Every few years, I change opinions on the use of a variety of online services – Google, Facebook, and Twitter among the leaders. I’ve done it all: moved email to ProtonMail, ran my own blog, changed my personal social network from Facebook to Reddit… you name it, I’ve tried it. Until yesterday, I was back on Gmail, followed the news on Twitter, and everything else that just inevitably happens because of the network effect.
Well, Twitter finally did it in for me. After months (or years) of exercising various tactics to de-emphasize the voice of groups that were not favorable to their business interests, such as shadow banning “unfavorable” personalities, removing tweets and banning medical experts that posted content that contradicted the “approved sources of information” for the COVID-19 pandemic, tagging or removing content that was disputed but not proven to be false, they finally broke the camel with the banning of a significant number of individuals with associations to the Republican Party, regardless of whether they advocated violence associated with the Capitol riots.
In response, I deactivated by Twitter account and have no intention of returning. I have removed all of my public content and over a half of my friends on Facebook, only maintaining my account so my wife has somewhere to link her posts about us. I am still considering eliminating my Reddit account as well, because they are not far behind the other platforms in terms of stifling open speech, but have not made a final decision yet.
Obviously, I don’t expect any Earth-shattering response to this decision. I am making this move primarily for my own sanity; generally, social media has become an echo chamber of outrage. Even the most well-intentioned, innocent posts are deluged with hateful attack comments that often have nothing to do with the content of the original post. This is the real tragedy that needs to be addressed by the social media platforms. But until it is, I need to distance myself from it.
It’s rare that I have something so profound that it needs to be shared on social media. But, in the event I do, it’ll be here instead and I will invite my circles of friends to read it here. Otherwise, here’s to a much needed break from the dumpster fire of social media.