Twitter: What does it take for us to all quit?
November 5, 2017 8:33 AM   Subscribe

@Jack has been a busy boy recently: Twitter banned a popular account because dumb nazis fell for a prank (or pretended to). In fairness, so did fox. Twitter announced new rules to prevent abuse and harassment - the main outcome of which appears to be banning bisexuals. Nazis, an extremely favored user group on Twitters, are likely to be okay. A Twitter engineer identified Russian bots in 2015 and was told to "stay in lane". The thing Jack does want from employees, instead of raising obvious problems? Relentless optimism.
posted by Artw (126 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite


 
Oh and they deleted trumps account for all of 5 seconds but that would be too close to following reasonable policies so it was reversed.
posted by Artw at 8:36 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


OMG and the engineer who identified the proliferation of bots and was ignored was Leslie Miley - the only black engineer at Twitter! Fuck Twitter so much.
posted by latkes at 8:39 AM on November 5 [102 favorites]


Being an engineer at Twitter who actually gives a fuck must be the worst job.
posted by Artw at 8:39 AM on November 5 [65 favorites]


(Come join Mastodon everyone! We've got Toots!)
posted by latkes at 8:42 AM on November 5 [32 favorites]


Actual bisexual erasure. Grand.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:46 AM on November 5 [16 favorites]


Wait, so Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn't send an army of antifa supersoldiers to take over the United States yesterday? What is even the point of you, 2017?
posted by Copronymus at 8:47 AM on November 5 [37 favorites]


#BurnItAllDown
posted by glonous keming at 8:58 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I just want an all-text social media app that includes 20 interesting friends and that's it. And an agreement to not talk about Trump constantly.
posted by mecran01 at 9:00 AM on November 5 [2 favorites]


Makes you sad that so many "Twitter Killers" have fallen by the wayside. It seems like such an easy target yet no one has managed to even come close to competing.
posted by tommasz at 9:01 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


I suppose I could just use email or text chains and be done with it.
posted by mecran01 at 9:02 AM on November 5 [3 favorites]


Lately, the way I'm feeling about Twitter is the way I was feeling about Facebook 10 years ago, just before I deactivated my account. In those early days it felt very much about the people. Now it feels like pure capitalism. And maybe that's all it ever was, only I was focused on the people I discovered, the friendships I forged. But now that seems so secondary and behind the scenes. It's all politics and media. And it's too much.
posted by Fizz at 9:02 AM on November 5 [12 favorites]


The shame of it is, Twitter can be such a great tool for the fast dissemination of information, to and from people who have a hard time getting information exchanged to and from the wider world. It's been invaluable for following what's been happening in northern Syria, for example. But their cynical, amoral policy with regards to who can not only have a presence but also enjoy lopsided protection from reprisals (Richard Spencer has a verified account?) makes it an incredible shitpit, too. If I have to block one more person with a Pepe avatar...
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 9:07 AM on November 5 [10 favorites]


I was really skeptical of Mastodon but I've been enjoying the little small town I've found myself in. I hope everyone sticks around, it helps me stay off Twitter.
posted by selfnoise at 9:11 AM on November 5 [15 favorites]


Being an engineer at Twitter who actually gives a fuck must be the worst job.

I dunno, sonascope's plumbing experiences might be a contender....

On reflection, that comment might be applied to Twitter.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:23 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


Like srsly, how fucking hard is it to add to the list of 'reasons for flagging'? I dunno, something simple like "actual fucking Nazi" or "obvious Russian propaganda bot" or "Jesus, just look at the goddamn Racism Frog"?
posted by sexyrobot at 9:27 AM on November 5 [36 favorites]


Please come to Mastodon! We have cookies!

I'm still using my twitter account but I'm on my way out, slowly getting friends over to Mastodon instances. Twitter is not going to get better, it's fundamentally broken and evil.
posted by odinsdream at 9:27 AM on November 5 [16 favorites]


Just read a tweet that you can picture search for 'white pride' but not for 'butt' (unless it's part of a name). Marvelous twitter.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:32 AM on November 5 [10 favorites]


I really love Twitter for news and social connections and I'll be terribly disappointed if I come to a point where it's more annoying than it's worth.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:34 AM on November 5 [8 favorites]


I signed up for Twitter to follow interesting people that don't have accounts elsewhere. Soon after, I was blocked by N.K. Jemisin after responding to one of her posts - because Twitter is so awful at dealing with abuse and harassment that her only option is to block any recent/low subscriber accounts that retweet or respond to her.

I was also blocked by ChuraChura, because again - Twitter is so full of bullshit that assuming a new account is a misogynist, nazi troll is reasonable.

A while later, my account was suspended for "suspicious activity." I'm pretty sure that my account wasn't compromised (secure password, secure computer), so maybe it was because someone made a lot of attempts to get into it. And... I haven't tried to get the account back. Each time I think "maybe I should... I want to follow so-and-so..." I think to myself, "no."

If you're already established on Twitter it's a lot harder to leave and I understand why people might not want to migrate. But if you're not (like me), it feels almost personally wrong to support the platform.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:35 AM on November 5 [22 favorites]


Not only does Mastodon have actual bisexual people on it who are allowed to be visible, Witches Dot Down also has TWO bisexual emojis to choose from.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:37 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


I really love Twitter for news and social connections and I'll be terribly disappointed if I come to a point where it's more annoying than it's worth.

Pretty much same. Also I thought / think it might be useful for the business I'm in the process of getting up and running but I fear the signal to noise ratio is just too poor nowadays
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:38 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


It's certainly at the point where you can't use it without feeling you might actually be kind of a bad person.
posted by Artw at 9:40 AM on November 5 [10 favorites]


Oh it feels just as wrong even for someone who's used Twitter for years. They're actively horrible as an institution, as a corporate citizen, as a home for socialization, as a legal entity. They engage in and enable massive abuse of vulnerable groups, they refuse to listen to users, they treat abuse reports as suspicious activity. They actively support fucking Nazis, openly!

Literally the only reason I haven't totally left is because it's like a drug. I know people on there only and would miss them. I'm held hostage by this, to an extent. I'm slowly getting myself detached though. I can't ever delete my account because, again with the abuse and hostility, I need to be able to dip into the hellscape for legit reasons to be aware of abuse. I fucking despise that this piece of shit software is integral to so much that happens in our political and social systems right now. It needs and deserves to be burned to the ground. Literally.
posted by odinsdream at 9:43 AM on November 5 [18 favorites]




I had a twitter. Joined because a friend from England was on it, and i liked her. A few days after signing up, I noticed that I had like 500 people i was following. This was crazy, I had a day before only had three or four. Someone had hacked into my account, and followed like 500 people. I deleted every one, then slept on it, and deleted my account not long after. I never got to experience harassment, I was too busy experiencing a lack of security.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:14 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


deleted twitter off my phone like two weeks ago - it was taking over my life and reprogramming my brain. I do miss following krang t. nelson, notawolf, and a couple of other people but really my life is much better for it.
posted by youthenrage at 10:14 AM on November 5 [6 favorites]


The shame of it is, Twitter can be such a great tool for the fast dissemination of information, to and from people who have a hard time getting information exchanged to and from the wider world.

The great thing about Twitter is that there are no barriers to communication. The awful thing about Twitter is that there are no barriers to communication.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:22 AM on November 5 [8 favorites]


There are plenty of barriers to communication for certain people.
posted by dilaudid at 10:29 AM on November 5 [10 favorites]


Dumb nazis fell for a prank. So did fox.

Well, dumb nazis == Fox, so yeah, not surprised.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:34 AM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Twitter is perfectly capable of highly accurate identification of, and banning of, Nazis. This is necessary for their presence in Germany.

They choose not to use that skill anywhere else.

Twitter's moderation behaviors aren't accidental at all. Everything they do is intentional.

I am not supporting them, I will not use them, ever.

Metafilter should automatically ban any linking to Twitter. Stop supporting them.
posted by yesster at 10:34 AM on November 5 [49 favorites]


The Twitter engineer story strengthens my belief that they could probably deal with a bunch of their harassment and bot problems in a single hackday given the willingness to actually do anything. They have the data and the tools.
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on November 5 [4 favorites]


I've signed up for an account probably four or five times since Twitter emerged. Each time I've been utterly foxed by the user interface and been unable to work out what the hell I'm supposed to do, or to properly understand what people are tweeting about. I thought maybe it was my age, but plenty of people older than me seem to understand how it works. I just can't get my head around what Twitter is, which makes me worry that there's something wrong with my brain, because even Trump seems to be able to work it.
posted by pipeski at 10:42 AM on November 5 [9 favorites]


It's like Facebook statuses back in the day, but at higher volume, and with more mandatory interconnectedness, basically no privacy settings at all, and worse threading.

So, kind of like the transition from Livejournal etc. to Tumblr.
posted by inconstant at 10:46 AM on November 5 [5 favorites]


It takes doing it and walking away. Six weeks in now without Twitter. Four weeks and counting without Facebook.
posted by smallerdemon at 10:48 AM on November 5 [10 favorites]




If you're looking for Mefites on Mastodon, be sure to read The Mighty Mastodon Thread over on Metatalk.
posted by clawsoon at 11:09 AM on November 5 [10 favorites]


From a professional networking standpoint, I see people fragmenting into silos -- lots of little Slacks and Facebook groups and clusters on messaging apps, more enterprise IT work talk on LinkedIn and open source stuff on Github, but also more old school newsletters, mailing lists, and forums.

Turns out one giant "social network to rule them all" doesn't work, either for Facebook or Twitter. Multiple interests and context collapse make for a shitty single stream.

I also see people stepping back from social media in general, myself included. Turns out a 24x7 stream of other people's thoughts are not good for your brain either.

I think Twitter stays as sort of a "social dial tone" and as a news-sharing source, but I think the non-mainstream chat goes elsewhere. I also don't see that they have the internal understanding and culture to figure out how to fix it. Which is a shame, but is probably the way of all things...
posted by troyer at 11:20 AM on November 5 [8 favorites]


I keep telling myself I can't leave Twitter, because historically they've been less evil than Facebook, so that's where I focussed my marketing outreach, and I am an old and lethargic hack.

I have to be visible, and Twitter is an easier platform to remain visible on than anywhere else, once Facebook decided to monetize folks like me. (Well, leaving aside my blog community and Livejournal Dreamwidth. Ello didn't really catch on for me. (Also, with an ad-blocking client, Twitter is just about tolerable.))

But if you keep turning up the heat under the saucepan eventually the frog will notice and jump out. It takes a lot to make me ditch a social platform I've invested multiple years in. But Twitter seem to be doing their best to encourage me to fuck off this year, and if they don't dial back the encouragement for utter shitebags and simultaneously back off on the censorship of diverse/left/QUILTBAG voices, I'm going to have to try and figure out how to rebuild elsewhere. You'll know I'm on my way out the door when my twitter feed turns into monotonous daily "buy my books" tweets ...
posted by cstross at 12:06 PM on November 5 [33 favorites]


For whatever reason, today was the day that I decided to do it. I deactivated my Twitter account and deleted my Facebook account. I got on just fine without them before and I'll do the same moving forward. I really won't miss them. I paused for a moment before pulling the trigger - don't I need to use Twitter as a tool to find out the latest in the industry I work in, as well as a few peripheral industries? - no, this was just FOMO, something to which I thought I was immune. So I'm all the happier for having done this today. Thanks, Artw!
posted by SafetyPirate at 12:10 PM on November 5 [16 favorites]


Getting a little closer to the deactivate button every day. I would really miss some of those folks though. After my initial enthusiasm, I don't know if Mastodon is the answer, because the instances thing really makes it harder; your average person is just going to find it too confusing. I find it too confusing. I just want to log in and talk.

Ello could probably benefit if enough celebrities jumped over there, though, and others followed them, in which case I probably would too. They're still around and they are very twitter-like in interface.

Fuck I hope I can remember my ello login.
posted by emjaybee at 12:27 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


What helped me with FB and Twitter was switching off notifications. Seeing the red dot was creating a pavlovian response in me and making it something that I'd actively have to go and check has helped to break that addiction. Living overseas, FB and Twitter are useful tools for staying in touch, so I'd be reluctant to pull the plug completely though.
posted by arcticseal at 12:39 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


Science Twitter is so much fun, specifically bug twitter. I love it and it doesn’t remotely exist on any other social media. I want to boycott Twitter because it really truly is a terrible company but that little corner is impossible to leave.
posted by not_the_water at 12:44 PM on November 5 [9 favorites]


UGH.
I find Twitter only slightly less shitty than Facebook, but man, they are giving The Zuck a run for his money, I tell you what. I have an inactive account (@willmize), have deleted all my tweets except the "buy my books" and "read my blog" entries and locked the door behind me.
Should they get a great deal less shitty, I'll gladly return, but at least now they aren't making any ad revenue off of me, and they aren't giving me sleepless nights thinking about the shitty humans on there.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 1:00 PM on November 5


I created a Mastodon account many months ago, though have been unsuccessful in getting anybody I know from Twitter to join. Even the lefty anarchopunk Linux hacker types I know have put it in the too-hard basket and/or succumbed to social-network fatigue.

I suspect part of the problem might be the fact that, when I created my account, it was on mastodon.social, which stopped accepting new subscriptions shortly afterward. This was ostensibly to promote Mastodon's killer feature—federation—though it probably is also a barrier to adoption, requiring the would-be tooter to first find a good instance, a point at which many drop out.
posted by acb at 1:17 PM on November 5


I also see people stepping back from social media in general, myself included.

I think this is a huge part of it, is that it's social media burnout in general that's causing people to stay put and not try new services.

If you're in the 30ish to 45ish demographic and an early tech adopter, you've likely to remember the whole chain of social media experiments that go back before Friendster and MySpace and proceed to Facebook. You've been through this whole process of migrating to a new social media ecosystem and abandoning or shutting down old ones - and you likely remember how much of a pain in the ass it is. Or even how quiet or insulated a new service can be.

And so instead of people moving on to Mastadon or Ello or what have you, they're either burning out and just stepping back from social media entirely or just sticking with the status quo and critical mass because it's inherently easier just to stay put.

I think another factor is that people are now a lot more aware of the many ways it can be dangerous to share too much personal information online.

People have been fired over inadvisable posts or publishing weekend party activities. People have been doxxed and swatted or had angry mobs (real world and virtual) harassing them for dozens of different reasons and causes, including mistaken identity or being labeled as a SJW for speaking up about injustice.

The internet is definitely no longer a remotely safe or anonymous space. It's been over twenty years since the Eternal September in the late 1990s when AOL opened their gateways to the whole internet. That innocence is long gone.

Now, social networks and media have been weaponized. And social media is filling a void and power vacuum with the death of mainstream media and journalism, so many powerful bad actors are now seeking to manipulate it wholesale in ways they never could have dreamed of with broadcast and traditional media.


You guys, this goes a lot deeper than simply being able to chat with your friends and family or conveniences. We're now talking about a state of hot and open state-sponsored cyber warfare where the ammunition is you and your ideals and world view. Yeah, sure "meme war" used to be a silly joke, but here we are.

And like in advertising and marking, the ammunition is your mental health and self worth - except its worse because the end desired results aren't trying to sell you a car you don't really need, but the systemic destabilization of nations, the death of rational dialogue.

We need to make a serious effort (and sacrifice) to stop centralizing and aggregating so much social power with bad actors. These companies and the people who run them and start them are not our allies or our friends.

And even if they were our allies and friends and the service was staffed by the most aware gentle people possible, that much centralization is going to still going to be an attractive target for abuse and manipulation.

Please, please step away from Twitter and Facebook. It's not just about you or your media any more. It hasn't been that way for at least half a decade, now.

There's only one real way to take back this power, and that's not to give it to them in the first place.
posted by loquacious at 1:49 PM on November 5 [127 favorites]


Loquacious you are a treasure. Someday I hope to buy you a beverage of your choosing.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:56 PM on November 5 [6 favorites]


Loquacious you are a treasure. Someday I hope to buy you a beverage of your choosing.

Daww, thanks! But, eh, I'm mainly on the wagon these days. Donate it to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU - or throw a fiver at the nearest homebum looking for a cold one on 6th Ave or whatever.

I've briefly mentioned this in a couple of places on MeFi, and I don't really know what the deal is but apparently I'm really bored with alcohol. Sure, I had a problem and I've made noises about quitting entirely before, but... I just got bored? I also had some experiences in the past years with natural highs that were entirely out of scope and perspective that made pretty much all intoxication/inebriation has been severely dulled in comparison. (Which, frankly, is really kind of annoying but here I am.) Maybe I thought about all of the booze I've bought over the years and now I see "Oh, that could have been my dream camera and lens kit setup instead of a bunch of hangovers, empty bottles and body fat."

And apparently my personal reaction to the current social and political landscape is to sober the fuck up and work on improving myself and tackling a lot of personal issues, which, yeah, I really have no idea why it's happening like this but I'll roll with it.

I think and hope, happily, this has been reflected and present in the tone of my writing lately and the clarity of my thoughts, despite the pressures and bullshit of the world. Stay up, folks.
posted by loquacious at 2:35 PM on November 5 [26 favorites]


Evidently, this post was enough for me to deactivate my account. Was still on Twitter mostly because of inertia, so not really a meaningful deletion.., but there it is. First FaceBook, now Twitter. Guess Google is next?
posted by qwip at 2:52 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Google's only foray into social media qua social media was Google+, wasn't it? Nobody uses that anyway. Youtube is famously terrible, of course, but it's more media and less social.
posted by inconstant at 3:07 PM on November 5


G+, for all the shit it gets, is still being used and makes it really easy not to see vile shit and control who sees what about you. It's Google, though, so nobody takes it seriously aside from the people who actually use it. To the rest of the world it's "Google's failed answer to Facebook."
posted by wierdo at 3:21 PM on November 5 [8 favorites]


Google's only foray into social media qua social media was Google+, wasn't it?

Also Orkut
posted by thelonius at 3:24 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


A while later, my account was suspended for "suspicious activity."

My Twitter account was suspended for "suspicious activity" before I even posted anything. I had just followed a few modular synth manufacturers and leftist political organizations when I got the notice. Then they kept spamming my email telling me about more accounts I should follow (none of which were of any interest at all) but wouldn't let me unsubscribe from the email without logging in, which it wouldn't let me do without calling them on a phone.

So I blocked Twitter right back.
posted by Foosnark at 3:25 PM on November 5


Google's only foray into social media qua social media was Google+, wasn't it?

What about that wave thing?
posted by Room 641-A at 3:48 PM on November 5


I'm not going to join Mastodon because there's hundreds of instances, I have no idea which one to choose, and if I choose the wrong one I'll be stuck with the same group of uncool people for good. Also, how do I even find people if they're all on different weird servers? Where's the account for NK Jemison or Cat Valente or Swift in Security, or Kathleen Jacques? Am I going to be stuck with the same dozen people going "I cant think of anything to say" like on the instance I looked at?
posted by happyroach at 4:02 PM on November 5 [3 favorites]




Also Orkut

I actually completely forgot about Orkut. There's a bunch of other (non google) social network projects in that era I can't remember, too. One of the weirdest I remember was Breedster, which was some kind of weird evolutionary game-slash-social network experiment.

I'm also just now remembering all of the hype and energy around Friendster, how people really got into racking up the most friends in their list and finding lost contacts and stuff, how fast that site grew as a service and network.

Looking back in hindsight that kind of enthusiasm and active engagement seems and feels weird, now. On one hand people are a lot more wary and kind of jaded to the concept, and on the other it's not the same kind of early adopter culture where you were still kind of a weirdo if you were that into the internet.

And Facebook (or TheFacebook) was still only for EDU use and barely more than a gossipy school yearbook. I remember when they extended invitations to the students of the campus I worked at and having a really bad feeling about it, and not wanting to sign up even back then when it was still exclusively educational campuses only.

I made a comment about twitter here a long time ago when twitter was still new and the fail whale was still a thing that I can't find - and please don't take this personally, gentle twitter users - that was essentially my reaction to the inherent limitations of a microblog limited to 140 characters would foster the worst in sound-bite rhetoric and culture.

Never in my most fevered paranoid projections would I have said that we would have had someone using something like Twitter the way they do from office. Specifically that office.

I kind of regret this comment, now, because... well, the one liner was essentially "My God, it's full of twits."
posted by loquacious at 4:35 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


Can someone please tag every instance of loquacious dissing Twitter as eponysterical?
posted by ejs at 4:38 PM on November 5 [5 favorites]


happyroach, Mastodon lets you export your follow, block, and mute lists as csv so if you choose to move to a different instance you can just import those things there. There are a lot of MeFites on the mighty thread clawsoon linked above, and again for convenience. So far I like it. And, if it weren't for that one group on FB and the fact that it is the only way I can contact some people I will kill that with fire. Twitter is still useful for me because 1) there are a ton of teachers on there, and 2) it has all my local people on it--it was key to getting through 2011 quake etc.
posted by Gotanda at 4:39 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


Mastodon falls silent if you don't post stuff. So it's not much fun for consumption
posted by scruss at 4:42 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


I removed the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone right around the time of the Mastodon thread. I haven't deleted my accounts yet, but this thread reminded me that the reason I joined Twitter in the first place was to follow my local soccer team - we were in the second division, which in the US means you may as well not exist; even streamed matches were hard to come by at the time. So Twitter was nice because their press person would live-tweet the games, so you could see what was happening for away games. But now we've been "relegated to the MLS" (as we used to sing about the teams who made the jump before us) and I can watch it all on real TV (in HD, even!), and so... I don't know what good it's doing me. In the last year (or more) I'm pretty sure the only thing I've used it for was to check in on one controversy or another. So maybe it's time for that to go away for good.

Deleting the Facebook account is a bigger step because I have a couple relatives who like seeing kid pictures. But no one seems to have noticed that I haven't posted anything for over a month, so... we'll see.

I'm trying to get into Mastodon - what scruss says is true, and I don't always have much to say, so it's a little tricky. But I would kind of like to be in a place where it's people I know, so I'm working on connecting with MeFites. And I'd use MLTSHP more probably if I could figure out how to make it not rotate my photos.
posted by nickmark at 5:01 PM on November 5


We've got far flung friends and family so while I can understand quitting corporate social media, for me and Mrs Ber it is a necessary evil. We draw our line in the sand, standing up for those who need representation and fight the good fight. On Twitter I follow a host of like-minded politicos and celebs who speak truth to power and well, some Twins baseball geeks as well. And yeah, if I quit FB or Twitter, it would get noticed.

I can understand walking away. But understand that some of us need it to stay in touch and we're there fighting the good fight.
posted by Ber at 5:58 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I'm fascinated to see how many problems people are having. I mostly follow news reporters and a few activists on my Politics list on Twitter, and I enjoy it because I get to see what's breaking, but I rarely see much drama on Twitter and I've never been attacked or suspended. I find Facebook increasingly boring because there are far too many sponsored links and their algorithms keep serving up things I don't care about over and over again.
posted by Peach at 6:33 PM on November 5 [3 favorites]


Peach: try tweeting: "PSA: Trans women are women. Trans men are men. #TransIsBeautiful"

You'll find out aaaaalllll about the hell side of twitter.
posted by odinsdream at 7:04 PM on November 5 [22 favorites]


I also see people stepping back from social media in general, myself included. Turns out a 24x7 stream of other people's thoughts are not good for your brain either.

It's like the cycle of meth abuse that waxes and wanes as communities realize how destructive it is.
posted by mecran01 at 8:01 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Now it feels like pure capitalism.

Twitter is basically people shilling their wares. It is advertising, pure and simple. It is the forum to (a) spew your preachy unfocussed and uninformed middle-class vitriol, (b) promote something you made, or (c) repost someone else's (a) and (b).

It is a very cold and selfish way to talk at people rather than to them, and frankly, I am surprised it is still a thing. It has the same vibe as MySpace to me; so why anyone bothers to whine about that white noise Tower of Babel is beyond me.

The only two people who actually got that fragmented noise machine was Donald Trump (proving any ranting grandpa with an account there can make himself president with it, screw you cocky, hip Millennials), and Rose McGowan (proving sabotaged, enraged actresses can actually take down an entire shameful industry used to prop up otherwise useless blowhards. Go girl!).

Otherwise, it is communication by spam and mini-press release...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 8:27 PM on November 5 [4 favorites]


I can understand walking away. But understand that some of us need it to stay in touch and we're there fighting the good fight.

I want you (and anyone) to really consider and think about how effective this is, and really ask yourself if you really believe this or if its merely a justification for convenience or the status quo in your own life.

I am in no way diminishing the good that standing up and speaking truth to power can bring. Or that standing up for the voiceless or powerless is anything but a net good. These are important things.

I'm asking because I've used this exact argument myself regarding my participation in various places. Say reddit, which has a fuckton of problems with toxicity and the tolerance of intolerance. At this point, I don't think there's any "good fight" there, or on twitter, or anywhere that justifies being the commodity or product being sold.

Because participating in that "good fight" is often the fuel that's driving clicks, pageviews, ad buys and revenues.

But at the end of it all - are we really changing any minds that need changing, or are we just arguing to vent our frustrations at someone wrong on the internet? At what point is it like metaphorically arguing in the lobby of a theater that's on fire when really everyone should be evacuating the whole building?

At what point does staying in that metaphorical flaming theater prevent the safe egress of others?
posted by loquacious at 8:41 PM on November 5 [8 favorites]


Count me in as another one who actually doesn't get that much drama from Twitter personally. And I follow a broad range of left-to-hard-left commentators, media outlets, combined with military and strategic research. And random stuff. And I comment a lot. I only check in once or twice a day, but I actually enjoy it.

Last year I came back to FB after cancelling my account 8 years before. It's fine - all our family and most of our friends live in other countries and we have reconnected with so many other people, family are happy to see more photos of our kid, I have learned about some cool stuff. I use an ad-blocker on the desktop (and wish it would be rolled out to devices), only check it once or twice a day. Not saying that Twitter and Facebook the organisations are not evil capitalist organisations but I do sometimes think people should take a step back and maybe think why people are using the tools (twitter and facebook) in such shitty ways - including believing all the stupid ads and such - rather than just saying burn it all to the ground. Because if you get rid of Twitter and FB, idiots will continue to be idiots, and uneducated people will continue to be suckers.
posted by Megami at 9:13 PM on November 5 [2 favorites]


odinsdream: try tweeting: "PSA: Trans women are women. Trans men are men. #TransIsBeautiful"

Ima try that with my other account. If you don’t hear from me within 48 hours, I will have gone down fighting.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:13 PM on November 5 [6 favorites]


Can someone please tag every instance of loquacious dissing Twitter as eponysterical?

Aaaaand it's probably time to change my username. This one is over ten years old and it's starting to chafe. Suggestions welcomed at my inbox.
posted by loquacious at 9:37 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


I'm in the same boat with some of you where I use Twitter to sometimes keep up with breaking news, but mostly to follow comedians and writers and a few IRL friends who for whatever reason uses it as their main social media outlet. I do know that some of them enjoys it purely for their niche community, like K-Pop fandom and memes. Tumblr just doesn't have the same instant conversations on their favorite new music video that Twitter allows, and I don't see communities like that jumping ship to Ello or Mastodon anytime soon.

I've scaled back my political posts on FB in the last couple of weeks because I got tired of either no one liking or commenting, which I assume means no one cares that the world is burning, or just friends from the other side of the aisle nitpicking some strawmen stuff, while the same 5 people everytime chime in to agree. And it's actually been kinda nice. Now it's mostly stuff about TV and my linked Instagram feed, and the engagement is just healthier for me. But the most important thing for me is the FB groups and events. There just isn't another platform where the majority of my friends are on and we can readily get together through an event and keep each other informed of stuff in our area in our private group.

I have adblocker running on my desktop, and I even have Social Fixer for FB, so my experiences have been mostly ad-free. I can't escape them on mobile, but I'm using wrapper apps that don't allow ads to be super annoying simply due to technical limitations.

All that said, I wouldn't mind jumping ship, especially from Twitter, but I'll wait till' Megan Amram starts posting her jokes on Ello.
posted by numaner at 9:49 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Stop using all social media tomorrow and you will be fine. These are ad companies who are a surveillance network that funnel extremism. Just stop using them.
posted by koavf at 10:18 PM on November 5 [5 favorites]


I bailed on Twitter today. Did an export of all my tweets (which was depressingly small) and marked the account for deletion.

I didn't have to think about it for too long to work out that I was getting zero value out of Twitter.
posted by krisjohn at 10:22 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


Yow, I am agreeing with a lot of things here and maybe coincidentally am in the process of deciding which social medias I want to extricate myself from. Instagram has actually been the toughest for me to ditch, maybe because I actually felt like I was creating something unique? In any case I'm trying out Mastodon, I think I like it so far.

FB is^H^H was always out of the question, I am with jwz on that one.

It also helps that I am no longer the proprietor of a business that benefits from activity on social medias, which I am grateful for.

It also also helps that someone wrote a crossposting tool, so I don't have to figure out how to rewrite my kfjc-liker tool right away.

Oh also I didn't delete my accounts but I did unfollow everybody, hopefully that reduces some of my value to the networks?
posted by pagrus at 10:24 PM on November 5


I feel like I live in Opposite Land when it comes to social media. I'm a queer woman of colour and I have had issues on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, but I feel like overall I have a better experience with them than I do with the other ones. I was famously viral in 2014 for pointing out that Ello has no blocking or filtering mechanism (interestingly the only place where I got vicious comments for that perspective has been Metafilter).

I'm on Mastodon and am fairly known enough to have written a paid article about it, but the reason I was well known was because I was harassed to hell on my first few days on Mastodon (to the point of my harassers targeting my Patreon of all things) for speaking about how Mastodon was super super white. Hell, I don't think Mastodon's really resolved their whiteness issue: Gargon (the main dev) keeps talking about how he wants Black Lives Matter to set up shop in Mastodon and literally all he's done is contact deray about it - deray (who isn't even a BLM founder!!) didn't respond, therefore BLM isn't interested, therefore POC don't want to join Mastodon. Sigh. (The closest I've come to getting harassed on Reddit is that an interview with me got posted on KiA, but asides from some grumbling about "virtue signalling" nobody there decided to interact with me or give me much attention.

I find that too many people try to find technological fixes for what are essentially human problems. A friend tried to talk to me today about a social network that was "more decentralised than Mastodon", as though the decentralisation was the main thing that will protect people from harassment. Except the way this social network was set up seemed to rely on people being able to "handle polite challenging conversations" or something like that - which just means people like me having to put in the emotional labour of dealing with other people's bullshit while being told off as "hostile" even when we're as polite as possible, and not getting much support from the "community" because we haven't built up much social capital. I've already done that dance with Mastodon, I don't need to do it again.
posted by divabat at 10:32 PM on November 5 [21 favorites]


Megami: I use an ad-blocker on the desktop (and wish it would be rolled out to devices)

There are ad blockers for devices, just not on all browsers. Maybe a different browser would fix that for you? Try Brave (I don't use FB and Twitter, so no guarantees).
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:32 AM on November 6


I quit Twitter after the election for about 6 months. Then I slowly got back into it, culminating in noticeable anxiety and grumpiness. I've been off it for the past 2-3 months and I can honestly say I feel better for it. I might check out Mastadon, it looks interesting!

I miss OLD Twitter but I don't miss Twitter of the last 2 years. It's a cesspool of bad news and apathy.
posted by like_neon at 3:24 AM on November 6


I stopped tweeting after the US election, then switched my account to locked, but this ost pushed me to finally pull the plug and delete my account. I met some awesome people on twitter and had a great time, and I miss My People on there, but fuck Jack and all this hot garbage.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 3:27 AM on November 6


I left facebook for ages and only came back a few years ago when an organisation I was involved in did all their biz their. I kinda stayed to keep track of old friends who ain't on twitter.

A friend of mine has recently started to do art streaming on twitch - I've started getting into it and I can really see me getting a lot of social interaction there instead of twitter going forward
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:56 AM on November 6


Getting a little closer to the deactivate button every day. I would really miss some of those folks though.

I nuked my account a few months ago. I'd been there for 10 years with thousands of tweets and several hundred follows/followers. The hardest thing about deleting my account was deleting my account. Everything about it has been just ducky since then.

There are folks whose voices I really loved hearing on a daily basis (including several lovely mefites!), and I did actively miss their voices for a short time. But honestly? I didn't miss that for long, because those folks fell into two categories: (1) people who I know in real life or "follow" through other means (MeFi, for example) and (2) people I only knew of via Twitter. Category 1 is no problem, because Twitter doesn't have a monopoly on my relationship with those people, and in the end, Category 2 ended up being no problem either, because I had no problem getting the value I derived from that second group elsewhere.... because hey, Twitter doesn't have a monopoly on ideas or perspectives either! The only really surprising thing was how quickly I went from kind of missing Twitter, to not giving one solitary shit about the absence of Twitter in my life. After 10 years as a user, I'd say that process only took about 5 days.

And now I don't have randos popping into my mentions to call me a "cuck" on a daily basis, and I don't have to deal with Twitter's utterly toxic corporate ethos. Good times!
posted by duffell at 4:56 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Facebook, Google and Twitter Executives on Russian Disinformation US Senate Judiciary Committee, Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee hearing of "Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online."(running time: 03:00:00) Witnesses: Colin Stretch, VP & General Counsel, Facebook, Sean Edgett, Acting General Counsel, Twitter, and Richard Salgado, Dir. of Law Enforcement and Information Security, Googgle
@ 00:32:00-00:38:16, dragnet agreement
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE: Thank you, Chairman. So I take it we can all agree that the Russians did in fact interfere and meddle in the 2016 elections. Your observations on that are consistent with what our intelligence community reports. Is that correct? Mr. Stretch?
STRETCH: That's correct, senator.
WHITEHOUSE: Mr. Edgett?
EDGETT: That's correct.
WHITEHOUSE: Mr. Salgado?
SALGADO: That's true.
WHITEHOUSE: Okay. And I gather that all of your companies have moved beyond any notion that your job is only to provide a platform, and whatever goes across it is not your affair?
STRETCH: Senator, I, our commitment to addressing this problem is unwavering. We take this very seriously are committed to investing as is necessary to prevent this from happening again. Absolutely.
WHITEHOUSE: Mr Edgett?
EDGETT: Yes, I absolutely agree with Mr. Stretch and this set of activity not only creates a bad user experience but distrust for the platform. So we are committed to working every single day to get that better at solving this problem.
WHITEHOUSE: Mr. Salgado?
SALGADO: That's the same for Google. We take that very seriously. We've made changes and we will continue to get better.
posted by marycatherine at 6:09 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Hell, I don't think Mastodon's really resolved their whiteness issue

Yeah, that whole thing with Gargron being all "I tweeted at Deray once, what more can I do???" was pretty shameful. I'm glad that he's been dialing back to focus on the tech and leaving the community side of things to others.

The fact that the service and the communities have mainly been built by and for white nerds (even if a pretty significant portion of them are queer white nerds) is the biggest problem with Mastodon. And that extends to the way it gets pitched and the terminology.

Federation! Instances! Decentralisation! Three things that don't mean anything to anybody and nobody cares about.

What I find promising about Mastodon is that it's a toolkit that people can use to build the kinds of communities they want to see while still being in touch with a larger network of other communities. The challenge is to make the technical barrier of entry low enough that marginalised people who aren't techies will be able to participate in the community building. The tools aren't that mature yet, but I have hope that it'll get there soon. You know, like when DreamHost sets up a One-Click Install for Mastodon or something and the documentation explaining all the choices admins can make about what instances are visible on their federated timeline is good enough to make sense to laypeople.

But that's unfortunately kind of a major shift from what Gargron and a LOT of Mastodon members have been focussed on, namely building a decentralised social network that meets some arbitrary critical mass of membership, to instead empowering people to create their own social networks as easily as they can create Wordpress blogs.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:24 AM on November 6 [4 favorites]


Agreed completely with tobascodagama on those points. I've been working on trying to make the install easier, and less expensive (in time, money, etc.) because it's definitely a fiddly nerd thing right now.
posted by odinsdream at 7:28 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Over the next two hours, the three witnesses proceed to defend the sensitivity of their methods, humanint and mechanical rules, in discerning the intentions of "user content". There is some concern among members of the subcommittee (not Democratic Party members, notably) that the "platform" publishers are ill-equipped to protect "user" first amendment rights.
posted by marycatherine at 7:42 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


Tobascodagama, there are some people working on making starting a Mastodon instance easier; while doing my research before starting on the journey of setting up my own instance, I ran across https://masto.host. I ended up doing it the hard way because I want to be able to try making my own tweaks to the codebase, and that's taken... quite a while. It's been almost a month since I started, and I think https://dragon.style seems to be relatively stable now, and I have a local instance up and running on my own computer that I'm starting to play with. But this took many hours of frustration spread out over several days. I wish odinsdream well in their 'make Masto an easier install' quest!

My Twitter output, once pretty constant, has slowed to a "oh hey I haven't been around here in three days" tweet every so often. I think I may be about done there. Mastodon's having a lot of growing pains right now, and maybe in ten years it'll be a terrible thing we're all done with, but I think at least it'll be a very different kind of disaster than the one the pressures of being financed through VC and ad dollars has turned Twitter into.
posted by egypturnash at 10:10 AM on November 6 [5 favorites]


What she said.
posted by odinsdream at 10:14 AM on November 6


People of good social conscience can quit and delete, and vote with our feet. But as long as the mass of people don't, then FB, Twitter and Google will continue to have huge negative effects on our society and polity. This is why there must be legislative fixes. The hearings on election interference were a good start. But as social media tech evolves, so must the law. It will forever be playing catch-up, but lagging fixes are better than none. Call your reps and make this an issue.
posted by jetsetsc at 11:07 AM on November 6 [1 favorite]


I signed up for Mastodon but it never really made sense to me; I got it going but it felt both empty and fragmented in a way that made filling it up and connecting seem like chores rather than joys, and the interface was a bit opaque. In the early days of Twitter those things felt like joys. Not so much now, of course.

I haven't been on the receiving end of Twitter abuse, but I'm a straight cis white dude who can throw down when it's required, and those things (especially the straight cis white dude parts) tend to make me the least fun target for the service's griefers. I have witnessed it, and it's appalling. I am a less heavy user of the service than I was, and have definitely noticed a change even in my own feed.

A lot of us on Canadian literary/book publishing twitter used it like a cross between FB statuses and instant messenger; it was not unusual for me to post 100+ tweets in a day back in, say, 2010 or 2011, most of which would have been part of extended conversations among multiple people. This is how I wound up with 49.3k tweets. I owe both my current editing job and my freelance work as a book critic to Twitter. I got to interview a big name like William Gibson for a tiny little arts magazine with a circulation of something like 500 because of Twitter. Hell, I briefly fell in love because of Twitter.

Those days are long gone, substantially eroded first by marketers and journalists (the "rules for twitter" articles that were being published weekly by the dozen back in the day were written largely for journalists, marketers and other latecomers using it in a professional context, and who couldn't fathom using it for any other purpose, but their "rules" were mostly inflicted on everybody), and then later killed entirely by gamergaters and other alt-right jags following hot on their heels with their own, significantly worse nonsense.

I'm on social media now--Twitter and Facebook in particular--mostly because there are specific people whose insight or relationships I value that I can't reach otherwise, or at least not without dramatically increasing the time burden on each of us to untenable values--and Twitter, for all its problems, remains unrivaled for breaking news. It's also still the second best place for having conversations with people I know (and the best for people in Canadian book publishing).

Is it salvageable? I have no idea. Is there anything that replaces the value I got from it at its best, or even the more limited value it has now? Not even remotely close. I think it's possible to fix the service's problems, but the company needs to actually want to, and right now it looks like they don't.
posted by Fish Sauce at 11:37 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]


I can't stand twitter, but my real-life social life would be so much less rich if it wasn't for Facebook. I'm really not sure what I would replace it with - for example I just started at a new office and from a post a couple hours ago have lunch plans with a couple of friends I rarely have spent much one on one time with. I "met" loquacious via a mailing list ages ago, but even at it's hey-day that list wouldn't've provided that. I have to assume the people saying it'd be easy to drop FB are only interacting with people they don't ever intend to see in real life, or have other plan making avenues with? I'm genuinely curious, because my offline life would immediately get a lot less fun if I cut that out of my online life, to the point that I can't even consider it. Is part of that a function of being in Los Angeles with a very spread out social group?
posted by flaterik at 1:12 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


I was browsing twitter the other day and thought "this website is built for hate groups." I think lefties like yours truly think that's not the case because, as far as I can tell, urban liberals were there when Twitter first started but ... it's just not the same website anymore. And that didn't happen by accident: it is the website that it is because it was designed to be this way.

I was thinking about how, in its infancy, Twitter was always crashing. Maybe the Fail Whale wasn't a way to signal the servers were down, maybe it was a warning.
posted by Tevin at 1:34 PM on November 6 [1 favorite]


What Is Twitter Without Trump?
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on November 6


I honestly miss mailing lists, and the one that flaterik is referring to still exists. I'm still subscribed to it and it's been, uh, wow, 25 years now? (It's a regional electronic music focused list that used to be part of a national and global hodge podge network of similar lists.)

I'm not entirely sure what the alternatives to Facebook are or should be, and replacing the real life social aspects is going to be one of the more complicated problems. I've honestly never used Facebook outside of doing some light work related social media management.

I personally use a combination of email, text and chat. (Google hangouts aka google chat, Signal for SMS/txt.) People who are close to me know I'm a prolific email writer.

If I need to discuss things or negotiate social meetups with more than one person at a time, I start a gmail thread with those people CC"ed. I can do the same with SMS group chats. It works fine. I've also found it's pretty much painless to recall or find old information in my gmail account just using search. (And, yeah, I want to leave gmail, too. I've been uncomfortable with how much of my life is tied to that gmail account for a long time, now.)

I manage contact lists both online (gmail, google) and off (exported and edited flat text file, ctrl-f to find a contact name) and this works fine. I don't lose contact information or threads or conversations.

However, my IRL social life isn't very complex at all. I currently live in a small town where there's essentially two bars where I could find anyone I'd care to hang out with. But even when I lived in LA or Seattle I still didn't have much trouble organizing a more complex social life via SMS or email.

I'm genuinely curious, because my offline life would immediately get a lot less fun if I cut that out of my online life

Well, in my opinion this is definitely in the territory of "sometimes real personal sacrifices have to be made for what you believe in and/or the greater good", just like doing something like boycotting Walmart in a small town might severely limit your shopping choices and could even cost more money.

I'm certainly not suggesting that it's going to be easy to replace it for a lot of people, or that it won't involve sacrifices.

I don't think anyone is saying that Facebook or Twitter can't be useful, rewarding or even uplifting and empowering. Very few issues are black and white, and in the case of social media there's a whole lot of grey area and space.

What it has come down to for me personally with Facebook is that there is no social or career benefit for me that's worth it to give over that much of my personal life and data to someone as ethically slimy and repugnant as Mark Zuckerberg.

I do know my social life has suffered without Facebook because I'll miss parties or shows I'll hear about later, and I've heard "Oh, I posted it to Facebook!" so many times now I can't remember them all. And people still sometimes look at me like I have three heads when I say I don't use it.

But I also know I wouldn't be happy using it, and I've debated making an account a few times. Not that I can with my primary email address, since I'm locked at the administrative level by request. And yet I still get Facebook account creation attempts daily with that email. But since I'm admin-blocked, I can't go tick the little box that tells them to stop emailing me, not that they would anyway.

I've also considered making a twitter account but that's just because I'd like to get banned/blocked by Trump, because when have I ever had the chance to vent my spleen at a sitting President so directly?
posted by loquacious at 1:46 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


Twitter still doesn't have a full time CEO.
posted by Nelson at 1:58 PM on November 6


Also, if I was going to extract myself from Facebook, this is what I would probably do:

Go through my contact list and cull it to the people I really wanted to keep in touch with.

I would send these people an individualized form letter asking for their contact details (Email, phone, skype/gvoice, even snailmail) and include my own. Some contacts might only get email, some may get all of the above depending on the relationship.

I would also communicate with closer friends to set up pre-approved permission to share my contact details with others in case I missed anyone that I'd like to reconnect with. (I do this, now.)

I would also probably include reasons why I'm leaving Facebook, both personal and political, and even include some links about mental health and politics w/r/t Facebook and social media, as well as Zuckerbug's sliminess and stuff. (Granted, I'm an opinionated crank. YMMV.)

While waiting for responses and contact information, I would probably save any photos, media or conversations I wanted to archive for after deleting Facebook.

After a certain amount of time and collecting contact information (A couple of weeks? A month?) I might post one "last call" for contact information and then maybe publicly announce that my account will be closing. (Perhaps with the copy-paste about why, with supporting links.)

Post Facebook I would make an effort to email/txt/call the people in the contact list individually. I would request and remind them that I would still like to hear from them, that they can chat me up on SMS, chat or email just like they did on Facebook.

I would also gently reach out and request, say, family photos or the usual media that I would normally get from Facebook. I would also set up, say, a Dropbox or Google Drive folder and invite those people to be able to post to it, so they could just drag/drop photos and such to me or so I can share photos with them. (I already do this, too.)

Going forward from there, I would make an effort to be inclusive and, say, start group conversations via email CC lists. Ongoing group CCs used to be a thing, and they were pretty awesome.

I would join email lists or group forums for my special interests and hobbies. For things like geographically localized social events and parties I would try to find email-based lists to subscribe to, or set up RSS feeds from local calendars, or make a routine habit of visiting event organizer pages directly, including public-facing Facebook pages. I would also strongly encourage promoters and organizers to embrace non-Facebook promotion options whether they were email lists, SMS lists or plain old web pages and calendars.

I would also make an effort to renegotiate my own expectations, to expect to miss some things and to not let it upset me.

And, flaterik: Just try to remember how hard being a raver was back before we even had cell phones or websites. Heck, I barely even had a pager for most of the 90s. We still managed to show up 5,000 strong at totally illegal warehouse break in raves armed with little more than a voicemail info line and fliers with a phone number on them.

Granted, I also remember losing my friends more than once after a busted party and wandering around some apocalyptic LA hellscape until dawn and I could find a ride home or make contact with someone via payphone.

Also remember: justice > fun.

posted by loquacious at 2:13 PM on November 6 [7 favorites]


I mostly bailed on FB about six weeks ago. I haven't missed it. I say mostly because my account is still active. I unfollowed everybody except my wife and kids, and I unfriended about 80 people. I still get notifications about events, but otherwise if I log in there is nothing but ads on my wall, as my wife and kids don't post much. I still use Messenger too. If I have 10 minutes to kill I'll scroll through my friends list and click through to a friend's profile page to see what they've been up to, but I'm totally in control, it's not the FB algorithm deciding what I might "interact" with on the wall. If I want to say something to somebody I use Messenger, I don't post on their wall. All in all my FB usage is down 95% and I don't feel like I'm missing anything. It turns out seeing a friend's vacation photos a week or two later when I get around to checking in on their profile doesn't really diminish their vacation, or my ability to enjoy it vicariously.

Now to figure out what to do about Twitter.
posted by COD at 2:22 PM on November 6


Everything loquatious just said, so much.
posted by odinsdream at 3:23 PM on November 6


I certainly admire the amount of work you're willing to put into this, but when I look at the actual impact my not being on FB would make vs the amount it would hurt my life... well, I think it's not a purely evil enterprise, and while I would not now work there, it's hard for me to make that cost:benefit.
Also, putting out flyers with an info line would be a TERRIBLE way for me to find out that more people I know than I knew about are frequently in the area for lunch and would like to meet up with me soon!
Justice is certainly > fun, but is the amount of negative to my life and happiness actually worth the tiny increment to justice it would achieve? It's not a question with a quantifiable answer, of course. Thinking about it is certainly worthwhile, though.

Great, now I'm thinking about The Good Place and how I have to wait months for a new episode.

I'm still on that list and have been meaning to check out the mix you posted.
posted by flaterik at 5:22 PM on November 6


Look, I honestly don't want to go onto A new social media group just to hear a half dozen bunch of randos I don't know chat. I've got Metafilter for that. I'm on Twitter, because the authors and artists and science people and a couple friends are on there. As far as I can tell, NONE of those people are on Mastodon. So at this point, it's not a viable alternative to Twitter.

That's the real challenge Mastodon faces, and that's why it'll probably never go anywhere. But hey, for a start, see if you can get Chuck Tingle or John Scalzi to switch over. That'd probably draw some more creatives over. And maybe if it can keep going until Russia pulls the plug on Twitter, it might reap the benefit of people looking fr a replacement.
posted by happyroach at 7:07 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's the thing I've never understood about twitter: why should I care about some marginally famous person's 140 character hot takes. On mastodon the hot takes are 500 characters, and people will respond to you even if you don't have a thousand followers or the magic blue check mark.
posted by Pyry at 9:41 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


All my twitter accounts were stolen from people who registered with my six letter gmail address (multiple times, some with extra punctuation thrown in). Same for instagram, pandora, snapchat, nextdoor, mojang, and netflix.

(Not only do I reset their passwords, I also turn on 2 factor.)
posted by ryanrs at 10:51 PM on November 6 [7 favorites]


I think there might be some kind of selection effect where people with negative opinions are more likely to post, so I have to say my experience with mastodon is very positive. I have a lot of content to follow: the Metafilter list, people I've found in the local timeline, a few people I know from elsewhere. There's a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

I haven't given up Twitter altogether: you're not obliged to and there are apps like Cosian that let you access both. When I look at Twitter now though, for me it already seems to have shifted from a social network where you have friendly conversations with your peers to more of a news feed. Most of the tweets I see are retweets or feeds, hardly anyone's talking about their lives any more, maybe because it's become such a potentially hostile place.

I suspect people who joined Twitter more recently have the expectation that it's mostly a place to follow news and celebrities and react to them. Those people are uninterested in or baffled by Mastodon which is more like Twitter in its early days or maybe Slack today, a level ground to talk about your lives or your work or your art.

Minor anecdote. Back in 2010 I was doing some app development and went to the "Chirp Twitter Development Conference" in San Francisco, where amongst other things they hyped up a club night where we would get to mingle with celebritites. When we actually got there the arrangement was that there was a large dancefloor where us peon developers could awkwardly not dance, and a balcony around the room where the Twitter executives could mingle with celebrities and look condescendingly down upon the masses.

I think that symbolizes the way the Twitter executives have always seen Twitter: blue checkmark celebrities on one level, the masses lurking below. The masses are of no interest individually, as long as the overall numbers can be pumped up somehow. That's why the useful developments like @ replies and the Tweetdeck interface have generally come from outside Twitter headquarters: Twitter themselves aren't very interested in the experience of everyday users.

But one consequence of that is that when I go from Mastodon to Twitter I'm amazed how poor the user experience of the corporate site is by comparison: a tangled mess of out-of-order tweets, giant boxes nagging me to switch on notifications, repeats of things I've already seen, where it's unclear what clicking will even do. Metcalfe's Law means that despite the poor experience Twitter has the advantage of size. But if Twitter started up from scratch today I don't think anyone would see the appeal.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:05 AM on November 7 [3 favorites]


Twitter apologises for 'technical issue' that blocked searches for 'bisexual'
posted by Carol Anne at 5:50 AM on November 7


I was starting to use Twitter as a newsfeed (which was negatively adding to my anxiety) and now that I'm off it, I've been using Buzzfeed! Yes Buzzfeed!

On Twitter I would see 5-10 posts of the same event/incident with maybe a hot take or two but it just really drove up my stress. On Buzzfeed they have some long form content for the biggest news stories and I can easily scroll right by and instead read a silly list about what crazy late night snacks they eat in Liverpool.

Also, Buzzfeed frequently creates summaries of "Best Tweets of the Week", so I don't think I'm missing any of the entertainment stuff Twitter sometimes provided. Bonus points when they have Tumblr takes on pop culture too.

Between Buzzfeed and following a few select left-leaning, feminist Instagram accounts, I've not missed Twitter at all. Personal connections are all via WhatsApp or Gmail. I'm not happy about how I'm still relying on a lot of Facebook products, but I'm not on Facebook itself.
posted by like_neon at 6:16 AM on November 7 [2 favorites]


I use Twitter only as a newsfeed, with lots of lists for different subjects, especially local news. It works well for me for finding out about things like "why is this train stopped?" and "where's the fire?" and "who's got a discount going for lunch?" and "who's got a new book out?"

I don't like supporting Twitter with my silent presence, but I haven't seen much evidence that the institutional/news/commercial accounts I follow are moving elsewhere (except for their existing Facebook accounts, and nope) so it doesn't make much sense for me to try Mastodon yet, probably. I don't use an app for Twitter or much of anything else, so there aren't notifications poking at me when I wouldn't otherwise be checking it.

Social media stuff makes me nervous. Social everything makes me nervous.
posted by asperity at 11:54 AM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I've managed to make Twitter somewhat usable again by almost never looking at the default view. Instead I make lists of the people I follow and look at those, which gives me only their tweets and retweets and in chronological order. Plus I can have separate sublists for scientists, friends who don't tweet a lot, etc.
posted by tavella at 12:34 PM on November 7


This just in from the Let's Show Everyone How Old You Are Department, I really miss the old, pre-Russian, LiveJournal.
It was a wonderful place to be. It had just the right amount of intimacy and connection and security for me.
I started in 2000, and was there until a little after 2005 or 2006, right after Brad sold it to SixApart and right before it got sold to the Russians.

If there's anyone from the SFNet Coffeehouse network in this place, this is Dixon Hill, checking in. Let's all meet at The Orbit Room for a snakebite.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 12:45 PM on November 7 [9 favorites]








I feel like Twitter is on the verge of falling off with a lot of people, and the Kessler verification is a real push in that direction.
posted by rhizome at 12:22 AM on November 9




"If we can't verify nazis then nobody is getting in!"
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on November 9 [9 favorites]


Twitter is own-goaling so hard these days. I've really pulled for them over the years as a kind of SMS-Usenet hybrid, but the problem with allowing everybody to do anything is that they will. All of these networks of people are going to have to institute what I'd define as editorial policies, which is not what they want to do because everybody from Twitter to Snapchat thinks they're the new phone system, so nobody wants to filter on content unless ordered to by a court (Germany, France).
posted by rhizome at 1:01 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


So, Jack tweeted that he "learned a lot" from a white supremacist's hate video.

... Yeah.

Twitter is literally run by nazis.
posted by odinsdream at 2:13 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Which sucks, because Jack bought a dream house of mine some years ago, so if it's ever for sale again I may not be able to allow myself to buy it. You know, if I have the 8mil or whatever.
posted by rhizome at 2:37 PM on November 9


So everyone's leaving the platform, right? We've all agreed this is bad and are therefore leaving the platform? Right? *does the awkward half-stand maneuver from his chair and points out of the room* We're... we're going?

OKAY LET'S GO
posted by duffell at 3:16 AM on November 10


I left the platform. I rage quit yesterday over verifying Kessler. Because fuck that. I'll probably be back in a week or so when I start to miss it too much. I'm giving Mastodon another honest try. I'm finding it much more usable with this complete UI rework. But I don't have my social network on Mastodon, and while I enjoy all the Mefites I follow there it's just a totally different social experience.

No, Twitter is not literally run by nazis. Jack is not a Nazi. The problem with Twitter isn't that it's secretly a Nazi organization. It's the failure of their free speech policy plus their failure to effectively moderate the community. I'm not saying this to defend Twitter, I'm as angry as anyone about the way Twitter is allowing Nazis to use its platform. But it's important to understand what's going wrong at Twitter to either fix it at Twitter (maybe impossible) or to avoid the same mistakes in the next social media platform.

If Mastodon grows it's going to have the same problems. Only more complex because of federation. What happens when there's a Stormfront Mastodon instance? I guess all the other instances can refuse to federate with it. Maybe we'll end up with two large Mastodon communities: one for the Nazi sympathizers and one for decent people. I'm not sure that's a good outcome.
posted by Nelson at 9:10 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Sounds fine TBH. Or at least better than the Twitter solution.
posted by Artw at 9:13 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


There are already mastodon instances for terrible humans. They're banned by the not-terrible ones. This isn't a problem remotely on the same level as what Twitter's doing to enable and facilitate widespread abuse of minorities.
posted by odinsdream at 9:18 AM on November 10 [3 favorites]


yeah i mean twitter's got lots of problems but maybe letting you have more characters in your names will help bring y'all back?

just imagine me doing that air wanking motion while rolling my eyes so hard that space-time warps.
posted by anem0ne at 9:44 AM on November 10


Twitter is not literally run by nazis. Jack is not a Nazi.

Well, yeah, but Jack has been very noticeably not sufficiently addressing Twitter's Nazi problem for years now. He is at the very minimum an enabler of Nazis.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:33 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]


maybe letting you have more characters in your names will help bring y'all back?

The right time to drop this feature would have been late October; it would have delighted the spooky-name-for-Halloween-month folks. They can't even get their marketing right.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:36 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]




Former Twitter employees say many in the company have long railed against its broken verification system.

The former employee told me that the issue of problematic users asking for verification was regularly raised on Falquora, an internal forum where employees can pose questions to management.

“Leadership claimed that verification was working as intended. Every time it became a big issue, [the verification of white supremacist Richard Spencer, for example,] it would come up on Falquora as a thing,” the former Twitter employee said.

The issue of controversial users being verified would “get upvoted, and either Jack [Dorsey], Vijaya [Gadde, Twitter's general counsel], or other leaders would get up on stage and give us a speech about how verification is only about confirming that a person is who they say they are.”

posted by Artw at 11:57 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Someone needs to leak Falquora stat.
posted by odinsdream at 12:02 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Pizzagate King Jack Posobiec Doxes Roy Moore's Accuser on Twitter. Twitter Does Nothing.

well, yeah, i mean, rose mcgowan gets suspended but that's because she's a feeeeemale and jack posobiec probably learned his lesson because he's a smrt dude

so sayeth twitter

fuck twitter
posted by anem0ne at 2:07 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]


We present today's situation, in which our heroix Zoe Quinn notices that @jack follows Mark fucking Cernovich.
(oh, and The Federalist, Bill Mitchell, and various other pieces of shit)
And while we know that follow != endorse, it does certainly raise some motherfucking questions, you know?
posted by introp at 5:36 PM on November 10 [8 favorites]


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