Leaving Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter for a really long time (since 2007) and over the years created tons of posts and got to know lots of people. I don’t know how many libraries I’ve tried and conferences I’ve attended after stumbling upon them on Twitter. Over the years the platform changed, though, and alternatives showed up.

A couple of years ago I decided to move mostly away from Twitter to Mastodon but I still kept my account open to post something from time to time or to just read up on the latest news from the Python or Go community outside of blogs or Reddit threads. It was still useful as a news source. All of that changed on October 28 when Elon Musk took over.

Since then I’ve spent countless hours glued to one screen or another in order to read up on what has been going on at Twitter, the company, since then. It’s pointless to even try to list all the details at this point but here are just a few highlights of that madness and utter chaos:

  • About half of the staff was fired on short notice after receiving an e-mail that they should not come to the office and await a mail informing them about their employment status. If they got it on their work mail, they were still still, otherwise they were out. Two days later Twitter noticed that they may have fired the wrong people and so started asking lots of folks if they’d come back.
  • Teams got deadlines to fundamentally change various premium-account aspects on a very short notice with the deadline being the day after all that firing going on.
  • Due to very short time periods between product inceptions and deadlines engineers were required to self-certify their compliance with FTC requirements.
  • The “blue checkmark” icon which has historically indicated that an account was official and has been verified by the staff is now simply tied to an 8 USD premium plan. Having a credit card seems to be verification enough. That also lead to the nickname “$8chan” for the platform over the last couple of days. This has, obviously, lead to tons of fake accounts impersonating brands and posting lots of stuff all with a blue checkmark.
  • A new “official” checkmark has temporarily been added to indicate the same as the old blue one… This one was added, then killed, then partially restored and, honestly, I’ve lost track of its status now.
  • According to an old-hands meeting that was - obviously - announced on a very short notice, bancrupcy is a possibility for Twitter and also that work from home is no longer an option. People who physically can show up at the office and who don’t, are basically fired, no matter what previous agreement existed.

These are just a couple of things that happen during the very short reign of The Musk at Twitter but it seems to have been more than enough for my whole network to jump ship and move to one Mastodon instance or another. Perhaps some of the more funny account I’ve been following over the years are still there but, hey, even Bahnansagen now uses Mastodon! According to the maintainer of Mastodon there are now about 1M more people on the network compared to October 27!

If it weren’t for thousands of people that from one day to another had to move or either start looking for a new job, it would just be fascinating instead of having a huge amount of horror.

With Twitter imploding and my most of my network off there, there is simply no point for me to keep my account active there. Due to that I’ve decided to completely stop using Twitter. I won’t delete my account in order not to break existing links and for archival purposes but that’s it.

Big thanks to everyone who’s worked on the platform over the years and I hope you’ll find a new nice place to work and exchange status updated with family, friends, and followers!