Goodbye, Twitter

Hi, everyone I didn't know still cared about my Twitter feed. I wanted to just say my rushed and disorganized goodbye to Twitter before Elon finally manages to completely destroy it. I'll probably update this as I have more thoughts or information. I also wanted to do it this way because Twitter, ultimately, is a terrible platform for any kind of nuance or long thought (which perhaps is the actual reason it should just go away).

Saying goodbye to Twitter is something I've been planning to do for years, but I never quite had the push to finally just do it. I don't really use Twitter much anymore, the algorithms don't work for my preferred style of communication (I learned years ago the platform tends to reward more toxic, shill, True Believer communication styles that I really don't want to be good at). A big part of me has no problem with the platform falling apart and everyone finding their greener pastures, which probably will take the form of nested, organized communities of like minded people, rather than a giant panopticon of inmates screaming at each other like Twitter has been in it's end stages.

At the same time, I say my goodbye with some sadness. I was a very, very early user of Twitter, which I first installed to follow a great person I knew that used it, then later on to advance my tech work, as Twitter at the start was tightly connected to the Ruby on Rails community, being the first major platform to be built with it (and indeed, at the time, it was more famous for being a working Ruby on Rails app than for what it ended up becoming). I remember a long conversation with the early CTO of Twitter on a humid summer night in Chicago, who asked me if I wanted to work there (not sure if I ever asked him if he remembered that conversation). Sometimes I wonder how much different my life would have been had I applied. But I was a depressed (and frankly kind of messed up) young adult at the time, and I guess I just didn't have the head space for it yet. Either way, I'm happy with how my life turned out, I don't regret it.

More than a small amount of credit for the success of my tech work goes to Twitter. Neocities itself started as a tweet that went viral (for my standards), giving me the push I needed to implement and launch it. It was also crucial in getting the attention (and donations) the platform needed in those early days to succeed. Twitter has definitely been good for that in my life.

I could write a book on why Twitter failed, but I won't do that here. I'll just add to the conversation that I've always felt like Twitter has already been dead for a long time, the seeds of it's destruction planted very early in it's life. I strongly believe the moment that it's short-sighted leadership decided Twitter should be a toxic community that allows and enables harassment was the beginning of the end of Twitter. The rest of Twitter's history has just been a slow and inevitable collapse caused by that original sin, and now we get to see the conclusion. Elon Musk, like the Goths that sacked Rome, didn't cause the collapse. It was caused by corruption and rot, the failure to nurture a healthy and prosperous community. They were just there at the end to trash the place after the core had been so thoroughly hollowed out.

I haven't posted anything on Twitter about my life lately, so I'll just do that briefly here.

I'm honestly not very interested in the tech space in general right now, which just seems way too focused on boring "money stuff". I didn't get into tech to make nested stock markets and financial crap, I got into tech to create joy and wonder, to empower people to have higher quality lives through knowledge and capability, not to get people into ponzi schemes or to get them hooked on doom scrolling information junk food for profit or Donkey Coin or whatever. Until something more interesting comes along in tech, I've been doing a lot of rock climbing instead with IRL communities of wonderful friends, family and intimates, and enjoying it thoroughly. My first and best piece of advice for people wondering what to do after Twitter is simply to spend less time with the internet and spend more time with people around you, in real places, in the real world, creating things, perhaps healing any traumas you have been avoiding working on through endless doomscrolling. There's never been a better time to start improving yourself than right now, when Twitter finally grinds to a halt from lack of the institutional knowledge required to run it, and you have less news feed crap fighting your ability to sit down and read a good book, to reunite with an old friend, to put your time and energy into real things and work on becoming the self actualized person you deserve to be.

I'm still working on Neocities, and plan to do so for as long as I am mentally and physically capable of it. I can give you the hype sauce about how it's the Next Twitter, but I don't want that for it and nobody else does either. The status quo is fine. Even though all the "pundits" like to bully it as the dumb anachronism project, it likes to wake me up at 3AM, and will probably always prevent me from going on that month long off-grid backpacking trip I've always wanted to do, I still think of it like a daughter that was conceived from love, and I'll continue to take care of it that way. I won't pretend Neocities has been executed perfectly, but Neocities has also not made the mistake of taking a ton of VC money and then having to run on that stupid treadmill until it dies like so many other platforms have done before us, and will after us. So there's nothing existential requiring me to hand it over to someone that will potentially destroy it.

I also plan to continue to do more 90s web archive restoration projects through Restorativland, and there's millions of sites yet to be restored, most of which have never been seen since their platforms were shut down decades ago.

My history on Twitter hasn't been perfect, but thanks for following me throughout the years. Even if we fought, I'm sorry for what I said if it hurt you, and I think you're great and hope you have a happy and fulfilling life surrounded by people that love you, and that you can love.

All for now, apologies if it's a bit messy, it's late and I'm tired. If you want to talk more, don't bother with Twitter, just send me an email. You can find it on my web site. You should probably make one too, I promise I won't sell the platform to a lunatic.