever unfollowed two or three people who I thought were so annoying I just couldn’t stand the sight of their names or tweets anymore, but that was many, many years ago.
I used to never unfollow anyone who was following me, but I’m going to grit my teeth and forego that rule during this purge. If it helps, I’m going to feel extremely bad about it and I’ll probably be upset for days or weeks afterward, if I ever build up enough nerve to even do it.
P.S. I noticed recently that something is weird about how the Remark42 comment box below renders. Part of it is cut off. I don’t know what’s up with that.