For the first time since I took a Twitter break in 2007 I am taking another in 2023. The first time I took a twitter break I deleted my account but got asked to talk about Twitter for the RTS (TSR) back then so I went to my secondary account and started using twitter again. Since then I have continued to love and hate twitter in equal measure.
I don’t like that a billionaire could just buy Twitter because of a bet he made with web users on another site. I don’t like that no government system could stop him from making the purchase. I also don’t like that the board of directors didn’t block the acquisition.
Twitter from 2006-2007 was a communal social network where people conversed online before meeting in person once a week, and meeting at conferences on a less regular basis. It was a network of friends where everyone was connected to everyone else. Since 2007 it has been a cult of personality, but at least we could converse with each other.
With Musk’s purchase of Twitter it feels more hostile. It feels as though the Far Right is being made more visible. It feels as if trolling is being encouraged. It feels as though conspiracy theory spreading is being encouraged.
I stopped using Facebook and Instagram because I saw more junk than posts by friends. Before deciding to take my twitter break I noticed that I could no longer choose between a chronological timeline and an algorithm driven one. I am now stuck with seeing what the algorithms want me to see.
Twitter is now driven by the algorithms rather than the network of people we follow, and their friends. Musk and his teams choose what we see, how often we see it, and who can see what we tweet. Twitter is no longer what we make of it. It is what Musk and his teams want it to be.
I don’t want to be part of it.
Social media should be about fun, about friendship, and about personal connections. Social media now seems to be about being negative, complaining, and protecting ourselves by being anonymous on the one hand, and private on the other. On a good social media site we should use our names, rather than nicknames, and we should trust people not to blackmail us.
At this point I don’t know about social media. I want to revert to a smaller network of friendships, where we read each other’s content, comment, and develop friendships that lead to us wanting to meet in person. I don’t feel that way about social networks like Twitter anymore.