I celebrated my twelfth anniversary of using Twitter by deleting almost all of my tweets. I left that one, plus my Keybase verification so that my Keybase proof wouldn’t break. I’m not sure I care about that, after all, so I may soon simply terminate my entire Twitter account.
I haven’t really used it much in the last couple of years. I mostly retweeted other people’s astute observations, and occasionally posted some photo of my life. The latter is what this very website is for, as well as a function for which I continue to pay Flickr to do for me. More on this in an upcoming post.
I was always a cautious user, taking great care to curate who I followed so as not to get overwhelmed by more content than I could consume. I do enjoy the spontaneous discovery of interesting stuff that people share, but I’m not sure I enjoy that enough to outweigh all the things I dislike about Twitter.
I’ve been using Monocle for a long time to consume both RSS and Twitter content, and Monocle (actually Aperture’s) ability to filter out retweets has been wonderful. It’s this reason alone that I have been able to keep following people on Twitter; otherwise I’d be drowning in retweets of political outrage and hashtag activism.
The notion of completely terminating my Twitter account does give me a little pause, of course. It has such a critical mass of users, and most of my friends aren’t using any other platforms, so there’s definitely an element of FOMO involved. I’ll just have to get past that.
I’m not alone in this regard. I read the article I Used to Fear Being a Nobody. Then I Left Social Media. with some interest, for example. I mostly managed to resist being driven by retweet count or likes, but I’d be lying if I said it was never a component of my decision making when trying to phrase a tweet just right.
There are other platforms and other communities, and new friends to be made. micro.blog has been growing steadily, and I’ve been subscribed to the discover feed for some time, enjoying the random slices of life from complete strangers. The vibe is definitely different there, in ways that even old-school Twitter didn’t quite capture. There’s an element of intention and thoughtfulness that is really appealing to me.
I’ve been tweeting for twelve years; and blogging for almost twenty. We’ll just have to see what the next two decades have in store…