My online world is abuzz with people leaving Twitter, discussing Twitter, discussing what Elon Musk is doing with Twitter and its employees, and how Mastodon is going to deal with the influx of Twitter refugees, in a September that never ended kind of way.
Clearly, my Twitter usage has seriously dwindled over the years. I joined early — December 2006. A few internet lifetimes ago. Facebook has clearly taken over my online presence, and if I’m making an overt effort to be present elsewhere, it’s here, on this blog. TikTok makes me feel old, and miss the good ol’ days we had with Seesmic.
So I’m not “leaving” Twitter. I honestly rarely saw the point of ever “leaving” anything. I tend to fade away. But I’ve had a mastodon account, on octodon.social, since April 17th 2017, my mailbox tells me. It was the first time in a long time that a new platform started showing up on my radar and it felt worth trying it out. I even wrote about it in my newsletter (looks like this is a post I forgot to import here… note for later). But I didn’t use it much. I’d drop in every now and again to see how things were, like I was doing with Twitter these last years.
Given so many people are joining Mastodon now, I looked for an easier way to find the people I’m following on Twitter there: fedfinder really helped (tip: add your Mastodon handle somewhere in your username or description so that scrapers such as this one can find it) and allowed me to follow a good hundred people or so I knew on Mastodon, in a few clicks and a few minutes of patience. So, now my Mastodon news feed feels a bit more like a familiar place. It still has the feel of the social media platforms of old, in the early days, but I’m not sure it will last.
What is happening with Twitter is making me think of other social situations where the good people leave because bad things are happening, and the only ones left in the room at the end are the bullies or the extremists. That’s one of the reasons I’m not leaving. I’m not fighting for the platform either, but I don’t want to remove myself and contribute to creating the void into which ugliness can freely pour.
I feel sad about what’s happening. The sadness of the favorite park or field of your childhood being bulldozed to build apartment blocks. The sadness of a restaurant you used to hang out with changing owners and becoming unrecognisable. The sadness of the world changing, whether it’s leaving you behind, or you leaving it behind.
I honestly don’t think Twitter will survive this, at least not in a form that will be recognisable as the Twitter we knew and loved. But it’s not time for me to pull the plug on it yet.