Twitter Hibernation

I'm taking a break from Twitter after about nine years, more or less, and—400,000 tweets. I used the last bunch of tweets as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood, and I hope did some good! (P.S. It raised over $2,200!!)

Twitter as a company hasn't yet revised how it works to encompass disagreement and critique and yet let people block the asymmetrical harassment that regularly occurs. While I've only occasionally been a target, I see the regular toll on friends and colleagues. The lack of being able to engage simultaneously in a rich froth of discussion and yet not find yourself buried under endless messages (unable to sort friend from foe) that try to make you feel bad—it's got technical solutions, and Twitter hasn't (yet) deployed many of them. (I have some hope based on what people have said who have seen or heard glimmers.)

This fundamental problem of Twitter has caused many people I know and care for to withdraw, post only anodyne messages, not engage in conversation, or leave altogether. I find myself launching the app with dread about what I'll discover, and then wondering why I'm launching it at all.

The reason is, of course, camaraderie. Twitter is where you find friends you didn't know you had. I've made plenty, and some have become close pals. But, for me, the negative tone and dogpiling and worse outweighs the community I went to Twitter for.

Slack teams (for both work and with friends) have filled in part of what I was missing in Twitter. Perhaps Slack will expand to encompass more people and discovery and be more like a better Twitter? Hard to see. But Twitter either has to improve how people navigate interactions with those who engaged in serial or collective abuse or another service will ultimately rise and take its place for those, like me, who want community and conversation, not celebrity messages and brand advertising.