Free At Last

By now I presume you have read my Infodrugs post where I recently decided to take a Twitter holiday. This has now progressed a step further, with me taking steps to terminate my Twitter account entirely.

3 years, 77,135 tweets, 1,437 followers, 1 fiancee #jethrotwitterstats

Twitter has been the scene for many moments of awesome moments, finding love, making friends, whilst at the same time being a place for frustrating debates, loss of privacy and extreme information addiction.

In the week that I’ve been off Twitter on my self-imposed “holiday”, I’ve been more productive and more relaxed than I have been for years, I’m finding time to write blog posts, read more detailed articles and content, hack code and just relax and enjoy living life as it comes.  I’m essentially getting a gift of large amounts of time and I intent to invest this time wisely in pursuit of better goals than I have in the past.

There’s many reasons to terminate my account, some I have touched on previously in much older postings ie The value of a tweet?, others I covered more recently in Infodrugs, however a good summary is:

  • Twitter being a centralized, proprietary network controlled by a single company, offering not only a single point of failure, but also a single target for government censorship, regulation and data mining.
  • Loss of privacy. The irony here is, we cause ourselves to lose our own privacy by publishing excessive information and then complain when it’s used against us. There is an excellent article about a journalist talking with Eben Moglen about the problem of social networking privacy, where he accuses the journalist of causing the exact problem he is trying to understand. And he’s right.
  • Mainstreaming. Twitter is a victim of it’s own success, with increased popularity it’s highly likely that customers, employers, recruiters, ex-lovers and random creepy people will end up following every word you say. Whilst Twitter has always been somewhat open, historically one felt part of a smaller private community. This has been replaced with the equivalent of walking around the main street in town with a megaphone, telling everyone anything and everything.
  • Commercialism. So sick of companies trying to use me in their social media strategy, automatically searching for tweets and responding with unhelpful incorrect messages when all I want todo is share frustrations with friends, not justify myself to some marketdroid.
  • Unpleasant People. Life is too short to spend any more time reading anything from certain people, in some ways, one advantage of Twiter is the fact that it helps one learn who the crazy unstable individuals are much more quickly than IRL. Pity more people don’t call them on their shit instead of staying silent. I guess that’s my mistake, which leads me to the next point –
  • Arguments, oh I’ve started my fair share at times, but I am *so* tired of them. Everything is an argument with some people. Maybe I’d just like to enjoy my fucking coffee whilst complaining about some bigoted conservative political party without you telling me how I went to a crap coffee place and voted wrong.
  • Addiction. Twitter is so, so addictive, I was checking for new tweets if I woke up in the middle of the night, everytime I was walking somewhere constantly, through dinners and social events and more. I need to stop and enjoy life more.

Despite these issues, I will be sad to leave – After all, there is of course are reasons that brought me to Twitter in the first place and it will be hard to go without them.

  • Twitter is fantastic when single. Just saying. ;-)
  • Meeting some amazing people around the world and becoming good friends with a number of them. I even met my (currently) fiancee on Twitter and started our relationship up online.
  • Getting great tips and news from the community, rather than mainstream sources – Twitter is *fantastic* as an almost-instant live report on any issues taking place.
  • Detailed technical computing discussions with people from a range of areas of the industry I wouldn’t normally talk with, hell even Microsoft employees.

Overall I’m positive that this is the right move and I’m looking forwards to new goals and objectives, but there’s always going to be that bit of sadness too.

I’ll miss a lot of my Twitter friends, but at the same time this doesn’t need to be the end – email me and add me to IM/XMPP to keep in touch, and of course, add this blog to your RSS reader!

I will be maintaining the @jethrocarr account with a new placeholder to keep my name reserved and I may end up setting up an automated feed from my blog there, although RSS is always the best way to get updates.

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8 Responses to Free At Last

  1. Mikey Avoc says:

    I honestly never thought I’d see the day! Good luck with your new life! See you on IM and hopefully IRL soon.

  2. Kyhwana says:

    Hmm, have you looked at diaspora?

    • Jethro Carr says:

      I looked at it, but it’s the same fundamental issues, just a different packaging IMHO. It’s the reason why I’m not moving to status.net/identica or some other platform, the issue isn’t the platform as much as it is the social environment that builds up.

  3. Tom says:

    I’ll be sad to see you go, it’s been great to know you, now I have all the more reason to meet you in person.

    • Jethro Carr says:

      Same here – let me know if you’re ever up in Auckland or Wellington as I’d love to catch up. :-) Or maybe I’ll end up coming south for a trip at some stage. :-)

  4. I totally get it! Well aside from the technical IT stuff :)

    I have been considering cutting down on Twitter and living my life face-to-face rather than online.

    I will miss you, but no doubt will get to see you and Lisa as you now live in the same city. Have made sure I have your blog added to my reader.

    :)

    xxx

    Ness

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