Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Thursday, March 8, 2018

farewell to Twitter?

A few weeks ago I deleted my private Twitter account — it was a good way to keep up with friends, but I found it impossible to control it (via disabled RTs, muted strings, etc.) well enough to prevent the frustration from exceeding the pleasure. That left me just with my public account, which I have been using primarily for linking to my own writing (e.g. blog posts like this one) and to cool things I’ve read by others. But I really really want to be out of the Twitter ecosystem completely — for obvious reasons: everybody knows that Twitter is horrible, there’s no need to belabor that point — so I have now deleted the public account too.

My chief concern with being off Twitter altogether is that I’ll be unable to provide a signal boost to people who are writing or making interesting things that other folks might not notice — and for that reason I could, I must admit, come back. So when Twitter notifies me, 29 days from now, that my account is about to be deleted, I might have a moment of weakness and log back in. (Twitter does prompt you when your account is about to be deleted ... doesn’t it?)

I am aware, of course, that most people who read this blog get to it via my Twitter links, so I am perhaps making myself more marginal than ever. Who will even see this post? But if you happen to see it, and want to see more, please try RSS. It’s great. Most of the cool things I read or see are posted here, or on my personal blog, or on my Pinboard page. And all of those have RSS feeds.

P.S. Have I written before about quitting Twitter? Have I quit Twitter before? Yes on both counts. I am pathetically irresolute. 

UPDATE (a few days later): Several people emailed me pleading with me to come back to Twitter, just for linkage. I guess for a great many people RSS is just a foreign technology. And since I can set up automatic posting to Twitter, why not? So that little experiment didn’t last long….

10 comments:

  • I detwittered at the beginning of the year. I have more time and feel more choice about what I read, but there are downsides too. When there is something big in the news I can just feel my twitter sense tingling: "I wonder what so and so is saying about this". I also know i am missing out on content, but shit you have to miss out on something.

  • You do miss stuff, Wrangler, but as Farhad Manjoo pointed out the other day, often what you miss is a whole bunch of people getting something wrong and freaking out about nothing. So maybe feature, not bug.

  • Still reading via RSS :)

  • I'm currently on a social media break for Lent - I've not been able to give up Twitter permanently, but some time away from it is good for my sanity. I keep up with selected blogs (including yours!) by RSS in Feedly, which much improves the signal to noise ratio in my online reading.

  • I disagree with your statement that "everybody knows that Twitter is horrible" - I think it would be more accurate to say that it can be horrible. I, on the other hand, continue to have more positive experiences on Twitter than negative ones. But anyway, I still get your blog posts in my email through rss feed. So that will work. =)

  • I feel like maybe a very Alan Jacobs-ish way of pushing through the inevitable Twitter twinges—the reflexive typing of the URL, the quiet skulking to the mobile web interface—would be… to write about it! Either here or on your personal blog, you could document the next 29 days—not necessarily, "Day 14. A timeline shimmers on the horizon. I know it to be false" but just some occasional reports on what you're experiencing. "Things I Read Instead of Twitter Today"!

  • "(Twitter does prompt you when your account is about to be deleted … doesn’t it?)"

    It does not.

    For what it's worth, Twitter is generally a very poor driver of traffic compared to Facebook and Google.

  • I’ve never been on Twitter. The pleasure/pain ratio has never been attractive enough for me to bother. That you were using it as a tool to flog your blog (and writings of others) is a different matter. It might still be useful in that respect if you can basically ignore the rest.

  • Robin, you interest me strangely....

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