14 years

After 14 years, I sent my Twitter account into hibernation today.

14 years – that’s how long I was active on Twitter every day. Actually, even a year longer, but I deleted the account I created in 2007 because it didn’t really click the first time. In 2008, the idea of this then small, clear network worked for me and Twitter quickly became my favourite social network. In fact, it’s the only social network I’ve used so long and so consistently, if I leave IRC out of it. [There was once a rant here about why the others were/are all dumb to me. Boring. Uninteresting.]

It was nice there. Back then. Chronological timeline. Little snippets of thoughts on exciting topics. Links. Experiments with hashtags when there were no hashtags on Twitter. Occasionally, a forgotten “d” in front of a then not so direct message. Oops. 😉 For a while, it was also possible to use alternative clients without having to accept restrictions.

At some point, questionable decisions were made, such as the API restrictions for 3rd party clients, the inflationary introduction of advertising and the algorithm. Half-baked me-too product extensions like Fleets and Spaces came along. Somehow I managed to ignore these glitches. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Twitter has greatly improved my ability to hide ads. Alongside questionable decisions, however, there have also been good impulses such as the threaded display of posts.

Twitter was a wonderful experience for me 90% of the time. I had a nice bubble. I was constantly supplied with tech news, impulses from all possible corners and funny stuff. Not only that, but I met many impressive people, made friends, got in touch with colleagues and business partners, and had nice conversations. For me, it felt like home.

Then came Elon.

Elon Musk, or Egon as my spelling correction insists on calling him, who always looks a bit like Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg and acts similarly ruthlessly. This combination of toxic masculinity, ruthless arrogance and a misanthropic leadership style is too much for me. And it will also be too much for this platform. Even if the service survives, it has already changed in ways that have nothing to do with what made Twitter attractive.

I’ve been wondering why this concerns me as much as it currently does. After all, we are part of systems through consumption, some of which rival this. I think it’s because Twitter is a software company. I’m a developer. Experienced toxic leadership styles. Maybe I’m so touched by this comprehensibility. Or that Egon took a sh*t in my living room.

Anyway. I sent my Twitter account into hibernation today and deleted all the tweets so far with tweetdelete.net.

(I think deleting the account is the wrong decision for the reasons Stefan gives. After all, we don’t want anyone to misuse our usernames).