Twitter is a product I once loved deeply. It feels silly to say that about a web app, but it is unabashedly true. I have had a relationship with Twitter since I first signed up on March 9, 2007, and over the past 15 years, Twitter has profoundly impacted my life for the better.
My experience of Twitter is different than many. When I signed up in 2007, it was very much people sharing what they were doing, and it later evolved into sharing what they were thinking and so much more. In a very positive way, Twitter exposed me to ideas and people far beyond what I would have encountered in my sheltered life. I found great comfort in knowing I was not the only one curious about so many things.
At every stage of my life, I found people sharing their thoughts in ways that helped me navigate forward. Even today, with so many people focused on shallow self-promotion, one-sided politics, or trolling others, I still find brilliant and inspiring people sharing their world (though far fewer).
This is how I am choosing the remember Twitter: a portal into a world of brilliant people being awesome. A portal into a community that:
- Built a device to tweet when your houseplant needed water (2008);
- Turned SXSW 2008 into a location-based social network game (2008);
- Got as excited as I did about banking regulations or financial modeling standards (2010);
- Had parties to celebrate awarding grants to people for literally pursuing awesome ideas (2011);
- Spent weeks discussing if a dress was blue, then sharing the physics and biology behind why people saw it differently (2015).
These memories do not reflect what Twitter is today, nor something it can ever be again; truthfully, that hurts. Every horror story that leaks out what is going on inside Twitter hurts, like watching someone you care about slowly destroy their life with an addiction.
I finally accept that Twitter will not get better, and remaining here doesn’t help anyone. So, I’m letting go. After 5,716 days of almost continuous usage, I won’t be logging on anymore. No more app or site visits and I’m also bouncing emails from Twitter, so updates won’t even tempt me.
Nothing can replace what Twitter was, but I’m now exploring networking via the indieweb and Mastadon. You can also email me. Maybe I will talk with more people in my local community. Whatever comes next, it’s a brave new world. Let’s go forth and be awesome.