i, like many others, have become increasingly concerned about the platformization of the web, and especially social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. to us, they represents something of a “closing off” of what was once open, and have many negative externalities.
on the other hand, I totally recognize the power that these services provide. that’s why I still continue to use them: giving individual people the power to connect, form communities, and communicate at scale is an incredibly noble mission. i’m actually quite the facebook/twitter apologist, because I’ve seen first hand how transformative interactions on these platforms can be.
still, even from a pure UX perspective, using platforms (especially Twitter) has gotten incredibly obnoxious and addictive over the past few years. so i did the following:
- unfollowed everyone on Twitter and refollowed them privately on Feedbin, a private RSS reader. no more “you might be interested in” - just the content I want to see. what’s more, I can sort by self-defined tags and create global filter rules, just in case I really don’t want to see what bullshit Trump did today.
- unfollowed most people I was following on Instagram
- shut down some old Tumblrs I had laying around
- installed a News Feed blocker extension for Facebook on both my phone and desktop, and uninstalled the apps. I also have all my Facebook notifications forwarded to a tab/folder on my GMail account, although I still prefer the web interface (without the newsfeed.)
- left every single Facebook group I was in (over 800)
- created my own micro.blog (aka this site) that cross-posts to Twitter and Medium
- grabbed the downloadable archive, and then ran a tool to delete all my old tweets, and any future tweets older than a week old.
the last two are actually the most interesting. i still want to share things with people! but the vast majority of the Things to Talk About on Twitter are inherently ephemeral.
as I develop my art, career and mind, I want to use tools that are open, self-owned, long-term, and that afford general thoughtfulness - if I’m sharing something, I ought to have (and probably do have) some considered feelings about that thing that deserve to be explained in greater than 240 characters (but less than a full-on blog post.)
and I will still be using Twitter regularly, if unconventionally, especially at conferences and other situations that lend themselves well to an ephemeral medium. it’s just that everything I post directly on Twitter will be swept away back into the void after a week or so, when they don’t matter anymore anyway. anything else worth sharing is worth thinking about and archiving and deserves a tool friendly to that cause.
i know I could do a lot more to encourage myself to really think about and consider things, and collect things for investigation or inspiration later on. tweetstorms, which is how I’ve traditionally organized, longerformish thought, aren’t really the right place for that. i can’t make any guarantees, because I’ve tried out many many tools for this over the course of the past several years to solve similar problems, but mayybbeeee this’ll be the right place for that.
plus it syndicates to medium and Twitter, so I get that sweet, sweet exposure the platforms provide anyway (not that I care too much about it.)
 fun fact, with the way Twitter’s API works, you can’t look at tweets older than your latest 3200 tweets (even on the website) without downloading the full archive, which is bullshit.