About a month ago, I deleted twitter.

Twitter was a useful tool for me since 2007, I was a very early user of the platform and remember when you could text to it to post. I saw value in the platform early on for decentralized communications. I build software to help activists use the platform and used it myself during the oscar grant rebellions, occupy oakland and many more.

I have met many people who I still really enjoy on Twitter. I probably wouldn’t have made the leap into security industry with out it, but in July of this year, I decided to give it up, and here is some reasons why.

    The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living.
    — Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

I don’t want to act that I’m “Holier than thou” by leaving behind a commonly used platform, but I will say something I feel that has been lost from the internet today is the lack of unmediated space. Everyone pretty much spends their time on 1 of 4 websites: Facebook (looping in Instagram here since it’s the same company), Twitter, the new kid on the block TikTok, and Reddit. These websites are the way most of us get our news, maintain our friendships and share our most intimate moments. But through all this the interactions are mediated by the ability to serve us ads. Products of our desire from pants to facecreams. This isn’t a unique or new analysis but I think it’s important to point out given what these platforms develop into at least for the circles I contribute to. Our ideas, desires and emotions are being used against us, once again, to sell us things. The wild west of the internet has faded away in favor of these more centralized platforms.

Doomposting for me is the act of posting about terrible things, mostly with a smile on one side of the face, chuckling to ourselves “haha, this sucks man” as we see the future fade away and disengrate infront of us. And who can blame us? The future is bleak, but there is a tendency to get stuck in an everlasting loop of doomscrolling and doomposting. Always seeing the worse that’s going on and feeding it to ourselves, breaking up the images of children being shot and once in a lifetime floods with infographics telling us we aren’t doing enough. The main problem I had with twitter is it wasn’t only these doom feedback loops combined with internal conflicts between supposed friendlies, it’s also the forcefulness of being in “the public square” that twitter is. Not to say that bad people with bad ideas should be told to stop talking, but there is a usefulness to not being a public persona. Twitter encourges this, having the latest hot take or some viral meme. The dopamine hits, it feels good, you get more likes, more followers, it makes you want to do more of the good thing and get liked.

But what it doesn’t do is build the communities we need to survive what comes next. Social Media is a brillant idea, but I think if we are to build the world we want to live in, it’s going to have to be used in a smarter, more restrictive way. A group chat with friends where you can bounce ideas off of people with a shared ethos is way more useful than having 10,000 followers on twitter. If you know me personally, You know I have many pipedream social networks. I think what comes next is using these technologies to emphasize locative space and shared values. General Purpose social media is bad for all of us. Smaller (even temporary) ways of communicating online I feel can help our isolation.

So I gave it up, I decided to “turn on, tune in, drop out” and permantly delete it. I spend less time on my phone, I don’t get wrapped up in situations that don’t concern my immediate life and I feel generally less stressed. Do I miss the relationships i built on there? Of course but if those individuals want to maintain a friendship, i prefer an active one rather than a passive one. I hope to use a little of this extra time developing the blog you’re reading now.

If any of this resonates with you, I challenge you to adjust your relationship to social media, take up a discord or a signal group with friends with shared values and ideas. See what comes out, it may suprise you what blooms from it.

Write a letter, go on a walk, plant a tree. We don’t have much time left, how are you going to spend it?

Readings I suggest: