January 19, 2019 I quite Facebook. I threatened to do it, mostly just to myself, years before, but then the Cambridge Analytics stuff came out, and there was so much going on with Trump, fake ads, and Facebook profiting off of their own corruption that I was done.
So I deleted my account. I honestly haven’t missed it for even a second since then. All those people I said I could leave FB for, I hear from and connect with in other ways. It didn’t feel like the place I needed to be and in many ways, it felt like it was having a negative impact on my relationships and attitude. So with one social network down, I had a little more time and headspace to put towards other things.
Now Twitter is coming under fire.
I’ve been on Twitter since it started. I remember joining with my friend, James, who later, ended up working at Twitter. We finally figured out how to post using SMS back then but, as James reminded me today when we talked, there was no way to be notified if you were mentioned in a Tweet. That was a future feature promised. It’s come a long way.
Twitter has been my favorite social network. It’s part of why I didn’t really care about deleting Facebook. I had a place I liked. I made a lot of really cool connections and have benefited from the community there. I’ve had a few tweets go viral-ish and I’ve been able to rub shoulders with people I never thought would happen.
But now, with one of our Billionaires purchasing the site seemingly while drunk online shopping one night, it is on the verge of a major meltdown.
I’ve not felt comfortable with the ways that most popular social media sites have worked for a long time. If you know me, you know this is a thing I’ve written about and reflected on for years. The way our information is tracked, stored, and sold are all problematic. The way the algorithms are designed to make us addicted to them I find worrisome. The way they train us to be distracted is effective and ruining our ability to learn, hold conversations, worship, and be in relationship. Then there are the ways these networks silo and segregate people based on preferences that is tearing at the fabric of society. None of this is to mention the way people often behave on these sites as though no one is watching. The Netflix Documentary, The Social Dilemma is worth a watch and is eye-opening on a number of these points. But not feeling comfortable wasn’t enough for me to start looking for alternatives.
But the mass layoffs at Twitter and seeing the writing on the wall in terms of what Twitter is about to become, I’ve decided to start packing my bags.
I’d like to start over and think about my social presence online and where it is stored.
I’ve started an account over on Mastodon, a decentralized social network that avoids most of the problems stated above.
I’ll likely hang out there for at least the next year and see where things go. See what I can learn. See who I will meet. See if enough of my friends follow. And while I started digging into this, I decided to move my newsletter off of the Revue service, which Twitter is shutting down, and move it and my new blog hosted right here with write.as – a service inspired by and connected to Mastodon. I will likely shut off my main website: gatheringinlight.com at some point as well but I’m not in a hurry there. It costs money and I don’t really use it all that much any more. WordPress has lost a lot of its early Web 2.0 vibe as well so I’ll feel better when everything is off these major sites.
For the next while I’ll be rebuilding a social presence on the web and doing it on platforms that reflect more of how I think technology should be used.
I look forward to the new interactions and the familiar ones as well.
Thanks for reading, Wess