Where do we go from here?
I had tweeted what I considered my final tweet, at least until Elon sells/loses Twitter to creditors. My line in the sand was letting Donald Trump back on. The night Elon did, I posted a profane message tagging both of them.
But I kept reading.
Today, with no notice, my Twitter account was suspended. Was it because I dropped f-bombs at Elon and Don? Was it because my name too closely resembles the name of one of Elon's friends? I legitimately don't know.
But like you, I'm here now. And on Mastodon. And figuring things out one day at a time. Like you, I absolutely loved Twitter, and am so grateful for the things I've learned, laughed at, and been inspired by there. I love Rob Reiner's passion to stay no let's keep it and make it ours. But I stand by an old (ha!) toot of mine, which basically said: If Nazis come into the Chili's where you're eating, you yell at them and tell them to leave. If Nazi's *buy* the Chili's, you go eat at Applebee's instead.
Oh Liz, as usual you seem to know what I have in my head and write it down and eloquently too. I am so sad about Twitter. I’ve been on it longer than my child has been alive. It’s also the first place I check for news. It was a huge part of how I made a living back in the blogging Wild West days (hello #gno!), creating brand-blogger partnerships on Twitter.
I’m still there, lurking more than creating, not sure if I want to be Musk’s product. We went dark on exactly half our clients’ accounts and are holding steady on the other half - all the B2B clients because we don’t know where else to take them, besides LinkedIn.
I’m really glad you started this newsletter! I fear losing connections with all of the OG blogger crew I’ve known for 15 years and kept in touch with on Twitter, mainly.
I joined in 2006, so it’s a 16 year relationship. I’ve definitely pulled back from it as a creator in the last couple of years I post my Wordle; I post my daily habit tracker. But I don’t get pulled into the fray very often. I got verified in 2015, and unlike some I never found it increased my reach. I can’t decide if I feel like the last few years I’ve been “shadow banned”, or if it’s just the logical outcome of talking ￼less and less about outrage and politics. I haven’t quit Twitter yet, although I’ve downloaded my archive, and I feel like this is now the second platform, joining Facebook, that I think about leaving all the time, but I don’t really know where else to go. I joined Mastodon, which feels very 2006, but so far Post is just another site created by a wealthy dude that wants to collect my email without telling me how it’s going to be or who’s on the team or really anything at all. I continue to be on Instagram and LinkedIn; I consume TikTok and love it, and I, too have a Substack now, but I’ve gone from being a digital utopian to wondering if all of this is sound and fury signifying nothing.
And here it is! This is so much of what I have been feeling and trying to articulate about how I feel about what is happening to Twitter.
I’m not deleting my account, in the hope that something miraculous will happen and Musk and Trump will leave and better people will take over. That said, I’m not engaging on Twitter until something changes. And that breaks my heart. I REALLY love Twitter. I love the friends I made there, I love the clever people, and I love the immediacy of the news. Where else could I interact with Michael McKean, the cast of Outlander, and my favorite authors? Where else would Barack Obama follow me (I guess I got in early too!)? I miss it so much, but I just can’t go there right now.
I’m on Mastodon at @email@example.com. Please come find me!
You know I’ve bee n wrestling With this for a while. I downloaded my Twitter archive in 2020, and set my tweets to auto delete after 3 months. Why? I realized that I valued communication and that having my tweets sitting out there years and years later could only hurt me as they sat there without any context. Twitter is a conversation, not an archive. I also learned to stop being sentimental about any of these tools - I keep my Instagram at about 200 posts (I printed them all in a book before archiving). I also joined in 2017 (I remember trying to explain the joy of 140 characters to you on Facebook or Blogher) - but the information we share belongs to the tool.
I don’t have the answer, but long story short...these apps don’t love me nearly as much as I enjoyed them. Now that they’re tools and ephemeral, I’m ok with them.
I’m not sure my thoughts here matter because my presence on Twitter was not nearly big enough for anyone to care if I stayed or if I left, but FWIW I’m staying. BUT I’m engaging with it less. Just like I’m engaging with Facebook and Instagram less. What’s replacing them? Mastodon to some extent, but I agree it’s not the same. Mainly I’m enjoying the impulse to meet up with friends in person for coffee or call them on the phone. It’s been a while since that was my initial go-to because I was interacting with them so much on social that it was like we were in touch constantly. I’m also reading more newspapers and magazines, more or less cover to cover (or the online equivalent) rather than watching for breaking news on Twitter. I feel like I have time and headspace to do this now. So while I, too, mourn the loss of Twitter - it’s immediacy, it’s humor, it’s breadth of voices… only some of which could be replaced by any one service (and Mastodon is my choice for now) - I’m using this opportunity to revaluate my relationship with social media in general. Like Roxanna (who’s advice to download my Twitter archive and then start auto-deleting my Tweets I happily took in 2020) I’m seeing these things as tools that I can consciously choose to use or not use for a given purpose or at a given time. I was also checking Twitter when I first woke up in the morning and so often throughout the day that I think it wasn’t healthy for me. Like, I was starting to value my worth based on how often I “went viral” or how many followers I had relative to others, which is definitely NOT a good sign. So I’m seeing this as a mental health break, tbh. But I’m not leaving Twitter (just keeping my tweets protected for now). Even when you’re on a health binge you need some chocolate every once in a while, right? I’m so glad you started this Substack. 🥰
I'm a lurker of at least 16 years duration, so we've not interacted but I followed you (and Rita) to Twitter from Mom101. About 12 months ago I realised Twitter was making me angrier and more despairing. Even though that was a simple consequence of my friends drawing my attention to worthy, important things, I was being awful to my family, so I stopped checking. Mastodon has been lovely, but is that because of different decisions I'm making this time? I've seen a toot circulating that says "wow, I'm joyscrolling, not doomscrolling" - yes, but is that my conscious choice to look at moss and lichen, and not follow the same emergency services, activists and journalists that I followed on Twitter? How scathing I've always been of people who don't watch the news, when information and education are vital to democracy. But my heart is weary. I don't know when I will go back.
commenting on your post is a little 2008. :) Loving it. I'm staying put on twitter just to see what happens. although I think it's smart of to not invest too much in any platform you don't control. I use Tweetdeck and have a highly curated feed and it has helped me write a book and also stay connected to breaking news. right now it serves me, costs me little and it works for me. but that could change.... I don't blame anyone for listening to there conscience and acting from there.
Same here. New to Substack but also invested a lot of time in my Twitter world and have mixed feelings about walking away even though it is super messed up right now. Educator twitter, for example, is the best...Glad you are on Substack, it is a lot of fun here so far.
Downloaded my archive but staying for now. Too many connections I only have there. Also still think it is an interesting place to see snapshots of what is going on in the world—though I recognize it is self-selected. I do miss the old days. Twitter was amazing back then.
I really enjoyed Twitter, but got concerned with the attitude of the new owner. So I tried Mastodon just to have a fallback position. Suddenly I'm reading more and more on Substack and Medium, all from Mastodon. My Twitter is still live, but used less and less. It feels empty for some reason, hollow even. Even if it improves, I doubt I'll ever go back to it fully, trust is broken.
You quoted this "There’s nothing better in the world than a group of women who are pissed off -@AbbyWambach #rivetersummit", and it struck a particular chord with me - Iranian women today!
Anyway, I'd never have found your account on Twitter but did on Mastodon, and look, I got to waffle on here. Thank you for the commentary!
I’ve been on Twitter since 2007. I’ve used it less and less over the years as it got noisier but still check in now and again. I will not delete my account JIC. I like my handle. The only thing I am certain of is that rn we are not using it for client work.
Despite the fact that my presence on the Tweet thing was significantly less than yours and my community dramatically smaller, I feel you here. A tool that had its drawbacks (as you point out, so do all of em), but one that ultimately did so much good, is a struggle to drop.
But drop it I did.
Part of me wants to be the “one vote that matters,” my self-removal the equivalent of choosing not to watch Faux News so their sales people don’t get to count me when they pitch their viewer figures to advertisers (although because I too am in advertising I know that’s not how it actually works), and one drop in what I’d hoped would be a giant bucket of cold water dumped on Elon’s head.
I’ve redirected energies into Instagram, and LinkedIn, and am now going to try Mastodon, I guess. I know I’ll still feel the loss of Twitter, as friends/family members/colleagues forward me tweets they think I’ll enjoy to which I’ll respond, “I’m off the platform, can you send it on IG?”
A small gesture, one that hopefully will inspire others to consider doing the same. Just as each advertiser that departs is a symbol, a signal that not all is well and that certain behaviors aren’t to be tolerated. He won’t feel a single one of them in his bank account, but I hope he’ll feel it collectively.
Thanks for sharing such a personal message, have a great Thanksgiving.
Liz, I was hacked on Friday and two days later I can't get my account back. The hackers moved to WhatsApp to phish me (I didn't fall for it.) I'm spending today locking down all my major accounts/apps. It's not just political or moral, it's about safety. Once I get my account back, I'm out of there. Find me on Post!
Like you, I've been on Twitter for something like 15 years. But I'm done with it. I'm not deleting -- mostly because I don't want anyone to use my username, or anything like it (something folks check check for my profile to verify if they get followed by a fishy -- or phishy -- site). So I've changed my password to something I've already forgotten. But years ago I made the commitment to avoid toxicity as much as possible, and with Elon & Trump, the platform has made the list. I'm sad about it, though.