After 12 years, I’ve decided to hang it up on Twitter. I started using the site in 2006, when it was all texts sent to your phone, and I remember my first experience was actually kind of awful. It turned out a friend put his address book into twitter, so the moment I signed up, I automatically got every single one of his tweets sent to my phone via text with no way to turn it off.
After the second time I was woken up at 2am by a supermarket tweet from him, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and tried to delete my account. But I kept getting the texts, and I remember having to send a personal email to Biz to ask that my phone number be removed from Twitter. He forwarded it on inside the company and I got an email reply from a young engineer named Jack that promised me he wiped out my account and number and all was well.
About six months later, in early 2007, I decided to bite the bullet and come back. I made sure to not even give Twitter my phone number for the first six months and I instantly enjoyed everyone posting thoughts off the tops of their heads. By this point, blogging was almost a decade old, so people were taking it very seriously. A little light-hearted fun was good and I loved hearing from lots of new voices on early Twitter.
But then Twitter matured and became more mainstream. And then all the bad stuff that came with it showed up. I was doxxed, harassed, and threatened at various points. I trusted the friends I knew that started it to do the right thing and I knew running a large public service used by millions was a much bigger deal than anything I’d ever worked on.
Over the years I started to get increasingly frustrated with the decisions made by Twitter. Every six months or so something would happen that’d make me stop and ask why I still use the site and I kept thinking of all the new voices I’d read and enjoyed that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. But the looming doubt over the future of the service eventually became too great.
I downloaded my Twitter archive today. 11.5 years of tweets. Over 1.5Gb of text and images. I probably could have written two or three books with that many words by now. This makes me a little angry and sad.
Next, I set to deleting all my old tweets. I want to leave the service and no longer feel the need to provide the site with my posts, so I’m doing my best to delete 3,2000 at a time (API limits) until it reaches zero.
I’ll continue to read twitter occasionally, and I might keep on liking tweets, but I’m not going to send another tweet until the service changes or the management changes in very drastic ways. I’ll be posting here on my blog more often, and probably on Medium for the longer stuff, and maybe more Instagram than usual. But no more tweets.
So long Twitter, I want to say it’s not you, it’s me, but it’s mostly you. Especially Jack.