Leaving Twitter, leaving Facebook and rediscovering my techno-optimism

• ~500 words • 2 minute read

Over the last few weeks I decided to shutdown my Facebook and Twitter accounts. The former I'd been clinging to for dear life solely as a means to keep up in touch with some international relatives I'm otherwise unsure how to stay in contact with (Zdravo moja porodica), and the latter through some misguded sense of professional need.

There was a stretch where I did a lot of conference speaking, between 2017 and 2020. It's still on my radar and a thing I might pursue again. Twitter felt like a tool for sharing and connectng with people in real-time during those events. It also felt like a thing I was expected to have. A thing you'd add to your business card and list in your contact info. A means of collecting precious "followers" I could certainly cash-in someday for... something?

I've been on Twitter since 2007, off-and-on. Long enough to remember when we called it a micro-blogging service. It was a little more fun then. I'll also acknowledge it was probably far less diverse then, less socially conscious (though the circles I've followed have always seemed relatively forward-thinking in this department) and not yet quite the tool for change & connection it evolved into, for some groups and individuals.

To be clear, the absence of those things is not what made it more "fun." I think there was an innocence and earnestness to it though that got stamped out.

Maybe it changed. Maybe I did. It's hard to say.

What does feel clear to me is we're watching the startup darlings of the 2000s navigate something like a midlife crisis about as disgracefully as you could between cringeworthy boondoggles lilke the Metaverse and... whatever Musk is doing over on Twitter. Maybe in lieu of dying on Mars as he'd like, his strategy is to alienate himself so thoroughly he'll just feel like he did?

There's a little bit of sadness to all of it, but I'm tryng to wear my techno-optimist hat more these days. I'm heartened by the subtle reemergence of the web as an open-platform for publishing. Mastodon, discord, the smalll group of people I'm following in my minimal, home-rolled feed reader. They are just tiny buds waitnig to flower, but I see signs of spring beneath a dark, thawing winter.

The notion of conversational micro-blogging still intrigues me enough that I've setup a Mastodon server:

I also opted for setting up my own server instead of simpyl joining an existing one, because I like doing things the hard way.

I'm not sure why I'm there other than to check it out. See if the earnestness and optimism persists. See if the lessons we learned the first time around through the likes of Twitter can transfer. If we can better, thoughtful, more mature... and maybe somehow more "fun" again.

This post is a bit all over the place. Truthfully, I'm trying to get back into the habit of writing (publicly) more regularly. It's a process. The only way to get back into the swing of things is to simply... do it.