Get off of Twitter

Twitter logo with a red "no" sign over it

Stop complaining about Twitter on Twitter. Deny them your attention, your time, and your data. Get off of Twitter.

The more time you spend on Twitter, the more money you make for Twitter. Get off of Twitter.

You at-mention @jack and call him out for the harassment and disinformation on his platform. You get a few hundred likes and retweets, each one sending your brain a little boost of serotonin. Twitter learns that you are interested in people who criticize @jack and starts to recommend you their tweets. You end up spending more time on Twitter, and advertisers learn a little bit more about you. You make @jack more money.

Get off of Twitter.

You can’t criticize Twitter on Twitter. It just doesn’t work. The medium is the message.

There’s an old joke where one fish says to the other, “How’s the water today?” And the fish responds, “What’s water?” On Twitter, you might ask, “How’s the outrage today?” (The answer, of course, is “I hate it! I’m so outraged about it!”)

Get off of Twitter.

Write blog posts. Use RSS. Use micro.blog. Use Mastodon. Use Pleroma. Use whatever you want, as long as it isn’t manipulating you with algorithms or selling access to your data to advertisers.

You’re worried about losing your influence. How about using your influence for something good? How about using it to stick it to Twitter, if you really dislike Twitter so much? Maybe if you do it, and your friends do it, then it will cause a sea change. After all, who was ever “influential” by following the crowd?

As Gandhi said (in paraphrase), “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Or as another influencer put it: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” Or if you prefer: “Practice what you preach.”

Get off of Twitter.

13 responses to this post.

  1. I subscribed to your blog (via RSS!) recently because, after some archive browsing, it seemed like you’d gone back to interesting posts about technology you work on, not rants about your favorite technology to hate. But with two posts in the last two days on this, I’m sad to have to unsubscribe.

    I hope you’ll consider in the future being a little less repetitive, and a little less negative.

    Reply

    • Thanks for the constructive criticism! I also recall you saying you’d unfollowed me on Twitter after I talked about Mastodon too much. :)

      I fully expect that this is a hill I will die on (or at least get seriously injured on), and yet I seem to keep coming back there. Maybe I will post more about web performance and stuff in the future, but I can’t really predict where my interest will wander.

      Reply

    • A good RSS reader lets you skim the article, realize it’s on a subject you’re not enthusiastic about, and skip it with a press of a button.

      I, for one, also care to hear about the whys of technology, not just the whats and the hows. The design of twitter directly influences how it is used and for what reason, even if users are not fully aware; “posting outrage about twitter on twitter feeds twitter” is a useful observation about a technological design.

      Reply

  2. Agreed! Plus, if you write a blog you own your content, which is a different topic.

    I’ve changed my approach to Twitter. Whenever I see something poisonous I just unfollow, mute or block.

    Cheers.

    Reply

  3. […] Nolan Lawson Liked it? Take a second to support me on Patreon! […]

    Reply

  4. It’s far easier to complain about something than to do anything about it. Twitter rewards (and makes money from) people complaining and posting negative things. It’s a downward spiral.

    I agree with you, and am doing my part. But until the incentives change, I do not expect the average person to do anything but the status quo. Somehow, independent content production and positive outlooks will have to be both easier and more profitable than massively scaled social media technology and bad news.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Damian on May 29, 2019 at 12:27 PM

    I left twitter and facebook a few months ago and feel better for it. It’s refreshing to realise you’re not as important as everyone feels they ought to be.

    Also, there’s a little bit of irony you still have your twitter and facebook share buttons at the bottom of the post :)

    Reply

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