Olly Headey

February 9, 2024

Bye bye bros and bots

I last joined Twitter in February 2007. I first joined when it launched in summer 2006, but I decided to delete my account soon after because I didn't understand it. I rejoined a few months later when other people were actually on there, and I've not left since.

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My first tweet from an old archive I discovered on my Mac. Not exactly earth-shattering, unlike those cinnamon buns in Golden Square 😋

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Twitter ever since. A lot of love because of many good people, genuine lolz, the unmatched real time news feed (notably during Covidtimes), and because it was the place to be for so many interesting and insightful people across the globe. I have a lot of hates because, like any social media, it scores off the charts on toxicity and it's almost impossible to have a civil conversation regardless of how polite you are. Despite this, the pros tended to outweigh the cons and by (almost) never engaging in anything to avoid the mansplaining neckbeards, I stuck at it.

Not any more.

I'm out.

This isn’t an Elmo Elon thing, although his apparent descent into conspiracies and flirtation with right-wing deadbeats certainly gets my goat. It’s because there are far fewer people on there from my network. It’s like being in a noisy bar with no mates, trying to make polite conversation but nobody is listening because they’re too busy shouting loudly about themselves.

The algorithm doesn't work for me either. My "For You" feed is full of tech bros, beef-gorging, testosterone-gulping indie hacker millionaires, VCs, dog gifs and one luddite account that drones on endlessly bemoaning modern architecture like we should still be trashing the earth to quarry marble to build churches. I know I can avoid this nonsense and just scroll who I follow, but discovery would be pretty welcome if it wasn't so broken.

Twitter is the complete opposite of LinkedIn, a place which was deeply uncool (well, ok, kinda still is) but has surged in popularity and remains remarkably low on the toxicity scale. LinkedIn is a “business time only” social network of course, so it’s not directly comparable. It’s essentially a CV/recruitment repository but this means people are on their best behaviour and use their real names. You do exchange toxicity for mild self-absorption but that's a tradeoff I'm willing to take.

On Twitter so many of my “followers” (urgh) seem to be bots. I don’t think Elon solved this at all. Maybe he should introduce proper ID verification? He’ll need that for his bank anyway, right? The anonymous troll community can just migrate to Reddit and 4Chan and still enjoy a happy troglodyte existence.

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I plan to hang around on LinkedIn now and again, as well as continuing to do my photography thing on Instagram, but I still struggle to know why I bother with it all

In time, I don’t think I will.

About Olly Headey

Journal of Olly Headey. Co-founder of FreeAgent. 37signals alumni. Photographer.
More at headey.net.