Daily Archives: February 12, 2023

Still on Twitter

We had another panic this past week when Elon Musk had API access turned off and nobody told him that their own app uses those very same APIs.  The whole Musk venture continues to be one fiasco after another.

Me, on Twitter

This is in parallel to Twitter threatening to charge for access to its API last week… which got pushed to next week.  Some companies have already pulled their Twitter integrations, like Blizzard, while others are sending warnings to their customers.  I received a message from WordPress warning me something might be up.

Hi there,

Twitter recently announced they would end free access to the Twitter API on February 9th. A recent update extended that date to February 13th.

As a result of these unexpected changes, it is possible that Jetpack Social may experience some temporary outages when automatically sharing your posts directly from WordPress to Twitter.

We’re working with Twitter to find the best solution for our mutual users, so your workflows are not disrupted. We will reach out again when we have more information on the path forward.

Please feel free to connect with support if you need any help.

The WordPress.​com team

I have, for about a decade, let WP.com auto-Tweet my posts as they have been published.  This might be the last post that goes there automatically.  Time will tell.

Then there is the threat to restrict how many posts you can make in a day unless you pay a subscription.  Don’t threaten me with a good time… though that would kill off a couple of accounts I stay on the service to follow.  But that trial balloon got such a negative reaction that I suspect it won’t come to pass.  We’ll see.

Despite all that has happened since Musk took over, Twitter is still running… most days… and I still log in there.  In fact, I spend more time there still than any other social media site.  Why?

Well, there is the whole drama aspect of it.  Netflix has funded 8 episode seasons of shows that aren’t as engaging as watching Elon Musk fuck around and find out in ways that would get a spec script rejected as being completely unrealistic.

Just this past week we had the tale of Elon being upset that his engagement numbers on Twitter were down and, when presented with data indicating that people just didn’t find his antics that interesting anymore, he fired the engineer who dared disturb is self-image like that.

This was a double pay off because various self-invested blow hards, including Scott Adams, have convinced themselves over the years that Twitter has been shadow banning based entirely on their unshakable belief that they’re more popular and engaging than they really are.

Yes, it sucks for the remaining employees of Twitter, and will continue to suck for them.  The operating theory here in the valley is that Musk is being egged on by VCs like Peter Thiel to keep driving his insane plans because they see it as a giant test case to find out if they too can fire a bunch of well paid staff and keep more of the money for themselves.  No obscene levels of wealth will ever be enough and the only good they want in the world is things that are good for them at the expense of everybody else.

So I hope the remaining employees are able to find better jobs and sponsorships for their H1B visas.

But even the Elon Musk drama gets tiring… as his engagement numbers show.  While I am committed to sticking around just to see the inevitable end as the Titanic sinks, that really isn’t the main reason.

More so I remain on Twitter because it delivers the content I want out of social media.

Here is a surprise: I like the For You content on Twitter.  It is not that I don’t like the people I follow… I am sticking around for them… but the algorithm has my number and rather consistently delivers content from people who I sometimes forget I am not actually following.

And there is a whole cadre of accounts that I do follow that have carried on as before.  Not everybody has stuck around, but a surprising number of people, including some who have sworn to leave, continue to post because Twitter remains a somehow magical mix of content and personalities and engagements and even the hated Elon shuts up now and then… or so I am told.

I actually have his account blocked.  The Elon era has seen me block a lot more accounts.  I now block both the performatively offensive seeking attention and those that give them that attention by calling out their offensiveness.  But that is what the feature is there for… for now.  Elon is threatening to take that away and his sycophants are going on about an imaginary right to be heard.  That might push more people off the service and actually reduce his engagement even more so.

So the main reason I remain is that, even in this era of the platform I get an experience on Twitter that I cannot get elsewhere, an experience that suits my needs.

I do look at other social media sites.  I made a new Mastodon account back when the Musk era began and I do keep an eye on it.  But Mastodon is like the Linux of social media sites.  At a glance it looks a bit like Twitter and it has a very loud group of tech people singing its praises and telling people it is absolutely going to be the replacement site they are looking for.

But it isn’t.

It has all the hallmarks that we in tech have been trained to admire.  It is open source, crowd funded, run as a distributed network servers so there is no single point of failure, and gives you a range of options for joining in.

However, it is also something of an exclusionary model, and proudly so.  The thing I most remember hearing about Mastodon over the years is how you don’t have to see all the garbage you see elsewhere.  So every server has a choice to include or block any other server and you, the user, never see anything you didn’t explicitly go looking for.

Which makes it all a pretty dull place, more of a slow motion Discord server rather than a Twitter alternative.  And I know, go explore the Fediverse is the response.  But I don’t want to.  I can’t be bothered to expend the effort on social media unless I am looking for something very specific at a given moment.

Add in the fact that half the people I follow on Mastodon still cross post everything to Twitter and I am not an enthusiastic user.

I’m not against Mastodon. (Though I won’t cross post this there.)  It is still the next best thing to Twitter, but that is also because everything else past that is complete shit.  There is Post.news, a ghost town, and the MAGA Twitter clones that I wouldn’t use unless you paid me… and you would have to pay me a lot.

Beyond that there is Facebook, which bores me, Instagram, where the algorithm seems intent on fighting tooth and nail to not show me things I want… I spent a month trying to train it to show me 70s French and Italian cars, then I liked one with a woman in the frame and it got all, “Oh, you like women, let me show you nothing but that!” for the next three days… and LinkedIn, which is the only thing more boring that Facebook, and probably a few others I am forgetting.

TikTok.  I won’t be using TikTok.  I’m too old for that.

So I sit and scroll through Twitter still when I have a quiet moment in the morning or evening.  And if it falls over and blows up tomorrow… or decides to charge people for the privilege of being content… then we’ll all move on and it will be another bit of internet history.