Over the past year, I was experimenting with X.
I joined about the time when Elon bought it. Almost to the day, actually. I hated Twitter before and actively avoided it, but I really did appreciate what Elon was trying to do with it, at least according to his stated goals. And, it really was a ride.
Immediately, I started getting regaled with right-wing grifters and I found it to be really toxic, honestly. I had to do a lot of muting and learned to stifle my first impulse, which was to lay verbal smackdowns on idiots. That took me a while, but I learned to use the mute and block buttons pretty liberally, and that worked out. Eventually I got my timeline down to something I could work with – at least when Elon wasn’t screwing around with the algorithm.
And I found that the Japanese people on Twitter are actually really active, and really love hamsters. I found out why later, it has something to do with a cartoon/anime called “hamtaro”, but they post their hamsters doing funny and silly stuff and it was absolutely the best thing ever in the world. I started reposting, and reposting with cute captions (I actually had a whole hamster lore I used when writing those little mini-stories, it was really fun). I also learned through that (and I learned it before, but it really hit home for me) that Japanese people are like everyone else – and not all of them are nice.
Which I suppose was an actually valuable lesson.
I tried posting in Japanese, too, but stopped for two reasons. The first is that my Japanese still needs some work and I felt like I was jumping into the deep and. The second was that the twitter/X algorithm actively punishes people for posting in a language that is not the one that their UI is set to.
I made a few friends there, but for the most part, I just couldn’t break out. This was frustrating and disheartening, but it’s not why I left.
I left because the platform itself screwed me, twice.
One night I found myself suspended. They didn’t give me a reason and I couldn’t figure out why, and a couple of days later they reinstated me and said it was because I got caught up in an automated spam filter.
Then a week later, it happened again. But this time their support told me I had actually broken rules, and they wouldn’t be lifting my suspension. A few days later, after a second appeal, they lifted it, siting the same “automated spam filter” excuse again.
After I got all my data, I deactivated my account.
Put simply, I just couldn’t trust them anymore. The platform itself was unreliable, and I wanted to leave while I was still in “good standing”. So, I did.
I didn’t realize what kind of a time sink it was, and how really not valuable it was to me, until I left it. I may yet reactivate my account, but if I do, I’m going to use it entirely differently, and I’m done with it as a social or writing outlet. It’s a town square, yes, but it’s too much like a million people screaming at the top of their lungs, and it’s just really of no use to my ultimate goals at this point.
That’s the story of how I joined and left X, and why.
I think X is still the best social media platform out there, which is truthfully damning with faint praise, because all the others are so much worse. If not X, nothing. And since not X, nothing. So much the worse. I guess I’ll just keep working on my own blogs. Stay tuned for that, btw. I have projects in the works.
For the record, I believe Elon is sincere. I believe what he’s trying to do is exactly what he said he’s trying to do. I also believe he’s pretty gullible for a guy of his stature, and has surrounded himself with people who are not acting in his best interests. Much like Trump did. When you get to be that high profile, you have to be very careful who you trust, and I don’t think he really is.
So much the worse.