You'd think that I wouldn't love a social media platform that helped make my own blog mostly obsolete, but Twitter has been my favorite online outpost since I joined in 2008. With it clearly circling the drain, I'm cautiously hanging on for now, but I can foresee the end coming soon, one way or another.
In the early days, local Twitter followers found each other quickly and if someone posted, "Who wants to grab lunch today downtown?" you could feasibly get a group of eight people together within an hour to share a meal. I made some great friends who turned out to live within a few blocks of me at the time and we still see each other regularly. I know people who found roommates, met spouses, and, like me, formed solid social lives around their "tweeps."
As the platform matured and I began following more people, it turned into an information firehose. I began deliberately shaping my feed to include perspectives from people in other communities, professions and cultures. I follow so many scientists, historians, activists and experts to learn interesting and inspiring things.
Twitter has also been a vital source of news, from "on the ground" information when something is happening to filtered national news that surfaces the key stories of the day. I'm not sure what's going to take its place in that regard.
More than once I've told someone, "I live on Twitter." It's been my hangout, my place to shout into the void when I'm feeling lonely, and a solid source of entertainment. I've been a small enough fish to stay off the radar of trolls for the most part. Plus, it probably helps that I also use it for the same kind of casual, everyday thoughts that this blog has always encompassed.
Yes, many mornings it felt like doomscrolling was an unhealthy way to start the day, but I also know my own feelings enough to sense when to put down the phone and do something in the real world.
I've always been fully aware of the adage, "If you're not paying, you're the product." That's why I made sure I put in a ticket to get this blog back up and running after last week's outage. I am paying to be here, so I suppose this is where I'll plant my flag again. If nothing else, it makes me findable - and perhaps I'll start posting more regularly again to take the place of the 280-character running commentaries to which I've been so accustomed.
It's sad to see such a vibrant community deliberately destroyed. As much as I enjoy the Discord groups that have sprung up as an end run around the horribleness of social media moguls, they're too siloed to take the place of the Twitter experience. Fingers crossed that a good alternative presents itself soon.