This is the english version of the french article Au revoir Twitter
That’s it. I’ve decided to quit Twitter. Let me stop you right there, this is not a decision taken on a whim, because Elon Musk finally « set the bird free »1. But the concretisation of a reflection that lasted more than a year, and materialised in the setting up six months ago of a strategy aiming at progressively reducing my dependence.
I’ve already explained the reasons for my departure in the two previous articles cited above, and they haven’t changed. The completion of Musk’s purchase of Twitter acts as a spark, the straw that breaks the camel’s back, or simply as an excuse. Choose whichever you prefer. It doesn’t matter, because symbols, I believe, matter. It is also a political gesture, against yet another escalation in the privatisation of the digital public space. Finally, it is an opportunity to crack the wall of the network effect again2, to create an opening towards more friendly, decentralised and democratic digital alternatives. Like Mastodon and other Fediverse software.
Even though I never loved Twitter, leaving it is not an easy or trivial choice. I’ll quickly outline the reasons why. Then I’ll share with you the many more arguments that convince me it’s the right thing to do.
Why is it so difficult?
It’s not trivial for me to leave a social network like Twitter. It’s even a really difficult choice. But why?
First of all, as a freelancer, Twitter is a significant visibility surface to find new partners and clients. Even if it must be said that it is very difficult to measure the real return on investment of this platform. Unless you have marketing tools. Is it worth it? No. That’s it.
Secondly, as a content creator, Twitter is the 3rd source of visits to my site. That’s nearly 10% of the total over the course of a year. It’s not hegemonic, but not nothing either.
Finally, as a citizen and activist, Twitter is theoretically a space for open discussion, where it is possible to meet other opinions, other convictions, and to get out of one’s shell. Today, I am personally convinced that this promise is largely untrue.
Several ways to « leave » Twitter
I asked my acquaintances what they thought of two options for me to get out of Twitter.
The first would be to close my account, once and for all. The second, more gentle, would be to turn my account into a « bot » that would automatically share my watch and my articles.
Out of about forty votes, the preference was clearly to perpetuate my account as a bot for sharing monitoring and articles. Thank you for this recognition of my work. It is gratifying to know that it is useful to some⋅e⋅s (especially since it is unpaid).
However, after turning the two options on their head, I came to the conclusion that it was time to choose sides. That I couldn’t stay on Twitter and denounce it at the same time. Encouraging people to switch to Mastodon, while giving them no reason to do so by my very presence on Twitter.
Time to choose sides
So I chose. To be consistent, first of all, and to leave a toxic social network3 to replace it with a more ethical, friendly, open, albeit imperfect alternative. It exists, it is Mastodon. To truly break the network effect that benefits Twitter today and chains us to it against all logic, this new network must become increasingly attractive compared to the old one. This means that the number of users must increase, but also that it must be exclusive. Until the switchover.
Some may retort that you have to be present on Twitter, precisely to convince the unconvinced, to seek out debate, not to end up in the middle of the pack. I disagree with these arguments. First of all, I deeply believe that not many people are convinced on a social network like Twitter. It is simply not designed for that. The character limits, the nature of the retweet and like functions, the algorithm, and so on. Everything is done to viralise the clash rather than to value the constructive and peaceful exchange. It’s not going to get any better, and it could get worse.
As for the « entre-soi » argument, it does not seem to me to be acceptable either. Communal, political or affinity intermingling has always existed in the physical public space. Believing that digital platforms can create spaces in which different communities intermingle harmoniously is a sweet dream that I think we need to wake up to. Even within Twitter, each community constitutes an inter-self (journalists, environmentalists, geeks, teachers, etc.). Those who do break out are very rare, and often radical activists or trolls on a mission.
I’m pretty proud of the fact that I managed to get most of my friends and all of my family on Signal. You know how I did it? I simply quit Whatsapp, and emotionally blackmailed my family and friends. It worked. So I’m trying again with Twitter. Follow me [via my RSS feed, my newsletter, on Mastodon, etc.]!
I will therefore gradually close my Twitter account. From now on, this account will become a bot for sharing my watch and articles. On December 31, 2022 (good resolution 2023), my account will be permanently deleted.
To continue to follow me, you have several options that I gather in a dedicated page [In French]:
- Via my RSS feeds [English] : https://louisderrac.com/en/feed
- Via my newsletter [In French]: 1 email per month max, with news of my projects, monitoring and my latest articles (example)
- Via my Mastodon account [English and French]. This will be the last
of the mohicansof my social networks.
I am aware that these ways of following me require an extra effort. I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t think it was worth it. We need to create more complex links than on social networks where a follow or an RT is enough. We deserve better than infomediation through opaque algorithms.
You don’t need to follow me to contact me, and come back to this site from time to time. So you can check in and read articles, search resources, browse, explore. That’s what the web is all about.
Thank you very much indeed! Looking forward to following each other and connecting on digital platforms that respect us. Goodbye in [Belgium] music 🎵 🎶
Some inspirational articles
If you too are leaving Twitter and have written about it, I can post you here 😉
- Bye Bye Twitter – so long, and thanks for all the fish !
- La légèreté d’un monde sans Twitter
- Twitter, Mastodon ? Quel choix de réseau social aujourd’hui ?
- Goodbye Twitter: all in on the Fediverse
- Why I deleted my Twitter, and why maybe you should too
- How to Leave Dying Social Media Platforms
- Syndicating Posts from Your Personal Website to Twitter and Mastodon
- Arrêtez de me suivre sur les réseaux sociaux
This article was automatically translated using Deepl (due to time constraints, mainly). If you check a typo or something weird, please contact me or write a comment. Thank you so much!
Notes de bas de page
- At the end of a never-ending saga, by the way.
- Understanding the network effect
- By its economic model, its design, its ideology