I still have my account active. I haven’t gone in and deleted all my tweets and contacts at this time. In fact, to write this, I logged in to see that I have been a user since December 20081.
I’ve enjoyed the service for years, and it was nice to login and see what was happening with all the people that I was following and check out different hashtags related to topics that I was interested in. For example, I’d log in during a WWDC keynote to see hot takes from all my favorite Mac personalities.
I also participated in various contests throughout the years. Companies would ask you to tweet with a certain hashtag and I could potentially win some kind of prize. I never won.
I think the reason that I’ve stuck with Twitter has been that it’s really allowed me to craft my experience of what social media means to me. Furthermore, I was using 3rd party software almost from the beginning, and it would allow me to view and search a timeline of tweets. I could see what I wanted from Twitter, versus having Twitter give me things that it wants me to see.
When I got onto Facebook, I distinctly remember people asking me to friend them just to friend them. Most times, I didn’t know these people -if they were even real people- and Facebook had a way that you could use an alias (for example: meg@tron83) and a profile picture of something completely random. All I had to go on was that this “person” was friends with X amount of people in my established friend group. Unfortunately, I’ve had a couple of instances where I would ask someone in person what they were up to and they were insulted that I hadn’t been reading their Facebook updates.
With twitter, I’ve never had anyone attempt to shame me for not seeing what they posted. The messages that are sent out are usually to the World Wide Web, and I’m just part of it. I get to follow different sources of news and entertainment from people that I view as credible.
Where are we now?
Twitter has moved a lot further from the days when you would go to the site and see the fail whale.
It’s really has the mind share of America, as it is the first place people look when they look for a particular hashtag2.
I feel that the short format that twitter uses promotes content that is easier to spread and take in without having the backing of research or oversight.
We’re now looking at Twitter without any checks into what damage it can do. There have already been studies published about how social media can affect you, and it’s a known fact that companies hire psychologists and behavioral experts to determine the best way to engage their users.
Even before Elon bought the company, there have been plenty of times when I thought about how my content -no matter how much it is- is improving the platform.
This got me thinking about the community that I live in. At one point, it was considered affluent, and we have one of the highest rated elementary schools in the region in walking distance. There are houses that could easily have an asking price of millions or more. But we also have issues with homelessness and even some robberies.
People are moving out.
The neighborhood isn’t as clean as it used to be, and although I don’t feel unsafe, I make sure that there isn’t anything that looks valuable in the car.
But I still live here. Partly because I can’t afford to move anywhere else, and partially because of the different perks that living here has provided.
In many ways, it’s just like twitter.
If I leave, then what is left? What about the other people who choose to stay?
Ultimately, I’m most likely going to stay on the service until it shuts down. Although I’m on Micro.blog a lot of the people who have made me love twitter are on other services, and I’m going to see what happens before committing to any additional social media platforms in the future. I’ve also on discord and a couple of discourse forums and that’s current my limit.