David Heinemeier Hansson

December 30, 2023

We’re so back

Under the old Twitter regime, politics seemed to seep into everything, especially tech talk. There was scarcely a programming or product topic that couldn’t be turned into a struggle session on account of some perceived transgression or privilege. It was, to use the trauma language of those days, exhausting. It also simply seemed like the new normal, something that was going to be that way forever. Thankfully, it wasn’t.

There are plenty of bones to pick with the new regime running X, but perhaps the greatest gift it’s given to the platform is The Rift. The motivation for certain groups of people to find another place to be. Whether that’s Mastodon or Threads or whatever. The tech discourse on X feels like it’s been able to recover its attention in large part because so many of those most interested in keeping it on politics went somewhere else.

Now that’s a lot of “feels”, but that’s because this really is mostly about vibes and individualized algorithms and personal impressions. And to me, the vibe is distinctly vintage. Talking about tech and programming on X today feels like it did a decade ago. Plenty of disagreements, even histrionics, but largely focused on the actual technical topics at hand, not how they might connect to The Current Thing in every which way, all the time.

I guess it’s possible that this shift was going to happen regardless of who ran Twitter or X. That eventually techies at large and programmers in particular were going to tire of the incessant political campaigns anyway. So maybe all the new management did here was to accelerate the inevitable.

But either way, it’s been delightful. And it’s been a good reminder to myself that talking too much about politics, on X or elsewhere, is indeed a limiting prospective. So I’ve gladly turned it down or taken it private. Like the olden days, before we were fooled into thinking that sharing every thought about every hot-button political issue in every social circle was going to advance us all somehow. It wasn’t, it didn’t, and it won’t.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.