After nearly 14 years of Twitter, I’m calling it quits.

Even before Musk took over, Twitter had become pretty awful; It was already a cesspool of hateful trolls, disinformation campaigns, wingnuts, and the aggrieved (basically, a sea of Karens, Kyries, Kanyes, and the odd Ted Cruz). Its algorithms work to fill your timeline with the content most likely to generate anxiety or rage. The point of which is to increase engagement—and it works—even knowing that this was the case wasn’t always enough to keep me from taking the bait. I frequently “engaged”, shitposting with the best of them.

Since the Musk takeover it has gone from bad to worse, but now participation also requires cosigning his abuse and exploitation of staff (or what remains of them). It means tacitly approving of his re-platforming of a lying, violent sociopath who incited insurrection. It requires bearing daily witness to his bullying, taunts, and otherwise infantile behavior (I mean seriously, what kind of narcissist demands his tweets be added to everyone’s timelines?).

It just isn’t in my own self-interest that I continue to subject myself to this.

I plan to leave my account in place (for now), but I’ve removed (most of) the content and will not be reading, posting, or replying.


TL;DR From now on you can find me on Mastodon as

Mastodon is micro-blogging (similar to Twitter), but community operated, and implemented as Free Software. There are some differences, but no doubt the biggest is that Mastodon is federated, something that seems to generate quite a bit of confusion.

Imagine that instead of a Twitter, there were many, and that they were all connected with one another (a federation of Twitters). You could sign up for an account with any you wanted, while still interacting with those who had signed up on others. The advantage of this sort of architecture is that control isn’t consolidated under a single organization (or a billionaire experiencing their mid-life crisis).

Being non-profit and volunteer organized, Mastodon also isn’t burdened with the same incentives. Twitter is deeply invested in engagement, because the more time you spend doom-scrolling, the more money you are worth to advertisers. Mastodon’s timeline is free from any algorithms (and ads). You only see the (ordered) posts of those you follow (and reposts, etc).

I don’t expect Mastodon to be a utopia, but so far the discourse is so much more civilized, and at least the tools exist to be hopeful that it may stay that way.