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Social Media Is Bloat

26 April 2020

About ten years ago, I wrote one of my first blog posts about Facebook and how I found it annoying and more or less dreadful. I deleted it way back then and never looked back.

I joined Twitter somewhere around 2011 and used it regularly up until the other week when I deleted it, too.

Twitter is a different animal than Facebook, and with the help of a third-party Mac and iOS app called Tweetbot, I was able to tolerate Twitter for a long time. Tweetbot is a fantastic app, and by far, the very best Twitter app for any platform hands down. The way Tweetbot displays and allows you to leverage Twitter's functionality is how Twitter should be by default.

But over the years, Twitter has neutered third-party apps functionality via API and crazy pricing. But Tweetbot absorbed these hits and kept on going but with less functionality.

Things started to change for me regarding Twitter not because of Tweetbot, but because of my change in tech lifestyle. Last year I left Apple behind and turned to Linux full time and changed from an iPhone to a Pixel phone. Switching phones has saved me a lot of money not only on the device but on the monthly phone service bill.

I had AT&T for the whole time I had the iPhone, which was from the very first iPhone. When I switched to the Pixel phone, I dumped AT&T in favor of Google Fi. Instead of paying AT&T somewhere around $70 per month, I now only pay about $26 per month. Huge savings to be sure.

Anyway, since I left Apple and the iPhone, I haven't used Tweetbot nearly as much. I still have an iPad, but I leave that at home and pick it up, maybe once or twice a day. So that meant that I'd use the Twitter website more often. What a disaster of a train wreck that is. I loathe the way tweets are not in chronological order. I hate interspersed ads. I don't care for seeing the trending crap on the sidebar, and I certainly hate the tracking behind the scenes on the web page. You don't have any of that with Tweetbot.

Then with this whole pandemic thing going on, visiting the Twitter website became even more awful and depressing. That's when I decided that it was time to delete the platform from my life, and that's what I did.

Around the time I went to Linux full time, I opened a Mastodon account. Mastodon is very similar to Twitter, but far less evil from a company aspect. But in the end, it's still social media. I didn't get very vested in Mastodon and debated on keeping it or deleting it too. I decided to remove it last week as well.

I am sick of all social media in general. I much prefer blogs/phlogs of people I like and who write exciting or educational content. Admittedly, it's a small following of people I choose, but at least it's all top quality content.

Being on Gopher is terrific, and I love it so much. I get to read other's thoughts on anything in, more or less, long-form, with no ads, no stupid (however funny) meme pictures, and trending hashtags. Gopher isn't a popularity contest for likes and followers. Gopher just is.

I've decided that social media is bloat. I don't, and seldom did, care about what someone ate for dinner, what they're going to see at the movies, or what their political rants were. Don't care, and I don't have time for it.

Bloat is bad.

I'm still an active member of MacRumors forums and a few IRC channels and have no intention of leaving those platforms. Discussion forums and IRC are far from social media and, in my view, more open to better discussion and thoughtfulness. Not everyone on there is that way, but there are a good number of fantastic people that are great to chat up.