Not to betray some kind of unknown truth about me or anything but...I’m closer to 40 than 30 and what that means is that I grew up in a world that pre-dated common internet usage. In fact I didn’t have a computer till I was 16 and back in those days it was basically AOL chat rooms, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and slow...oh so slow...with buffering, adult entertainment.
Some of this was great - AIM allowed me to be dark and moody, thought provoking and unironically insightful about the universe (in away message form) while creating opportunities (though I cannot even remember how this happened) to talk to lots of random new people. It was like twitter before twitter because I didn’t really know any of these people and they would come and go from my sphere without warning and you had no idea what happened to them. There wasn’t a community sense to it, we were all just islands.
The advent of Social Media as it was constructed had two major players in the early days - Facebook and the hip alternative version “Myspace” which had the “Top 8” and music and all sorts of other random crap I don’t even remember anymore. And Facebook back then was a place to just talk to your friends and plan events, bitch about classes and somewhat similar to the old days of AIM, post unironically insightful thoughts about the universe.
Obviously Facebook has become an engine designed to sell you things and try to maintain as much of your attention as possible throughout the day. The funny thing is, and I imagine I am not alone in this, the changeover from what Facebook was to what Facebook has become actually drove me to lessen my presence there to the point I’m at now...where I’ve basically scrubbed my existence from the site and am only there so I can get rewards in app games I play.
Instead I had given my social media eyes and ears over to Twitter; it was a cleaner and easier to digest platform that made it fun to engage with new people and see what was going on in the world very quickly. The realization that Facebook was my past (about 95% of the people I’m “friends” with there are people I haven’t engaged with in years) whereas Twitter was my present. Which drove the point home that Twitter was the platform more likely to keep my interest.
And it did. For years I spent hours a day scrolling through my feed looking for funny comments and interesting retweets. But at some point a few years back it became apparent that I wasn’t seeing all of Twitter...I was basically seeing the same 10-12 people’s posts. I sought out the other people in my following list and sure enough they were actively tweeting...I just wasn’t seeing them. Algorhythms had decided that they were less important and thus would not be actively presented to me, apparently. So I found work-arounds and ways to still see the people I was interested in but was frustrated.
Similar to the uproar that still exists with Instagram, Twitter had decided (and still maintains) the belief that they know better what we want than we do. Which isn’t actually true though...it’s not that they think they know what I want, they know what they want to show and sell me. If it was just that they thought they knew what was best and didn’t have a vested interest in this new version there would simply be a setting to go completely chronological and to see all tweets. Instead, there’s a main focus on retweets (which can be turned off) and posts other people have liked (which cannot be turned off).
I’m sure Twitter isn’t going to hear the death nell anytime soon; but for me it’s a dying platform. I’m currently on a hiatus from it and don’t know when/if I’ll come back. Their decision making in regards to adjudicating complaints is laughable at best and accounts that post horrible content and free to continue their racist, xenophobic diatribes with impunity (because they have lots of followers and thus drive active users to want to see the content of these accounts). Whereas lesser accounts are suspended or even banned completely based on a single interaction that “violates” their rules. It’s crap and it’s done so that they can say “hey look, see this is how many offensive people we’ve banned”...”but...what about all these other”...”Don’t know about any of that but see all these accounts we’ve banned? We’re making Twitter safe!”
I don’t really need social media anymore...it’s not healthy (actually) and as a full-fledged adult who can source his news independently. I’m sure I’ll miss some of the memes (though only like ¼ of them actually made sense - who is that weird yellow blockey looking guy with the skinny legs?) but in the end my mental state will be improved and I won’t objectively hate people as much because I won’t have their ignorance shoved in my face quite so often.
I would encourage everyone, not to abandon social media on my instruction, but to take a long look at your own consumption habits and analyze whether spending time on those sites are actually providing you with benefits and not just a way to kill time. There’s much better ways to kill time - read a book, take a walk, play some video games...fucking write.
It’s been a good run, social media, over 8 years on twitter, but it has run its course for me and the time has come to let the reigns go loose.