January 25, 2023

Bye Twitter, Let’s Keep in Touch

I joined Twitter in December 2006, ID number 35403. After a couple of months of looking around, I drank the kool-aid.

Slowly at first, and then quickly, my feed filled with a geeky crowd. It was a similar experience to when I picked up my first Wired magazine a decade earlier: a realization there were others.

While the Facebook feed was an exhausting exercise of faked extroversion, Twitter was real to me. Hitchhiker Guide to the Universe quotes, Apple fans, weird jokes, and Apps… so many Apps.

Just a year ago, being unable to visit Twitter from Tweetbot — or any other client — would have been painful. Even when I took a short Twitter break in 2018 — ironically, in protest of the lack of support of 3rd party APIs — I wrote:

Yet I can’t deny not to miss the water fountain discussion. Reading why my favorite app developers are reading, what people I find interesting find interesting. In a perfect world, we all have a blog and it’s easy to see the streams post and micropost and interact.

At the time, I had hoped Mastodon would be enough of an alternative for a part of the crowd to hang around in. I’m happy to say, less than 5 years later, it has happened.

A series of unfortunate events, all of them caused by Twitter itself, has pushed enough people to the Mastodon/ActivityPub ecosystems to reach critical mass. At least for my use.

Best part was that I didn’t need to struggle with leaving” Twitter. By cutting off 3rd party access and forcing Tapbots to release Ivory, the table was set. The app ready, the people were there, and Twitter closed the door behind us.

It’s an amicable separation. I’m not really leaving Twitter, just scaling back it use. Just like Instagram, it’s a feed I’ll watch but not engage with.

Until Reeder access is cut, that’ll likely be my main source of checking the feed. Afterward the website on the desktop, with a UI cleanup plugin installed, is the most likely candidate. My beloved App List will be hard to not often visit, but as Apps/Services/Developers establish a presence on the Fediverse, it will lose relevance slowly. Still think Twitter will be an useful contact form to brands for some time, but so is email, we’ll see.

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