Where I say goodbye to a now horribly run company, steered into the ground by yet another horrible rich person.
Twitter as a service had become my go-to tool for collecting news over the past 5-10 years. I quickly learned that following select resources that deliver consistent value - and eliminating any “fluff” accounts that I don’t really care for or follow - is the best way to get the most value from the service.
I also quickly learned to download a 3rd-party app to access Twitter, and found Tweetbot by Tapbots to be the cleanest, best experience for me.
I also learned to use Lists - groups of related Twitter accounts - to consume news and info. I had lists for News, Sports, Weather, Apple news, Entertainment, and more. This way I could read only targeted information on what I was interested in at the time.
Life was good.
In October 2022, the world’s richest person (that is, before he lost more money than anyone ever, due to his horrible decision making) acquired Twitter and took it private, and subsequently began firing many of the executives and teams that he deemed were no longer needed. His decision making is covered in the excellent Twitter is Doing Great! blog, highlighting what an absolute dumpster fire it has been, and showcasing how arrogant, inept, childish, and insecure the new owner really is.
Among terrible decisions including allowing anyone to buy a blue Twitter “verified” checkmark (leading to multiple account impersonations, many fooling news organizations with their fake announcements) and forcing employees to buy in to a toxic and intimidating culture of working harder and for longer hours, Twitter devs were instructed to cut off 3rd party access to Twitter data.
Cutting off 3rd party access meant that apps like Tweetbot, Twitterific (click through to see their eulogies) and many others are unable to exist. As alternatives to the official Twitter app, they did not have ads and operated under their own subscription fees. On a random Thursday evening, access was cut off without any notice or terms. A tweet from the Twitter Dev account mentioned cutting off access for breaking rules, and then subsequently invented and added those rules in the following days.
All to say, I’m leaving Twitter. I will not be posting there, I will not be following anyone there that I can not elsewhere, and my use of the service will be relegated to emergency use for checking updates by local and national accounts that have yet to get their act together and move to a reputable service.
The current, most popular alternative is Mastodon. Mastodon is a Twitter-like activity posting service, but differs in that it is federated: no one person, company or server owns all of Mastodon’s posts or foundations. Anyone can be followed - just like Twitter - by any other user. It’s free from ads and algorithms that tell you what you want. Probably 80% of the people and companies I followed at Twitter are on Mastodon, and roughly 60% of them have moved there exclusively.
Tapbots have developed a Tweetbot-like app named Ivory that is very well done, and allows me to seamlessly transition to Mastodon without skipping a beat. Ivory is in the early stages still - with some bugs and features yet to iron out - but it is very much functional and worth every penny of the subscription fee ($25/year).
I’ve also taken the opportunity to own more of my own data. I post as many “micro posts” here on my website as I can, instead of directly into Mastodon. This way I keep my data, and it gets shared to Micro.blog (another Twitter alternative) and to my Mastodon account. Micro.blog also cross-posts to my Twitter account, but I think I’ll be turning that off (Edit: turned off).
This is kind of a template now, similar to my Goodbye, Facebook post in 2018 (now updated).
Blindly following tyrannical and in-compassionate people and their causes is a pet peeve of mine. Not having the decency to respect those that have stood by and for something enough to give them the time of day is another. Twitter is a dumpster fire that will surely consume itself over time - if not within the year then surely over the next 5. And I’ll be happy to post all about it over on Mastodon.