Why I’m leaving Twitter

Update: I’m back on Twitter now after realizing that walking away from things like this doesn’t make them better. So I’ll do what I can to raise the level of conversation and stand against things I see as wrong. And for what it’s worth, Twitter did seem to zap the account used to do the worst of the threatening against Wu. So maybe they’re not as culpable as I suspected.


Brianna Wu is the head of a small game development company. They make a cool iOS game called Revolution 60.

Tonight, she started getting death threats on Twitter from a sad little man who feels threatened by her very existence. But in this case, he tweeted her home address and stated that he was coming over with a large knife, intending violence to Brianna and her family.

Twitter did nothing.

When others tried to bring this to Twitter’s attention, those reports were automatically rejected. Brianna called the police and left her home, and I hope she’s safe.

But as long as Twitter allows this kind of assault (and yes, threatening violence is itself a crime, separate from battery) to go on, I can’t be a part of that community. It’s for the same reason that I left Reddit, and I haven’t returned there either. I’ll miss some of the people I got to know on Twitter, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

Will Twitter even notice my lack of participation? Of course not. But all I can do is take my time and attention elsewhere. Your time and attention is all Twitter has, and their entire business depends on keeping it. I’m taking mine away, and if enough people get fed up and do the same, maybe they’ll notice. Maybe they’ll change. Maybe Twitter will become a place where people can feel safe again.

But until that happens, I won’t be there. Anyone who wants to talk to me can do so the old fashioned way, by sending an email to jeff@kirv.in.

How I learned to stop tweetmarking and love the stock Twitter app

Federico Viticci dropped a bombshell on last week’s Connected podcast. He uses the Twitter app from Twitter, not Tweetbot or Twitterrific.

And so do I.

I realize this is sacrilege to many of you. The stock Twitter app is a ruined, sad descendent of Loren Brichter’s legendary Tweetie, you say. It’s chock full of ads, it doesn’t sync timelines, list support is hidden under the gear menu on your profile page. Those things are true. And if you obsessively read every single tweet in your timeline every single day, the default Twitter experience is not for you.

But.

As the boys on Connected pointed out, the ship may have already sailed. “Twitter Fabric” might kill third party Twitter apps as we know them. That would certainly explain why Tapbots still doesn’t have an iOS 7 version of the iPad version of Tweetbot now that we’re on iOS 8. Just not worth putting that much time and effort into a product someone else can kill with a press release.

But for the time being, third party Twitter apps aren’t dead. So why have I abandoned them?

Because life is too short to read every tweet, or every news article for that matter. Yes, I know all about Dunbar’s number, and I’m following less than 200 Twitter accounts. Many of those are news sources like Lifehacker and iMore. And with Twitter’s threaded conversations feature, I feel confident I can start at the top of my feed, read down until I either run out of time or see tweets I’ve already seen, and go about my business. Yes, tweet storms are more annoying this way, and frankly, I’m considering unfollowing a few people that habitually string one idea across several tweets. But for the most part, I keep up.

Anything I want to read later gets favorited, which IFTTT then dumps into Evernote (which has replaced bookmarking or read later services like Pocket and Pinboard for me), but I’ve noticed that with this more casual attitude towards my news, I actually pause and read articles inline much more often than I did with any RSS reader. It’s relaxing.

Am I missing things along the way? Almost certainly. But nothing essential. If a news story is that big, it will show up over and over in my feed (and sometimes even if it’s downright stupid, like “Bendghazi”). I’ve experienced surprisingly little FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and had a lot more time to do things that really matter, like writing or reading in iBooks.

Try it yourself for a week. You might be surprised how much time and anxiety you save.