Elmord's Magic Valley

Software, lingüística e rock'n'roll. Sometimes in English.

Some thoughts on Twitter and Mastodon

2017-06-25 01:32 -0300. Tags: comp, web, privacy, freedom, life, mind, in-english

Since the last post I've been using Mastodon as my primary microblogging platform for posting, but I was still regularly reading and retweeting stuff on Twitter. A while ago Twitter started reordering tweets in my timeline despite my having disabled that option, just as I said could eventually happen (except much earlier than I expected). The option is still there and is still disabled, it's just being ignored.

Twitter brought me much rejoicing during the years I used it. I follow a lot of cool people there and I've had lots of nice interactions there. I found myself asking if I should accept some abuse from Twitter to keep interacting with those people, and I've been shocked at myself for even asking myself that. I've been using Twitter less and less as of late. (I'd like to be able to say I did it out of principles, but to be completely truthful I find the non-chronological timeline utterly annoying, and that has had as much to do with my leaving as principles.)

Although I switched to Mastodon as my Twitter replacement, Mastodon is not really "another Twitter". Having 500 rather than 140 characters to write initially felt like learning to talk again. Early on when I started using Mastodon, I was going to reply to a person's toot (that's what posts are called in Mastodon) with a short, not-really-one-full-sentence line that is the norm in Twitter. I wrote it down and was like "no, this kind of grunting a half-thought is not going to cut it here". It felt like Twitter's 140 character limit not only limited the kinds of things you could say, but also imposed/favored a "140-character mindset" of not finishing lines of thought or thinking with much depth. As I went on using Mastodon, I found myself writing thoughts I wouldn't have even tried to write in Twitter.

I still open up Twitter once in a while. Today I opened the mobile version in my desktop browser and noticed that the mobile version still shows a chronological timeline, still doesn't pollute the timeline with liked-but-not-retweeted tweets, and is much faster and cleaner than the desktop version. (I still have to un-fix the navigation bar via CSS, but I already had to do that in the desktop version anyway.) It's tempting to start using Twitter again through the mobile version, while it doesn't catch up with the new "features". I know I shouldn't, though. Even if the mobile version never caught up with the misfeatures (I suppose it eventually will, probably in short time), Twitter has already shown they're willing to throw stuff down their users' throats in the name of – what? I'm not even sure. Maybe they want to make Twitter more Facebook-like to attract Facebook users, even if that means alienating the people who used Twitter exactly because it was not like Facebook?

The funny thing is Twitter could simply provide some options for users to control their experience ("(don't) show tweets liked by your followers", "(don't) show tweets you liked to your followers", "(don't) reorder tweets" (the last one is already there, it just doesn't work)). This way they could cater to whatever new audience they have in mind and keep the users who liked how Twitter used to work. They just don't care to. I'm not really sure what are the motivations and goals behind Twitter's actions. For a really long time before the last changes it had been showing the "you might like" box (even if you clicked the "show me less like this" option (the only way to dismiss it) every time) and the "you might like to follow" box (even if you dismissed that too, and even though it also showed undimissable follow suggestions on the right pane anyway). I used to open Twitter pretty much every day, so it didn't really make sense as a user retention strategy. Maybe they want to incentivize people to do specific things on Twitter, e.g., throw in more data about themselves? (Yeah, there was the "add your birthday to your profile" periodic thing too.)


Comentários (3)

Totally not Flammer, 2017-06-27 04:20:16 -0300 #

You have to adapt yourself to the new trends, man. That's the progress. Everyone that is not following must die.

Mas essa é a tua opinião, ele já tem outra, 2017-06-27 04:43:31 -0300 #

OK, now seriously, I think social media in general is crawling as much data as they can. Most people tend to think that all this data is not so important, whereas it really is. Also, it is kind of trend these information bubbles that, for me, seem to be a lot like censorship in so many ways. And yet, it is a constant question if we should allow this abuse or not, because nobody wants to be alienated, but keeping following this trend is exactly walking towards it. I really like the way you said that you got shocked asking yourself whether you should allow it or not. I really think things are getting out of control, information is getting more and more centralized, and it is like the companies are doing what they want to do, and not caring about their users. For different reasons (convenience, staying in touch with people, etc) users stay using their products, despite their lack of respect. And since they know people (majority) won't stop using, they will keep not caring at all and doing whatever they want. I'm honestly getting more and more annoyed/tired of this...

Real Donald Trump, 2017-07-20 19:22:05 -0300 #

The Social Media is taking control of our lives with a leash. We cannot tolerate this really bad social medias doing nasty covfefe. No More!

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