I wrote a whole post about what feels a lot like passing the point of no return on Twitter’s decline and eventual collapse, since the day I wrote this is the day that the world’s richest man showed up to make “good” on a dumb-shit promise he made because he’s actually also a moron and has only managed to get this far because consequences don’t matter to rich people. I went on a whole rant about corporate dystopia and the collapse of modern civilization because there’s less and less metaphor separating us from sci-fi and cyberpunk dystopias every day. It was cathartic, but probably not helpful to read since most people probably don’t care. Twitter, despite how large it feels to me as an active user, is not that big. Lots of people rarely or never go on that site and, honestly, we’d probably be better without it.
That said, I’ve always appreciated that it has allowed me to retain more control over the way I use the site and what content is put in front of me. Sure, I’ve had to fight against the shift of my timeline to recommended tweets instead of the latest tweets as they happen and the trending tab is curated by an alogorithm that definitely feels like it was made to increase human misery as much as possible, but those things are pretty easy to ignore! It only automatically swapped me from my specifically chosen “latest” feed to the “recommended” feed six imes and it stopped doing that after a few months! Facebook still does that literally every time I load the page in any way (which is why all I do is log in to share my daily blog posts and then immediately log out again). Instagram is just a literal nightmare! Twitter is at least a nightmare I know is a dream so I can control the settings enough to make it manageable.
What is impossible to ignore, though, is the way that all of my favorite posters seem to be disappearing. Famous people with money hand their accounts off to media managers. The world is a darker place without Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Good Morning and Good Night tweets, but the man has so many followers and such young kids that I can’t really blame him for disengaging. Those without the means or practical need for such a decision have scaled back their use of the platform or found non-traditional ways of managing how they interact with it. Like the way that John Green deletes most of his tweets, which I would probably also do with my tweets if I ever got any interaction on them other than my friends liking them occasionally. Even people who still use the platform a lot have dialed down the sort of emotional attachment they seem to display with their audience. Chuck Wendig used to also do Good Morning type tweets and stopped a while back, but I can’t blame him after all the harassment he got about stupid stuff that he isn’t responsible for.
It’s exhausting to see a place I once enjoyed existing be slowly starved of everything that made it worth my time and attention. My follower count only ever goes down as half my follower list is people who belong to book and D&D twitter who only ever followed me for a follow-back. With the exception of one person, they all seem to have realized I’m not going to follow-back (which I only ever do if I’m actually interested in what the person is posting) and unfollow me when they remember I exist. That one exception, though, unfollows and then refollows me. This is a tactic I’ve seen in these follow-back accounts, but I think you should only follow people who say stuff you’re interested in, so unfollow me and let’s just leave it at that. Most of my tweets are dumb jokes, blog posts, and retweets of social issues. Nothing you wouldn’t get more interesting versions of from famous or comedic accounts. Except, you know, for this blog. Which you can only get from me.
Anyway, I’m just sad to see these places dwindle and disappear because they’ve been the place I’ve metaphorically lived for years. I keep reminding myself that them being good once isn’t a reason to continue investing myself in them now. Like Overwatch 2. The fond memories I have of the early days of the original game and playing it with my friends doesn’t change the fact that it’s a pretty terrible player experience right now, between the monetization, various controveries specific to the game (like the diversity measurements), terrible launch, and then the company’s controversies. I shouldn’t go play Overwatch 2 because I used to have fun playing Overwatch back in 2016 and 2017. I should find a new game that gives me a similar level of joy and fun that the old Overwatch used to give me.
To that end, I’ve been enjoying cohost.org quite a bit. Still figuring out how I want to use the site and incorporate it into my daily online activity since it hasn’t been super widely adopted yet (and might never, like a lot of platforms), but it seems pretty good for now. I’ll probably write more about it if I start using the platform beyond exploring it.