The waning reach of Twitter

5th Sep '233 of your Earth minutes

I'm really frustrated with Twitter lately...

I have developed an unhealthy reliance upon Twitter

When I'm not on it, I'm thinking about it. When my phone is in my hand, my thumbs default to Twitter

I've been thinking about this for a while now and yesterday when on the train back to London I realised just how bad it'sā€¦

— Simon (@simonhamp) August 22, 2023

I really tried to like the thing it was becoming, but all the signs are now clear that you have to fight hard to make it worthwhile. The content I see is not engaging to me - more and more it's baity statements made by folks desperately trying to game the system and goose their engagement.

And that's even with me religiously using the 'Following' tab; I detest the 'For me' tab... almost nothing in there is actually for me.

So I'm shocked to report that I see much less content from the people I actually follow. It feels like it's dying (at least for me) as my timeline is no longer filled with interesting snippets and rabbit holes for me to go down.

I've heavily curated my follows and maybe these people now just post very little on Twitter. Perhaps the same has happened to them?

Worse, my gut says that the 'new' Twitter is actively hiding tweets that I would otherwise engage with to try to drive me towards their algorithmic timeline in the hopes of getting a different fix and thereby seeing more of what they want me to see.

Or to pay for engagement. I did pay - I'll freely admit it - I ended up paying for my Twitter account. I got so much value out of the Twitter of the past that it was worth it to me if that could continue. But it didn't.

The result is that it's somehow managed to hook me into spending more and more time on it. It's like I've been suffering from some horrible sunk cost fallacy. I've been sucked into the algorithm's vortex. And it's really not done any favours for my mental health (see the tweet above for the details).


I think the fight is over. I can't make Twitter change back. I don't even want to.

I don't have the will that's required to keep on feeding the algorithm, especially not when there's little reciprocation and the results are meagre and intangible at best.

What I find most frustrating about it is that I have spent years on there cultivating an audience.

I never did it for the likes or the views or whatever metric you might wish was a true replacement for real engagement... I did it for the conversations and to find friends, other software engineers I could learn from and with whom I could share the enjoyment of building software!

And for a long time I did make so many great connections off the back of tweets I made or tweets I replied to.

Folks used to reply to tweets. They used to get excited about what was being shared. The conversation used to go on and on.

This just doesn't seem to happen any more.

Of course, I'd like to think that what I post still carries some interest with the folks who follow me, but maybe what I'm posting now can't hold a candle up to what I posted before?

Or maybe Elno's ghost ship has birthed an algorithm that is just gaslighting me into believing that?


Honestly, I will still post there from time to time, if only for old times' sake.

But I suspect the same will eventually happen as has happened to Facebook: it has fallen so far out of my field of view to have lost its hook-y-ness and I simply never look at it.

I'm increasingly of the mind that I should just post on my blog.

It's arguably easier for me, a faster experience for visitors, more open (you don't need an account) and far more flexible in the kind of content I can share and the format I use to share it.

And of course, I'll likely spend far less time on it.

#notadesigner • #sometimesitworks

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