Jerry Seinfeld had a funny line on his show about how breaking up is like knocking over a coke machine:
That's how I feel about Twitter right now. Even though I swore off Twitter in January I've found myself back in the daily grind there. Despite uninstalling the app on my phone and hacking my hosts file, I still end up back. Twitter and I have had some great times over 11 years and five months! It's not easy to give that up. I found my current job via Twitter, I hear stories from people I would never have met, I keep up with friends, I get industry news, and there are always great jokes.
But Twitter also has a problem with toxic speech that they refuse to address. That is the dealbreaker for me. That's the poop in the pool. Here's a sampling of recent decisive leadership from Twitter:
- The Most Powerful Publishers in the World Don’t Give a Damn
- Inside Twitter’s Struggle Over What Gets Banned
- Twitter is reportedly launching a ‘charm offensive’ aimed at conservatives
I also found myself identifying with Matt's My own reasons for leaving Twitter. I too feel that addictive pull all. the. time.
So this movement to deactivate accounts on Friday is just the kick in the butt I need to remind myself to make conscious choices about the places I patronize.
I will genuinely miss the fun parts of Twitter but I don't want to be part of a platform that hosts hate speech. The US government tolerates hate speech because it places a high value on free speech. I understand the trade-off there but Twitter is not the US government. There are plenty of places to publish online. Twitter is more like the host of a big party. And if the host of the party doesn't kick out nazis when they show up it's time to knock over the coke machine for good. (I'm definitely mixing metaphors here but the point is that I don't feel comfortable spending time and attention there anymore.) Twitter, I know it's a cliché but: it's not me—it's you.