Twitter didn't need fixing
The short version is that I’m on Mastodon now and that feels okay, but I’m bitter about it and I wish it never had to go so far.
US politics is a disease. It seems to be an inescapable brain worm. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are on the Internet, someone from the United States will find a way to get names like “Ben Shapiro” or “Andrew Tate” onto your screen. I hate that I sort of know who they are. They are of absolutely no relevance to me. Nothing they say has any bearing on my daily life. But Americans everywhere are doggedly determined to export their fucked-up national traumas to the rest of us. And now their crowning achievement, their pièce de résistance, is the idiot car man buying Twitter and trying to supercharge its tiresome “oooh look at my ELECTION OPINIONS” function.
I was never on there for “politics”. I had a big list of muted keywords including but not limited to
trump clinton congress senate #svpol, the list went on ‒ and armed with these blocks and a third-party client Twitter felt like a good way to spend some of my limited time on earth. I kept informed of interesting stuff I wanted to be informed of, and had a great supply of art and humor. Perfect. But it turns out I wasn’t part of the target audience of riled-up Americans who want to slam their emotional baggage down on the table and gesticulate wildly over it.
The billionaire cretin bought Twitter thinking people were using it as a “town square” to “debate one another” and everything he’s done since then has been in the service of goosing that type of engagement. So I’m out. The Internet will never wrap its head around the fact that even casually mentioning people you think suck will result in a tiny, fractional, ka-ching sound in a server room somewhere, funneling an infinitisemal piece of money directly to the object of your derision. Even if the goober in charge wasn’t posting boomer memes and openly cheering for more authoritarianism, the gleeful leaning into antagonizing-people-as-a-service has made Twitter a no-go zone for me.
And so the alternative
Mastodon, then: yeah, I suppose it’s good. I haven’t found the right mix of people to follow yet. There’s plenty of space in my feed before I have to start trimming it, so I’m still generous with my follows ‒ if someone posts a thing I like, I just hit Follow and see where that takes me. That part’s actually pretty fun. It’s a fresh start. But Mastodon is also… well, a little boring. There are far fewer shitposts, and people aren’t nearly as good at them as the virtuosos on Twitter. I’m eagerly waiting for the Tapbots Ivory client to come out, since the official app is pretty rough around the edges.
I also haven’t yet found my fungi/lichen people, pixel artists, code golfers, etc. So a lot of it is Ruby and programming at the moment. Not bad, but nowhere near my Twitter feed at the peak of its power. People also seem a little more uptight and guarded, possibly to do with the self-selection of people who left because an alt-right fuckwad bought their old hangout… but I have enough “boring but useful” services in my life. I need some color.
Plus ca Change
I’m still salty about the way this went down. There really was no need for Electric Space Moron to buy Twitter. It really seems to have been a weird impulse purchase driven by an explosive cocktail of money and politics where one of the world’s most self-aggrandizing plutes lived, and now we all have to suffer for it. The US has absolutely no chill when it comes to airing their dirty laundry online. We’re all just collateral damage in their weird cold civil war. I don’t WANT to discuss mask policy or police brutality or “woke” or whatever today’s hot topic is. But they sure want to make me.
Well, I refuse. I want my online life to be that of Ferdinand the Bull. Just me, alone, beneath a cork tree, shitposting and watching the rise and fall of mighty memes, not a care in the world. That’s what every social network should aspire to give us.