I wasn’t planning to write another post today, but I decided it was necessary to share the news that I quit Twitter. This is mainly because I have a regular reader who communicates with me via Twitter’s DM system, and she may want to know what happened. I’m sure most of the rest of you don’t give a shit that I shitcanned Twitter, and that’s fine. I never had much of a following there, and found it to be mostly a toxic waste dump, anyway. And although I got an account in 2009 or so, I almost never used it until this year, when I was tweeting at USAA… another outfit I’d like to ditch at some point soon.
So what happened?
I recently loosened up my Twitter settings, because after some rather unpleasant sessions a few months ago, I found having Twitter so “locked down” was boring. But I didn’t like it wide open, either, because the platform is truly full of people who are apparently completely vile and uncivilized. So, I was marginally happier with a less restricted Twitter, but I was still seeing tweets from unhinged MAGA folks. Frankly, I was appalled at what was allowed to be posted on Twitter, and Elon Musk just bought it, vowing to bring back “free speech”. Meanwhile, he’s also talking about charging a subscription fee for some users, which will probably become all users at some point. He says he wants the company to be less reliant on advertising revenue.
Well, given that there’s so much vitriol and nastiness there already, I can’t imagine wanting to pay for the privilege of reading someone’s MAGA bullshit. Besides, I didn’t find the platform to be very engaging. When I had it wide open, I mostly interacted with people who were rude, insulting, and abusive. When I used privacy settings, it became boring. I mean, yes, I could read tweets and laugh at some of the witticisms and memes. But I didn’t feel connected or engaged, and save for a few “stars” who were regularly entertaining, I mostly found people on Twitter to be obnoxious… even worse so than they are on Facebook.
And then, it happened. Today, I got “disciplined” by Twitter’s bots. If you’ve read some of my recent rants about Facebook’s annoying bot overlords, you know that this is a feature that I find extremely irritating and useless. Bots tend to crack the moderation whip with a lack of context… not unlike KFC’s bots who invited Germans to celebrate “Kristallnacht” with some fried chicken. Kristallnacht, as you probably know, isn’t a day that is to be celebrated by anyone. But it is a noted day in Germany, and the bots were programmed to push out notifications on noted days in Germany… and apparently, no one notified the AI system that it’s not appropriate to invite Germans to eat fried chicken on a notoriously tragic day in history. Kristallnacht is the day in November 1938 when massacres against Jewish people in Germany and Austria were initiated. Many people consider Kristallnacht the beginning of the Holocaust. So… this is a pretty terrible public relations SNAFU for KFC.
What got me “disciplined”?
Some guy posted a tweet along the lines of “I’m voting for Trump and there’s nothing you can do about it.” My initial thought was to tell him I don’t care who he votes for… but then it occurred to me that by responding to him, I was indicating that I do care. So I posted that he might as well pour sulfuric acid on his genitals, too. Note, I didn’t invite him to do it. I didn’t write that I wanted him to do it. The phrase “might as well”, according to the dictionary, means “to suggest doing something, often when there is nothing better to do”. Like, for instance, when my second grade teacher used to moan, “I might as well be talking to the moon,” when she was annoyed by our class’s lack of attention and talkativeness. She didn’t mean she was actually going to talk to the moon. She meant that talking to the moon would be just as ineffective as trying to talk to us. Likewise, I didn’t mean to imply that the guy should actually pour sulfuric acid on his genitals. I meant to say that it would be just as effective to do that as it is to vote for Donald Trump, who is definitely not the future of Republican politics anymore. In my opinion, obviously. I was being facetious.
I will admit my tweet was vulgar and crass. It was not nearly as awful as some of the tweets I’ve seen posted by others, or even directed at me, personally, before I blocked a bunch of people. It didn’t sit well with me to immediately get an email from Twitter letting me know that they had locked my account for twelve hours (it was the first time it ever happened). I was even less impressed that the email directed me to “proceed to Twitter” to fix the “issues” with my account. I was invited to appeal if I wanted to, but they wouldn’t unlock my account while the tweet was examined. What really annoyed me, though, was that in order to start the clock on the ban, I had to give them my “real” phone number so they could send me a code and verify my identity.
Just to get into my account to deactivate it, I had to give them my phone number. And then they wanted me to delete the tweet, so I could start the process of “learning my lesson” with a twelve hour ban on posting. I don’t post very much, anyway, so it’s not like the ban is much of a hardship. That wasn’t the point of why I quit.
Like I said, I’ve about had it with bot style discipline, especially when I read reports of Elon Musk totally fucking up the company the day after he buys it, firing a bunch of people and then asking some to, temporarily, come back, indicating to the world that the rules won’t apply to him, and wanting to charge a subscription fee. I figure Twitter is going to go down in flames soon, anyway. So I’m proud to join the ranks of Sara Bareilles and Whoopi Goldberg and the rest of the woke celebrities who are fed up with Twitter. I suppose I could have just not bothered to log in again, but I figured that would just prompt Twitter to send me emails. I suspect that if enough people do what I did, they won’t survive for long. Elon Musk has already said the company is in a death spiral from a financial standpoint. Pissing off casual users is one way for Twitter to hasten its extinction.
Leaving Twitter might make it harder to watch Ex, but you know what? That may not be a bad thing, either. I’m always going to be getting updates about her, regardless, whether or not I want them. As long as younger daughter is talking to us and her mother, we’ll continue to hear about her antics. And most of what she posts just makes me cringe and causes anxiety.
So here’s to one less social media platform to keep up with… I’m down with being a troglodyte. Why not? Alexis, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry to bail… Maybe we can find another way to chat. I’m sure there are options aplenty. And the bonus is, I don’t have to be there when Donald Trump is allowed to tweet again, with all the other losers. 😉