Neil Macy

Leaving Twitter

The world’s town square. That’s a common metaphor used to describe Twitter. The new owner describes it as such. #JoinTheConversation is a common hashtag to see around the world. The world’s conversations happen on Twitter. Or they used to.

I think that’s a good metaphor. But another is the world’s playground. Lots of fun has happened on Twitter over the 15 years or so it’s existed. Lots of friendships have formed. Lots of entertainment and games. Wordle spread through Twitter, for example. So many comedians have built careers there. And remember the dress? Or Laurel and Yanny? Twitter has been a lot of fun.

There has also been a lot of harassment, bullying, and threats of violence) over the years. A playground will have varying levels of that. You’ll never avoid it, but how the playground is managed by the adults in charge makes a big difference.

Sadly, Twitter’s new owner, supposedly the adult in charge, is one of them. A bully. He will happily criticise his staff in public, and then fire them for disagreeing with him when replying in kind. He will happily make fun of people who wear face masks, as a response to them asking a fair question about them quality of his work. He thinks calling someone a paedophile in front of millions of people is a fair response to feeling insulted. He claims to be a free speech absolutist, yet he blocks or fires (publicly!) those people who disagree with him. He’ll often retweet those people first with some silly comment designed to entertain his legion of fans first though, because he wants to think he’s funny. And will happily engage in this at others’ expense. He claims comedy is legal on Twitter again, as part of his free speech agenda, then suspends accounts engaging in parody, all because they’re pointing out his errors. Our fire someone for drawing humorous cartoons of which he is the butt of the joke.

It’s a classic playground bully persona. You couldn’t write a kids’ TV show with a more clearly defined bully than him. Thin skinned. Can dish it out but can’t take it. Plays to the crowd of sycophants. Punches down.

So do I want to hang out in a playground that’s run by a bully? Nah. It’s his ball. He can play his game. But I’m going home.


Side Notes

  • I’ve deactivated my account and removed all links to it from this site.
  • I plan to use a mix of RSS, Mastodon, Instagram (which I’m not mad about either, but it’s cleared my ethical bar for now…), and Discord a lot more, to replace Twitter. Four services to replace one!
  • I’ve deliberately not included any links to Twitter in this article. So there are no references for the behaviour I’m accusing the new owner of. So be it. I don’t want to persuade anyone. I’ve seen enough for myself. And I don’t want to drive any traffic there; even one click is too much. A quick Google search will show plenty.

Published on 14 November 2022