Free of the bird

I want my last post on Twitter to be a blog post as one last middle finger to centralised, algorithmic social media. If you’re still on Twitter, you’re seeing this because my blog automatically tweets out posts. This is the last one of those, because I’m cutting that off too.

As a preface, I appreciate I’m speaking from a position of privilege, upping sticks and leaving Twitter, but I’ve finally had enough of it. I’ve spent the last week or so, weighing up the pros and cons of the platform and the large following I somehow managed to accumulate—and let me tell ya, the cons far outweigh the pros (more on this later). Because a bad actor could, in theory, steal my handle if I deactivate and impersonate me, I will be keeping the account open until that is no longer necessary. I won’t be back next week either, just to spite this dickhead.

What’s been the kicker?

Elon Musk bought Twitter and has completely dismantled it. I actually deep-down thought it would be ok in the long term. He’s a complete clown, but I thought sensibility would take over and after a period of turbulence, Twitter would be ok. The straw that broke the camel’s back—resulting in my actually logging off—was twofold. The first part was Musk forcing staff to sign up to being exploited—by being overworked, or as he called it, being “hardcore”—or fired, then using a Twitter poll to determine if Donald Trump should be reinstated. The first part resulted in friends that worked there being put in an impossible position, which made me beyond mad.

I thought about just posting only on Twitter via this blog for a bit. I’ve somehow accumulated a rather large following on Twitter—around 16.8k followers at the time of writing—and even though I’ve never actually tried to get followers, I felt slightly proud of that number and didn’t want to let it go. Over the last week or so, though, I’ve put some thought into what that following has actually brought me, other than every time I tweet anything tech or design-related, a sea of insufferable dickheads find their way to my replies.

I don’t really plug anything other than the odd discount for Every Layout and I certainly don’t ever land client projects through Twitter for my agency, or as a freelancer previously. Granted, I’ve made connections on Twitter that have resulted in client projects, but they’re relationships built, rather than follower-count related.

I thought I’d look at some stats in analytics (I use Fathom)—specifically how much traffic arrives at my sites from Twitter:

  1. On this site, Twitter is responsible for around 80% of traffic. That makes sense because it’s a personal blog
  2. On Piccalilli, Twitter is responsible for a meagre 20% of traffic (that site will be merged with this one)

We don’t have analytics on Every Layout or Set Studio, but I’m sure they’re also very low in terms of Twitter referrals.

Based on the fact that the vast majority of the work I land, the books I sell and previously, the courses I sold came from the writing and talks I do, rather than the tweeting I do, Twitter really doesn’t bring any benefit to me anymore.

My conflicted relationship with Mastodon

I’ve declared recently that I won’t leave Twitter for Mastodon because since 2016, it has never stuck for me. I just could not be arsed with it again, but the thing that changed everything was not just Twitter falling apart, but most importantly, my friends all started moving there.

It’s all about the people, not the platform at the end of the day. It doesn’t really matter what tool you use to chat to your mates—so many tools rise and fall—but it’s the fact there is a tool to chat to your mates. That was Twitter, hands down, but now, people are moving over the Mastodon in their droves.

Mastodon does still give me the ick. There’s a lot of gatekeeping, but I think that’ll get better over time. It’s certainly gotten a lot better than a few years ago where you’d get lambasted for even mentioning Twitter without calling it the “bird site” (🤮).

I did, however, want to get back on to a private instance of Mastodon. I did have one before but I forgot to renew my domain lol. That’s ok though because I’m back in business at @[email protected]. Mastodon is great when you have complete control of your little fediverse island. Once Mastohost are back accepting new accounts, I strongly recommend you give them money to host for you.

Wrapping up

Am I sad about leaving Twitter? Surprisingly not. I’ve really enjoyed my time there, but it’s also caused me a lot of grief over the years. Just like a bad relationship, when the signs are there that’s it’s a net-bad, you’ve got to cut ties and move on with your life.

I did create an archive of my tweets with this handy new tool from Zach and Co. You can see them all here. I didn’t really care if those tweets disappeared with Twitter—I see them as ephemeral—but because that tool made it so easy, I thought I might as well immortalise them. There are some absolute banger shitposts in there after all 😎 (aside I should collate those in to a best-of post).

If you don’t like Mastodon and still want to follow me, that’s fine. I’m going to hook up this blog with the Mastodon API and probably try to post from here first again, so my RSS will be up to date a lot. Otherwise, you can see my other places here.

I’ll sign off with this. Don’t feel under pressure to leave Twitter if it still brings you benefit. As soon as it becomes clear that it doesn’t, feel confident that you can leave Twitter and it’ll be fine.

👋 Hello, I’m Andy and I’ll help you build fast & visually stunning websites.

I’m the founder of Set Studio, a creative agency that specialises in building stunning websites that work for everyone. If you’ve got a project in mind, get in touch.

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