Adios, finally deleting my Twitter and dev.to accounts

Here are some quick thoughts in the night after deleting my Twitter account and my dev.to account.

I couldn't sleep so I stood up and walked out into the living room. I laid down on the couch and started scrolling aimlessly, through my Twitter feed. I scrolled and I scrolled, letting the numbness of trivia, minutia and outrage wash over me. I was sating my fear of missing out.

“Maybe I should just delete my Twitter?”

My tweet saying that I was leaving Twitter. Thanking Mike Monteiro and  mentioning Jack by username.

The small print underneath the snake says “[t]his person is changing things from the inside”. I recommend looking up this book called Ruined by Design. It's great.

Shortly before deleting my Twitter account I requested a copy of my user data. I received an email notification, downloaded my data, made a final tweet and deactivated my account.

Phew!

It felt awesome and weird. It was weird because a part of me wanted to tweet about it. But that's just an irrational craving for the social media dopamine hits. Addictive tech is real. My account is off course just deactivated, it won't be deleted until thirty days has passed. It's arguably a service to people miss-clicking or maybe it's just the dealer hoping the addict will have a change of heart? I will not. I've already deleted Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. I went and set a calendar reminder in the future to remind me to celebrate that my account would be finally gone.

I deleted Twitter because it's an unhinged outrage machine that would allow anything on their platform, just to drive up engagement and thus their shareholder value. It's beyond policing and we should explore better, more accountable alternatives. How about using internet as it first was indented, a distributed network of smaller sites, not dystopian surveillance silos?

Deleting my dev.to account felt like a much smaller act. All my posts on dev.to were re-publications of content already posted on this blog. There was no data I needed to download for safekeeping I just needed to go jump through the hoops and finalise the deletion. My reason for deleting dev.to was that I realised that I wasn't getting any benefit from that platform. And frankly I don't like how it's wired together.

While I commend the efforts of the dev.to founder(s) on building this community I don't like how that platform is wired to increase engagement. There are all sorts of stats to try and increase including hearts, unicorns, bookmarks and so on. Scrolling through the feed I see so many people fighting for attention, it's like a frenzy. It's a “race to the bottom” in terms of cranking out bite-sized, clickbait-optimised content. People are constantly one-upping each other on giving increasingly hot takes to see if that will drive their metrics up, and for what? To receive whole minutes of fame before the attention frenzy river washes them away from the podium.

If dev.to writers read this post maybe they would argue that I'm just bitter that I didn't get attention? Or maybe they would accuse me of being against beginner-friendly content? To that the answer is no and no. People should write and create to their hearts’ content, but they should do it on their sites and not in these silos. These silos come and go but your site and your content can outlast them all. Yes, it'll be harder to build a following for your site and maybe it won't be as large but they'll be real people nonetheless. To me that's slow-moving, meaningful tech. It's the freedom to do and write what you want.

I think everyone should try and have a blog. If you don't fancy the adventure of setting up one totally on your own I can recommend the non-profit ghost.org or micro.blog. Nevertheless, don't discount the idea of setting up something yourself. The IndieWeb community host IndieWebCamps all over the world where they talk about how to own your online content and teach each other how to build their own personal sites.

Think about it.

I see that my clock is approaching morning, dawn is upon me. I'll need to get to work soon. It was super swell to delete these Twitter and dev.to accounts. I'm looking forward to use this extra time for something else, something a bit more meaningful.

Happy hacking dear internet surfer. 🏄