13 Oct

Twitter Quitter

Funny how you use one hashtag on Twitter and people who never had anything to do with you before descend on your blog comments and inbox en masse to criticize your life choices. Gosh, I’ll miss it so much!

Since my last tweet apparently wasn’t self-explanatory for some, allow me to elaborate. I decided independently yesterday morning that I’d had enough. I deleted the app from my tablet. I was shutting down the app I use on my laptop when the boycott hashtag popped up, so I did my small part to support the sentiment.

It has since become evident that a lot of people don’t know what a boycott is (or pretend not to so they can make snide comments). The point of boycotting a social media platform (or a store or a television show or anything else) isn’t to make a devastating sacrifice on the part of the protestors—the point is to hit the wallet of the business being boycotted.

If you think Twitter isn’t a business because it doesn’t sell anything, I have some bad news for you. When a business lets you use its product for free, you are the product it’s selling, and advertisers and investors are buying you. (How Does Twitter Make Money?)

Let’s just say, for lack of better data, half of Twitter’s 328 million users are women. If their inventory of people was cut in half (by, for instance, a sustained boycott), their business would be destroyed. They would be forced to make changes to get those 164 million users back or lose everything.

That’s obviously not going to happen for any number of reasons, but as a hypothetical, a boycott could be an effective agent of change.

But I’m actually not boycotting for a day. I won’t be back on Saturday. I’m simply done.

My decision isn’t in response to a single incident. I’ve had to block over 70,000 accounts to make Twitter almost bearable to use, and that didn’t all happen this week. This week is just the final straw on a back-breaking load that’s been building for years. What I saw this week was brave women coming forward about abuse, being exposed to an outpouring of additional abuse, and Twitter maintaining their commitment to doing nothing because, hey, you say stuff in public and people gonna people, babe.

I would never advocate women being silent. I’m not going to be silent. But I’m not doing my speaking on their shitty, abusive platform and contributing to the “engagement” stats they use to generate revenue. Twitter no longer gets to use me as an asset to sell advertising while rape/death threats, Nazis, and abuse bots run unchecked and those being attacked get suspended because their attackers are organized and report harmless tweets in sufficient numbers to trigger an algorithm. (More about Twitter’s longstanding love affair with abusers and bots.)

I’ve never seen anyone become enlightened on Twitter. You’re either preaching to the choir or attracting the attention of people thoroughly entrenched in their hatred of you, so there’s nothing to be gained from “debating” your humanity and right to exist in that environment.

What I have seen is good people spiraling into depression as shitty people harass them. I’ve seen good people driven into setting even their business accounts to private. I’ve seen good people disappear without a trace.

It’s a dumpster at this point. If the trash wants it, the trash can have it. There are innumerable better places to have those important discussions, free from the stench of the garbage barge.

This isn’t much of a statement. I’m a terrible Twitter user. Nobody’s going to miss me and my riveting tea-tasting adventures. I’ve blocked as much of the platform’s data-gathering as humanly possible, so I wasn’t even a high-value marketing asset. I’m quitting for myself. That’s one less place I have to encounter bullshit from every side when I’m just trying to have a good time, and there’s a teeny tiny kernel of satisfaction that however many views I contributed to the Look How Prosperous We Are Report is now reduced to zero.

That’s it. I’m not trying to convert anybody. I wouldn’t have even mentioned it if it hadn’t attracted such a flood of diarrhea flowing from the source of the problem. Blog comments will be re-enabled after the fetid tide goes back to the loving embrace of its unmoderated abyss.