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I’m Leaving Twitter

The problem with Twitter is that the folks who run the show don’t understand their userbase or their product. We can see this in how Twitter’s more useful features such as hashtags and quote retweets were invented by users and later adopted by the platform, and in how Twitter has simultaneously taken away Twitter’s most useful feature, the linear and unfiltered feed.

Over the years Twitter has gradually added more and more algorithmic filters to its news feeds. They’ve turned themselves into a min-Facebook by restricting what users see while also denying users the option of disabling said filters.

I was willing to ignore the algorithmic filters, and the unwanted ads, and I even gritted my teeth and put up with the way Twitter inexplicably started shadow-banning people in the middle of a conversation, thus breaking the tweet chain.

Yesterday, however, was the final straw.

Under the mistaken belief that each tweet is of dire importance, Twitter is now inserting "in case you missed it" tweets on the notification page.

Like so:

The notification page was my refuge from Twitter’s mini-Facebook mentality, and if they are going to take it away then I don’t see a reason why I would want to keep using Twitter.

I mean, why use a mini-Facebook when the full version is readily available, and has so many more people and features?

I cannot answer that, so I will shortly be decamping to Facebook. You might not see me posting many updates, but you will be able to find me in FB groups.

My new social media strategy is to avoid letting algorithms choose what I should see and instead spend my time talking to people, which is why I will be spending more time in forums and FB groups (which are in many ways similar to forums).

It took me years to figure this out, but the worst aspect of social media is how users let algorithms control what we see. Your main interaction on Facebook and Twitter is not with people but with the platforms' respective algorithms. You’re socializing with their software, not with people, and that is just not healthy.

This insight is what drives my new social media strategy, and thank you, Twitter, for giving me the kick in the ass I need to adopt that strategy.

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Felix April 12, 2018 um 12:04 pm

Well, for what it’s worth I remain subscribed to your blog’s RSS feed. That, at least, remains chronological and unfiltered. And hopefully more and more people will wake up over time. Until then, see you around.

Mike Cane April 12, 2018 um 12:05 pm

Pffft! Took you long enough to get fed up. And it’s all worse than you think:

Ros Jackson April 12, 2018 um 12:13 pm

Thanks for giving me another reason not to use Twitter. I won’t see your posts on Facebook, but I have this site bookmarked and I’ll be using Kboards if you’re posting there as well.

Nate Hoffelder April 12, 2018 um 12:17 pm

I try to spend time on KBoards, yes, only I had trouble before because Twitter sucked up so much of my time.

I now have more time to spend there.

Adam April 12, 2018 um 12:22 pm

I quit Instagram and Facebook for exactly the same reason. No unfiltered timelines.

Randy Lea April 12, 2018 um 12:27 pm

RSS is many times better than Twitter.

My biggest problems with Twitter include the "In case you missed it" stuff, which I constantly select the "Show me less" option to no avail, and two other points. One, it seems everyone now needs to post a picture with every tweet, no matter how unrelated. Then, lots of people use an app to retweet on a regular basis, so you constantly see the exact same tweet with the exact same unrelated picture.

The whole point of Twitter was the 140 characters to limit the size of the message.

The Digital Reader’s Nate Leaves Twitter Too | Mike Cane's Atomic Supermen April 12, 2018 um 12:29 pm

[…] I’m Leaving Twitter […]

Bill Peschel April 12, 2018 um 1:11 pm

Fortunately, I never followed you on Twitter so it matters not.

It’s like when thechive abandoned Facebook and I thought, "Why read them through FB? It’s not like their website is hard to navigate."

Apparition April 12, 2018 um 2:04 pm

Social media is the worst thing that has happened to the Internet since AOL. Nothing good comes of it. Thankfully, most websites still support RSS feeds.

Becki April 14, 2018 um 11:08 am

I can’t agree with that statement at all. The only reason I’ve been able to reconnect with friends and keep up with my family is Facebook. I’ve had email since it became available to the general public (I was using AOL in 1993 when they started sending out the 3.5″ disks), but it took social media to get back in touch with them again. As many problems as Facebook has (and it does have a lot), no other platform has made it possible for me to stay in touch with so many people I want to talk to. No other platform has made it possible for us to have actual conversations when we are in separate states or countries.

Twitter, on the other hand, never felt like a conversation to me. It always felt like "throw my comment to the wind". I tend to forget I even have a Twitter account. 🙂

Nate Hoffelder April 14, 2018 um 11:38 am

Twitter is like shouting across a crowded public square. There’s no privacy, and every inane update feels as important as the state of the Union.

davemich April 12, 2018 um 4:49 pm

Most normal people don’t use twitter. If you find yourself using twitter to excess, you are suffering a normalcy imbalance.

Pablo April 12, 2018 um 5:22 pm

I’ve never had FB, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat and my main activity as a LinkedIn user is ignoring people who want to connect with me for no conceivable reason. Despite of that I’ve been able to survive, so, am I missing something?

Tom Wood April 12, 2018 um 5:58 pm

The only thing useful to me on Twitter is the hashtag system. I look in on #cyberpunk to see what people are posting, and usually find a few things of interest. You have to mute all the bot accounts and the accounts that go nuts over every pop culture announcement related to a given hashtag, but once you’ve cleaned up the stream it can be a source for interesting content.

Like Facebook, I have a Twitter account because it’s expected, but I don’t place a lot of focus on it.

BeeTee-Ess April 12, 2018 um 9:38 pm

I have no need of either Twitter or Facebook.

Joe T. April 13, 2018 um 6:34 pm

I’ve found it useful in following economists and a sportswriter. They don’t tweet garbage much, and they retweet others in their field that they think are worthy and which I might have otherwise missed. So I’m read-only, and selective. I don’t tweet or use it as a social platform. The people I follow don’t know me, and have more subject matter expertise than I. Sorta like an RSS feed if you’re selective, but better in that people are going Twitter and moving away from RSS, plus the 144-char thing makes (made?) it a quicker task to peruse incoming info.

Anthony April 13, 2018 um 12:12 am

I use Tweetdeck instead of the regular Twitter page, so I avoid seeing the "in case you missed it" stuff on my desktop/everything’s in real time. (I have the default Twitter app on my phone, though.) Tweetdeck seems to avoid most of the more annoying aspects of Twitter, including support for the use of Twitter’s lists feature.

That said, I do use RSS (via Feedly) a lot, including for following this blog. RSS doesn’t seem to get enough attention (not "Web 2.0/social/etc." enough… or just harder to make money off of?)

Nate Hoffelder April 13, 2018 um 7:45 am

I want to use my web browser so I can kill the tab when I need to ignore it and get work done. I don’t beleive in using an app to view a website.

Name (Required) April 13, 2018 um 6:50 am

You still have two bars – at the top of the article and and the bottom – with the social media icons. Twitter, facebook and other stuff.

Recently I have started to use an adblocker to block those (piece by piece) on every site I like to visit. Long time ago I used to have a plugin for firefox for removing those but I can’t find an alternative now.

Nate Hoffelder April 13, 2018 um 7:10 am

Ghostery gets rid of most of the sharing buttons – but not mine because they don’t track you.

J.D. Ogre April 13, 2018 um 9:02 am

"My new social media strategy is to avoid letting algorithms choose what I should see and instead spend my time talking to people, which is why I will be spending more time in forums and FB groups (which are in many ways similar to forums)."

…yet you are going to Facebook, which has been filtering your feed (especially posts from Liked pages and groups) algorithmically for years now? 🙂

Nate Hoffelder April 13, 2018 um 9:13 am

I’m not going to touch the feed; I am going to hang out in groups. FB doesn’t filter notification from groups, only pages and personal accounts.

Hussman April 13, 2018 um 9:34 am

Did you post a link to this story on Twitter?

Nate Hoffelder April 13, 2018 um 9:51 am

via Buffer, yes

me April 13, 2018 um 11:11 am

The Internet Has Been Murdered

Art Kavanagh April 14, 2018 um 11:49 am

Yes, I don’t think that ICYMIs in the Notifications will go down well. In fact, I don’t think I’ve noticed any more since I read your post, so perhaps they’ve already been knocked on the head. As for the algorithmic timeline, I don’t think anybody really likes that but at a certain point it becomes inevitable. I’ve been telling myself for years that it’s time I started to use Lists: in the last few months I’ve got around to doing it and I like the way it works. There’s one list (News and Journalists) that I check every few hours, the others less frequently depending on my mood. And I look at the timeline only when I feel like it. I’m bound to miss something important but I think I’ve just got to accept that that’s inevitable.

Nate Hoffelder April 14, 2018 um 12:06 pm

I use Twitter lists a _lot_. It’s how I organize my sources for the link posts, and it’s also how I manage my RT bots.

Nate Hoffelder April 15, 2018 um 7:14 am

"In fact, I don’t think I’ve noticed any more since I read your post, so perhaps they’ve already been knocked on the head."

I just saw one just now. (I was checking the behavior of my Twitter bots.)

S. J. Pajonas April 15, 2018 um 10:45 am

I don’t "use" Twitter in any real sense anymore. I don’t visit it and I don’t interact there unless I’m liking a tweet someone else linked to. Basically, my Twitter account does its thing with programmed tweets and I just have notifications turned on for replies. In every essence, I "left" Twitter over three years ago. I don’t see any reasons to go back.

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