Twitterless, Part III
Preparing for a future without Twitter.
I’ve been preparing for the demise of Twitter since long before Elon Musk made the offer to purchase it. In 2016, I wrote a post — Twitterless — about what would happen if Twitter “disappeared tomorrow.” I outlined a couple of key areas that would be problematic for me and possible solutions.
A year and a half later, I wrote a follow up post — Twitterless, Part II — that noted my progress on replacing the role Twitter plays for me, and the challenges that still existed.
Times are changing, though, and I honestly believe that we all need to be diversifying — and if possible, owning — our social media presence. Becoming less reliant on the big social media behemoths is the first step.
I ended that post with a promise to follow up on my progress, but as Facebook became more and more evil, I focused on moving away from Facebook. Replacing Twitter was pushed to the back burner.
Now that Twitter armageddon may or may not be here, it’s clearly time that I renew my quest to find an alternative. I figured I’d check back in on those questions that I asked back in 2016 and see how I’ve done:
I’d lose a bunch of contacts. Yep. I’m going to lose a bunch of people who follow me on Twitter. I’ve tried to connect with people on other platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, but I can’t find everyone, and you know what, I’m okay with that.
I’d change how I watch live events. This is still a problem as I noted yesterday. Live events are fun to follow with other people, and Twitter is great for that. No other service is quite like Twitter for those instant commentary events.
I’d have to rethink how I find articles and stories. I use Feedbin as an RSS reader, but that’s not my only solution. I subscribe directly to The New York Times and The Washington Post. And — as shocking as it might seem — I also get a lot of value out of Apple News+, which I get with our Apple One bundle. My local paper, The State, is included in with Apple News+ and I catch a random assortment of articles from sources I don’t normally read. It’s a nice way to diversify the news I see every day.
I’d have to rethink how I share content. When I wrote this, I felt like traffic to my blog was coming primarily from Twitter, but over time, that lessened and most come through search engines. I’ll still create and share, but I’ll just use whatever channels are available at the time.
I’d change the way I use Facebook/Instagram. I once thought that Facebook and Instagram might provide a solution. I’ve mostly left Facebook, and Meta seems to only care about the Metaverse now anyway. I’m not that interested in Instagram now that it’s trying to be TikTok. I don’t feel any better about Facebook than I do about Twitter.
I’d try to find a replacement. I backed the Micro.Blog Kickstarter back in 2017 and I’ve had a paid account ever since. I originally connected Micro.Blog to my Squarespace site, which worked well over the years. I believe in the idea of a feed-based, open social media platform, but because I was still using Twitter, I didn’t fully commit to using Micro.Blog.
I’ve still got Sketchbook B and it’s still hosted on Squarespace, but I made the decision this summer that all of my future blog and short-form posting will be hosted on Micro.Blog, specifically, bobwertz.com. Why? I love the community, and the platform lets me easily post my content and crosspost to other services if I want to. It also lets me follow people who post on Mastodon, and they can follow me at @firstname.lastname@example.org. I like writing my blog posts in Ulysses in Markdown and the just post them directly to my site. I feel Micro.Blog gives me the best of all of the potential options and I’m happy with that choice.
Looking back, I think I’ve prepared pretty well for the potential downfall of Twitter. I’m not leaving completely, but I’ve got one foot out the door and I feel good about the solutions I’ve worked out for me.
If Twitter ceases to be enjoyable, I’ll leave. To be honest, I’ll miss it. I joined in 2008 and 14 years is a long time to use any service. It’s part of my daily routine. At the end of the day, though, if a service isn’t making my life better, I’m better off without it.