The Fail Whale Cascade
Thoughts on leaving Twitter.
Published — 2 minute read
I’ve seen a lot of posts about Twitter’s shakeup, and as a bandwagoneer that would have joined the Oregon Trail without a second thought, I’ve been thinking of joining the supposed exodus from the platform.
Twitter has been stagnant for a long time, and 2012-2013 was the peak for me. Tweet streaming had me tweeting 1,000 times a month, and Twitter was like a chatroom. Shortly afterward, they locked down the API for third-party clients. Then 2016 happened, which cemented my discontent with the service.
I’m on Mastodon, but I’m bored of what I call “the timeline era”. Scanning an unending stream of disconnected posts for topics of interest is no longer fun, I prefer deciding what to read based on titles, or topic-based discussion.
The latter is where I think things are returning. As much as I don’t like the walled nature of chatrooms, that’s where the people are. Teenagers starting their internet journey aren’t making Twitter accounts, they’re making Discord accounts. Popular new software projects have a Discord server, and sometimes it’s the only social presence they have. Forums and threads are coming back, with Discord and Element adding similar features.
With forums and chatrooms, I don’t feel the need to read everything, and the serendipitous conversation aspect is something the timeline era has lacked for a long time. I don’t have to maintain a “personal brand”, I can adopt different personas that fit the group, like in real life.
I’m not going to delete my Twitter account yet, Twitter’s focus on @handles makes handle takeovers and impersonation a problem. But I will be logged out by default, occasionally checking group DMs. Accounts that I want to keep up with are in my RSS reader.