On Twitter

There have been some rumblings about Twitter of late.  A lot of discontent with their seeming inability or unwillingness to address the abuse problem.  I myself have found it slightly less fun to use than it was in the beginning.  Partly the reason why I unfollowed all of political Twitter the other week.  Just done with the negativity.

There's been a push to show Twitter a lesson, leave and use something like Mastodon instead?  I get it.  Every few years there's a kerfuffle and the new shiny is touted as the way to go.  I mentioned:

If my timeline is to be believed, people are angry and leaving Twitter this week. It's noble. But I've seen this movie before, and it's called Ello.— Kevin Spencer (@kevin_spencer) August 17, 2018

At the weekend Simon Willison had an idea.

How about if, instead of ditching Twitter for Mastodon, we all start blogging and subscribing to each other's Atom feeds again instead? The original distributed social network could still work pretty well if we actually start using it— Simon Willison (@simonw) August 18, 2018

It's great.  A lot of people are a little put off by the idea of "blogging" in the who has time to write & consume long form posts sense.  But nothing says you have to write long form posts.   Short post-lettes from your blogging software of choice sounds like a great start.

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Quality Not Quantity

For a few days I decided to consume less Twitter. And you know what, it wasn't bad. Life went on. Twitter "the experience" hadn't felt quite right for months. Taking a break for a few days and coming back to it I immediately knew what the problem was. Political Twitter had become exhausting.

I'll admit I've officially reached peak Trump fatigue. I don't want to wade through all the outrage retweets. I just don't want to read about it anymore full stop. Any change you make in your life should be for the positive and make you happy. And so, I took a hatchet to political Twitter and unfollowed the entire echo chamber.

What remains are all the things I enjoy reading. And that's what it should be about anyway.

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Using Twitter

The other day I stumbled across an interesting clique on Twitter. It all started when I chuckled at this Artic Monkeys tweet.

"I wonder if there's more where that came from", after all political Twitter is all a bit depressing and I'm suffering from Trump outrage fatigue. Having a few more things that make me chuckle surely can't be a bad thing.

Enter constant comedy retweet Twitter.

These users all follow each other and retweet each other constantly all day. The only things they ever post are little jokey snippets in an attempt to out-funny each other. They're all on favstar and earn "trophies" for the number of likes and retweets. Their timelines are so polluted with retweets that they all add a URL to their profile consisting of a Twitter search for themselves minus retweets.

Because the accounts are all so samey with almost identical profiles, I thought they were bots. But now I'm not so sure. They're all super enthusiastic at what they're doing, some of them have 20-30k followers and to them this is their Twitter experience.

I thought it was mildly amusing for a bit and did get a couple of chuckles. But it's relentless and never ending. I didn't look at my phone for an hour and came back to 397 unread items in my timeline. Today I unfollowed all of them.

There are hundreds of accounts to use as an example so here are a random set.

@notittryagain
@TheBoydP
@delusions_of
@LoveNLunchmeat
@seamussaid

So there's that.

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On Twitter

Twitter rolled out support for 280 characters to everyone yesterday. Well, to be fair, they added it to their web interface. Their official Mac app hasn't had any love since May so only 140 characters available there still. Of any improvement they could have possibly made, doubling the length of posts not something that gets me excited.

Twitter: What do you want?
Users: Ban nazis.
Twitter: 280 characters it is!

I don't want Twitter to become a blogging platform. Part of its charm and success has been those 140 characters. It forces brevity, posts are easy and fun to write, and even easier to consume. My brain is starting to gloss over the longer tweets now. Thankfully 90% of my timeline respects a more civilized time.

And what's with that circle countdown thinger in the 280 character UI?