Thoughts on Twitter, Musk, and Alternatives…

I have really really tried to mostly avoid discussing Twitter and Musk and everything that has happened over the past, year and a half to two years there. I do occasionally share news in the link blog posts, but even there, I mostly just avoid it. I am pretty outspoken about my dislike of Musk and Twitter on other forums but not on my own forums.

Watching this death spiral is really entertaining though.

And it is a death spiral. It may not actually result in the death of Twitter, god knows we won’t get that lucky, but it’s just increasingly looking shittier and shittier over there. I stopped using Twitter completely the day Musk took over. I deleted a bunch of random secondary meme accounts I had after that, and I did log in a few times to pull all my Tweet archive data. I want to, someday, maybe, write a Python Script that will parse through it all and compile it into a bunch of daily digests I can dump into a WordPress blog, for posterity. I also started running some Python scripts before the API was cut off to delete all my old Tweets from the site. As far as I know, I still have my @ handles, mostly kept to prevent them from getting scooped up by spammers and bots.

I am not sure though. I blocked Twitter shortly after I started using NextDNS (Referral Link) everywhere. I can’t even check on my own accounts without a bunch of extra steps anymore. At this point, I really don’t care. I am not going back ever so long as Musk is even remotely connected to the service and I doubt he ever gives it up. I do keep watch from the sidelines. I see mentions of large businesses or politicians or news outlets moving permanently to Threads. I see people talking about how blue-checked bots are topping all the replies. I see complaints about all the crypto scams and weed gummies being advertised. I see it, and I quietly laugh to myself. Because all of this happening was clearly going to be the outcome of a big winey racist narcissist forcibly taking things over.

I’m not entirely convinced this wasn’t the intended outcome honestly. People like Musk, with their “free speech advocacy”, generally dislike actual open discussion and speech. They dislike when people can talk openly to each other and let ideas swell and become reality while smashing down stupid racist bull shit and conspiracy lies.

Fun fact, you can post a tweet with phrases like “Transwomen aren’t women” but if you post about “CIS people” you get flagged for using a slur.

Probably the first and biggest stupidity was the new pay-to-play blue check system that was implemented pretty early on. Blue Checks were originally issued as a way to verify people and companies were actually who they were. Someone at Twitter would do due diligence to make sure @McDonalds was actually run by the popular restaurant chain. This also meant not allowing blue checks for “@MacDonalds” or “”@McD0nalds” or various other typo-style fake accounts. It meant something. Early on, this was changed so Blue Checks just meant you had a paid subscription. Anyone could get a blue check. It also showed that you were supporting the racist jackass and his company, so a lot of previously verified celebrity types, refused to pay. Some were given checks anyway, which also upset these companies and people since it of course, implies support. It’s essentially a false endorsement.

As more advertisers fled the platform as it became increasingly filled with assholes and bots and scams, the Blue Check system has just been pushed more and more in a desperate attempt to make up for lost ad revenue. The irony being that even if EVERYONE signed up, it’s not where neat what advertisers were paying. The latest stupidity is that they now require new users to pay in to start posting. It’s pushed as a way to “deter bots”. Twitter doesn’t seem to understand just how cheap $8/month/account is for priority visibility for scams. One might wonder if it’s still worthwhile if so many are jumping ship, but it’s like those scam emails full of spelling errors. The scammers do this to weed out the intelligent users so only the choices of marks remain. Twitter is doing a GREAT job of weeding out the intelligence from its system leaving nothing but easy marks for these scammers.

I almost would feel bad for these people if they weren’t mostly the same people pushing all the hate-filled stupidity on the world in politics during the past decade. But that’s probably left to another discussion, if ever.

The really funny part is how this isn’t even the first time this has happened to a microblog service centered around “Free speech”. Gab, Truth, Parlor, and others I am sure I’ve forgotten are all basically complete failures after they failed to take off and get any real traction after being filled with right-wing extremists which at best just drives away any legitimate advertisers. Truth recently pushed a scam IPO as a way to grift money for Trump’s lawsuits which is failing pretty spectacularly.

Because of course it is. It was a grift to funnel money in a “legitimate” manner, and now it’s just a bunch of bag holders getting fucked over.


I have not really quite settled on a good alternative to Twitter yet. I’m not entirely sure I really NEED one. I wasn’t using Twitter a lot before the fall, though I had used it since 2006 when it was very very new. The alternatives all have their own sort of pitfalls.

Threads seems to be the most active. It’s run by Facebook and is technically a spin-off of Instagram. I kind of like Threads, because it’s full of people posting Toy photos. Basically, everything I used to like about Instagram, before it became TikTok but with ads every 3 posts, is Threads. I don’t super like that it’s a Facebook property. I also hate how the timeline feels really really algorithm-driven.

BlueSky feels the most like “old Twitter”. and I don’t mean “2021/2022 Twitter”, I mean like, “2007-2008 Twitter”. OLD old Twitter. But it’s also kind of dead as fuck. Even now that it’s open to anyone without the need for invites, it feels a bit deserted.

Mastodon is probably my favorite. People claim it’s “hard to use” but it really isn’t. The real technical hurdles on Mastodon kind of stem from servers and admins who tend to be a little… eccentric, for lack of a better thing to call them. There are admins who will ban entire other instances because ONE user on that other instance says something that is kind of maybe offensive to … somebody. Or heck, even blatantly offensive to everyone. But the whole server gets banned over one person. Which feels a bit shitty, especially since there also feels like a lot of mindset that “once banned, it’s banned forever.”

The federation also had some weirdness. Sometimes I get a new follower, so I go and check them out to see if I want to follow back, but in the app, they LOOK like they have a blank profile. But if I open their profile in a web browser, it’s complete and they have posts. So there is clearly some weird syncing issue there. I’m not familiar enough with how the federation works to know the details, but from what I have gleaned from other discussions, it’s something like that. Or maybe that server is banned for some reason.

It’s also kind of clunky to re-toot something, from that something. If I link to a Toot, and you want to re-toot it, from what I can tell, you need to cut and paste the URL and do a search to find it from your own server. Or do a weird login jaunt from the local server. And it’s all very doable, but it’s cludgy as fuck.

Anyway, I kind of post to all three, sometimes I post the same thing to all three, sometimes I kind of segment it out depending on “audience”. Not that I really have an audience. My pseudo plan is to mostly use Threads for Toy stuff, and BlueSky or Mastodon for everything else. I’m not entirely sure yet. There also aren’t really easy tools to post things like, blog posts, automatically to Threads or BlueSky. This was a factor that always felt like part of why Google Plus failed.

Twitter Drama and Mastodon

What a completely non eventful roller coaster the latest Twitter Drama is shaping up to be. I suppose it’s somewhat in the “early stages” and a lot of people, including myself, may be acting a bit over dramatic, but I don’t think Elon Musk buying Twitter will be anything good long term.

Twitter isn’t, wasn’t, whatvern’t that great. It was ok, personally, I’ve been kind of struggling to care about Twitter as a platform for a while. It’s probably just some sort of burn out, I’ve been there since essentially the beginning, in 2006. Back when good ol’ Leo Laporte was the number one most followed user, until Kevin Rose was. Then Leo again, it was sort of a competition. Those whopping follow counts were in the thousands as well back then. Twitter is definitely much larger and much more since then. And I find it hard to keep up with anymore.

I’ve tried using lists, but for some reason Twitter only lets you easily pin 5 lists. How useless is that? I have dozens of lists. Politics lists, tech lists, toys lists, music lists, transformers lists, also split across several sub lists, like “Toys – News,” and “Toys – Bloggers”, “Tech – News,” or “Tech – Cybersecurity”. Segmentation of content makes it much easier to follow and be in the right mindset for each topic.

Over time, it also became sort of a crazy place for politics and the spread of misinformation campaigns promoted by trolls and bots. These are the classic style trolls of the days of Ye Olde Usenet, where one person might be harassing another over something the latter was taking a bit too seriously. These are weaponized trolls pushed by people wish absolutely awful agendas against large groups of people. This was bad during the Obama Era of the US but made absolutely worse during the Trump Era.

It’s not entirely just a Trump thing, or a US thing, there is idiocy going on all around the world, but I’m still going to use the US as a frame of reference, since I am in the US. It’s also a problem across many Social Platforms. Lately there have been a lot of actual efforts to stem the spread of lies and stupidity on a lot of platforms, Twitter included. This is where we end up with more rift and part of Musk’s stated reasoning for pissing away billions of dollars on a platform that isn’t worth anywhere near that.

Free Speech.

Which is the real crux of the issue. Some are trying to confuse it with the idea that people angry over this don’t like that Musk is a Billionaire. How it’s hypocritical because Bezos bought the Washington post. The problem isn’t that Musk is a billionaire, it’s that he’s kind of a jackass. And he wants to open the platform back up to let other jackasses be jackasses. “Free Speech” isn’t at all about free speech to these people it’s about freedom to be an asshole. This is why people are upset. They are tired of people spreading lies and idiocy then just screaming people down when they are called out on it.

It was getting better.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of all this. I don’t think it’s going to be anything good. For one, every discussion about Musk buying Twitter on Reddit, seems to end up locked. Because just discussing the issue, people can’t keep civilized. There have also been a LOT of “Free Speech” platforms pop up over the past several years, and basically every single one failed. Some still limp along, but they all devolve into a bunch of jackasses calling for violence and spouting endless hate speech. They get kicked off their hosting platforms for violating TOS, sometimes the creators realize what a mess they unleashed and close things down themselves, sometimes they just fall apart because they can’t create any real way to financially support the platform.

Twitter may be big enough to survive for a while, but that’s not even real clear. It’s still one of the smallest social platforms in terms of users at around 350million. For comparison, Facebook and TikTok have Billions, with an s. Basically a measurable 25% of the entire world’s population. There is a greater than good chance that at least half of Twitter’s users are bot accounts, either actual scripted agent bots or sweat shop people in 3rd world countries clicking retweet buttons “bots”. Add this in with a lot of people leaving Twitter in disgust, and it will be interesting to see what the user base is in a month or two.

So what’s the alternative? A lot of people are pushing and moving to Mastodon. Mastodon isn’t quite the same as Twitter but it’s very similar, especially to old Twitter. For starters, it’s Federated, which means, anyone can host a Mastodon server (called Instances), and it can connect to other Mastodon Instances. This means there are many Instances themed around specific topics. It also means that if an Instance becomes full of idiots, then it can easily be blocked by other Instances.

This is not my first attempt at Mastodon either. I’ve used it off and on for a while and even ran a script for a long time that would sync my Twitter and Mastodon profiles, creating an illusion of activity. Now I’m trying to use it full time though. I have wanted to make it work for a while anyway, now, with all of the attention it’s getting, seems like as good of a time as any. I guess maybe it might be best to just treat it more like the “Classic Twitter” days, and just toss stuff out into the Ether and see if anyone reacts.

Currently I’m on the core, though I may look into moving elsewhere, but if you want to give me a follow, you can find me <a rel=”me” href=”“>Here</a>.