The social media tide rolls in and out

One of my big projects this week was updating the privacy, advertising, and linked apps settings in my Twitter accounts to the most private and secure option. Some I’d already done, but some new sharing had slipped by me and defaulted to opt-in (grrr 😠). I’m very glad to have done so, even staying up later than planned on Thursday night to finish the last two. Friday when I logged in I was greeted by this:

Twitter alert: "An update to your data-sharing settings. The control you have over what information Twitter shares with its business partners has changed. Specifically, your ability to control mobile app advertising measurements has been removed, but you can control wheter to share some non-public data to improve Twitter's marketing activities on other sites and apps. These changes, which help Twitter to continue operating as a free service, are reflected now in your settings."

The downhill slide is faster than I expected, and, based on the whistle-blowing-adjacent leaks coming out of Twitter as they fire key people and others walk out, the collapse is going to be dire and possibly complete. I thought Twitter would continue to degrade and there would be a bleed off of users and brands, but this is dramatic. There are 1 million more people using Mastodon today than there were on October 27th.

I had six Twitter accounts. Two were inactive, one no longer used, one never used. Two were rarely used, FeralHistorian and Discardia. The deactivation process has been initiated on these, though I have to wonder if Twitter as a platform will even survive long enough for that 30 day process to complete. Two were used more often, but still not much at all since 2018, MetaGrrrl and Bibulous. Yesterday I requested a new export to archive anything on those since 2018. I wonder when and if that will complete. There isn’t much to lose so I’m not stressing over it.

Once I have my exports, I will deactivate those accounts as well. Entirely deleting content from the web is not my general approach, but Twitter is a toxic space and want no further part of it. Yes, this probably means someone will do something dreadful with those usernames eventually, but as we’ve seen this week, Twitter identity has been made a mockery and we all just need to get better at verifying legitimacy of sources, especially when they say something surprising, uncharacteristic, or dramatic.

As I go, I want to salute the good things that Twitter brought over the years, particularly its role in tearing off the blinders from comfortable liberals like me about how extreme and real and currently occurring systemic racism, misogyny, and anti-LGBTIA+ activity is. Grateful too for the random loveliness of Twittering shepherds, snarky museums, and all the other smiles, inspirations, and insights over the years.

I joined Twitter in September 2006. I have a vague memory of sharing a cab from the airport to SXSW with Ev in March 2007, when he was still very involved. I used it a lot and many folks I was interacting with in the early years are still folks I’m interacting with on Mastodon now.

I guess 12 active years plus 4 occasional checkins years is a pretty good run for using a particular web service.

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Dinah from Kabalor

Author. Discardian. GM. Current project: creating an inclusive indie fantasy ttrpg

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