Farewell to #Twitter: A Tsunami of #Twexits

Over 100 people have joined the #EduTooters list. I started the list because I wanted to keep track of my colleagues in #EduTwitter who have begun exiting. I fear that the vast majority of educators on Twitter don't have a clue about how to switch or migrate to Mastodon's floating cities in the vastness of the Internet.

Image Source: Esquire


Instead, they are waiting, waiting, waiting...it's like watching a tsunami drawback sucking the water out of from the beach, and seeing people stand there to watch the disaster happen, not realizing that in a few moments, a wave of terrific power will destroy what they value with devastating force.

Considering the value of connections is worth some reflection.

So someone just asked me, "When did social media get off track and become less about human connectivity?"

I'd say it was when metrics became emphasized above all else. Once metrics becomes all-encompassing, humanity becomes an abstraction. Because what does a metric like, "1,000 followers" mean anyway? And why is that valuable?

I don't know why it's valuable, but I know what it de-values: 1,000 humans.

Source: Chris Trottier (@atomicpoet@mastodon.social)via Amanda Finley Digs All Things

For me, 1K or 14K followers means access to a wealth of ideas, information, and content that satisfy my brain's cry, like the Short Circuit movie's robot demand, for "Input!" That's important to me because I am a blogger and old information isn't all that interesting.

I haven't ever hesitated to have "deeper conversations" and/or share resources wherever I've been. I do know that people follow me because of what I share, but I follow them because I am always searching for something new to blog about...I enjoy finding rough-cut gems out there and then writing about them.

So, if I can do that on Mastodon, then Twitter doesn't matter. It's just another place to go scavenge for rough ideas/info that I can polish up. Does that make sense? I don't think any social media tool can provide enduring connections...that's what family and friends you can hug are for.

There are plenty of information sources, though. The real issue with Twitter isn't the devaluing of 1,000 humans. It's that we've entrusted it with all are hopes, dreams, and confidential information that should have been kept private. We gave it to people with whom we had a social contract, and now, that contract is being ripped apart. But then, perhaps, we never had a contract at all.

I could be wrong.

Houston, We Have a Problem

Every day, Twitter's leadership has a misstep, and it undermines trust. I don't have any at all in Elon Musk and his management of Twitter. He doesn't get a pass since he is handling precious information for millions of people, myself and my family among them. 

As an educator, I just want a stable platform...I don't want daily freak-outs and controversy. I already had that, along with the rest of the United States, with "President" Trump. Constant drama isn't worth it.

As a privacy advocate, I am concerned about what is happening. From my vantage point, this appeared:

Source: Toot from Max Kennerly

If you read it, you can see that Twitter Slack, Twitter's CISO, Chief Privacy Office, and Chief Compliance Officer all resigned their posts. What does that mean? Why would privacy professionals resign their jobs? Maybe they got a pay cut in their paycheck. Maybe, the new boss spoke to them funny. 

Or, more likely, they were asked to do something that went against their integrity, their sense of ethics. That's what happens when someone walks away and they don't even have a job lined up somewhere else.

And, as a result, they decided it was prudent to NOT wait until the tsunami wave came to clear it all away.

But Twexit isn't a life or death issue, is it?

Almost nothing has gone according to plan since Elon Musk took control over Twitter last month—and whether there even is a plan seems doubtful. Case in point: Musk's flagship idea, an $8 paid-verification scheme, kicked off Wednesday night and immediately spiraled into complete disaster. . . .

The current status quo is a confusing mess, with people who were already verified retaining their blue checks, and others—legit accounts and impersonators alike—buying their own badges. The only way to tell who’s who is by hovering over the verification badge, which reveals a pop-up explaining if the person paid for their badge or if they were organically verified by Twitter previously.

Source: Vice.com
Oops. It's not that bad. Let's wait and see.

Really, What's the Worst That Could Happen?

One of my colleagues summed it up this way in a public tweet:

Until it implodes. Are there any risks in staying that long? What's the worst that could happen? 

After all, a Twitter breach affecting 5.4 million people has already occurred. Can it really get worse than that?

When a person submits a publicly known email address or phone number to Twitter, the system tells this person what Twitter account the email or phone number is associated with. The attacker took advantage of this and created a list containing 5.4 million Twitter users with scraped publicly available details of the accounts, including whether the account was verified.

This is especially worrying for users who want to remain anonymous on the platform. It's a bit late now, but Twitter recommends anyone trying to stay anonymous should not tie a publicly known phone number or email to their Twitter account.

Source: Malware Bytes, July 2022

How do we know this is true?

What's the worst that could happen?
Your personal information will be viewed by people that may intend you harm because of what you post or share, whether in public tweets or "direct messages" that are not private.

Twitter has said that it will completely delete a user’s account upon their request, but it takes at least 30 days for that to happen. And your DMs may stay on Twitter’s servers for years even after you think you’ve deleted them. So you can go ahead and delete your account if you’re really worried, but there’s no guarantee that will delete some or all of your data, too. 

Source: Vox.com

Maybe, if you don't delete your Twitter account soon, it will be too late because bad people will exploit your data. And, to be honest, what has happened to me and my account? Only a slight increase in profiles portraying females following me...not the kind I want as an educator.


Time To Say Goodbye?

My long-time friend and colleague, Doug "Blue Skunk" Johnson has decided to leave. He writes in Who gives a Tweet? Not me anymore:

My major concern about the platform has always been how it discourages rational, nuanced discussions of important issues. To me, it seems as though we are trying to persuade others by shouting bumper sticker slogans back and forth....

Elon Musk's purchase and seemingly erratic control over the platform is the primary motivation for abandoning ship. It looks that by calling himself a “free speech” advocate, he will do little to control the spread of disinformation, racism, calls for violence, hate speech, and the radicalization of politics. 

While I too believe in free speech (my library school professors beat this into me), I also know free speech must be accompanied by responsibility and understanding of the harm speech may cause to others.

If Elon’s revenue is based on the number of users on Twitter, my absence will make but a microscopic difference to this billionaire. But it is what I can do.

A man of principle and integrity. I'm tempted to follow his lead. But wait, I have 14,000 followers (ok, it just dropped to 13.9K followers, but what's a .1?). 

Should I delete my Twitter account? I already have Semiphemeral cleaning out old tweets and DMs (don't worry, Musk won't mine any secrets about you from my DMs).

What Happens Next?

I've already moved to the Fediverse, joining the Mastodon instance, hcommons.social. Educators might find Mastodon.education a worthwhile alternative, or qoto or one of the many other servers available.

Get going and join Mastodon. It's different there. While it will take a few days to acclimate, a little more work, you can get started with a vibrant community of education folks following the #EduTooter hashtag and view the Google Sheet.

I've even put a few tips and tootorials together for you.

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


doug0077 said…
Miguel, I am always flattered to be quoted by you, a man whom I deeply respect. Thank you. You post got me to thinking about how active professionals like yourself and retiried old farts like me may use these networking platforms differently. I see two types of users: socializers and influencers. I use "social" networking only to keep in contact with friends and relatives. But once upon a time, I wanted to influence others in my profession. Being an antique, I did this primarily through columns, articles, books, conference talks, etc. and never became very proficient at using social media (unless you count blogging) at trying to steer the profession in one direction or another. You, my friend, still should be guiding those in education and those making educational policy decisions using the best tools possible. Even Twitter.

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