The Trouble with Twitter

I’m on a break from Twitter. It won’t be a long break, but I think I’m going to make it a more regular occurrence. There are 2 reasons for this, and they really have nothing to do with each other.

First, and this is what spawned the thought in the first place, I’m increasingly annoyed with the way the company has treated long-time tweeters since the IPO. Strike 1 was changes in how ‘popular’ vs ‘unimportant’ tweeters are treated were implemented to make the service more appealing to celebrities and corporate pr departments. They are subtle changes, mainly hidden from view, but the most obvious one is pretty jarring. If you don’t have many followers, your replies can simply disappear from public view. Strike 2 was the change making image display the default setting across the various twitter clients. While settings are available on mobile clients to disable this, and hacks are available to turn it off, it’s an insult to old-timers who want to share thoughts in text, rather than pictures. (and yes, it does make the service more like Facebook) Strike 3 is harder to pin down to a policy or specific service change, but it’s noticeable; Twitter is feeding the trolls. The best example I can give is the recent @N debacle. I don’t really care about usernames, but I do care that the company is not looking out to close out the trolls and lowlifes from the service. If @N belonged to NBC, rather than a somewhat obscure blogger/journalist, I suspect the response would have been different.

Ok, second, and these are much more personal concerns. I really don’t get the same thrill from the service that I used to get. I haven’t had a good live-tweet of a movie or pun-athon in ages. I’ve winnowed out a lot of the ‘funny’ people because, no fault of their own, their formulas are getting a bit dated by now. I’ve always avoided (badly) discussing politics, religion and kids, but I find myself joining in these threads at times now, because they’re the ONLY thing being discussed. I don’t know the answer. You can never go back, it seems. I don’t find myself wishing to re-build a community on tumblr, g+ or [insert 1 of 20 other options]. Maybe I’m just near the end of this phase. It wouldn’t be the first time. I did bbs boards in the 80’s, MUDs in the 90’s, and CounterStrike and Gawker sites in the early 00’s. Twitter may just be another phase.

I’m not going to drop off Twitter all at once. I’m just going to re-prioritize it a bit. It’s been fun, though. I do wonder what will come next.

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