Today I said farewell to Twitter. This network is great in some ways but when it comes to making them make users follow their rules it’s not.
I’ve had a love affair with Twitter – it provided me with an opportunity to quickly post about what happened around me and even get things done. Despite the 140-character limit, or maybe thanks to it, Twitter had a better reach than blogs and a wider audience than Facebook. The relationship was built on the public premise of writing for anybody just like in a blog. No friends and privacy settings. I just wrote on the go when I stumbled across stuff.
At the time when I joined Twitter, it was popular among local authorities. The mayor made his subordinates join and react so that people received a tool to report and ask. It worked. I was sceptical and still is about the Twitterocracy, when the only way you can get the road paved, public transport come and rubbish taken away is by writing to bureaucrats on Twitter. But if it helps then why not use whatever we are given. The mayor left, though, and with him, Twitterocracy died – bureaucrats no longer had a stick over their heads that made them read and respond. But the love affair continued.
Social networks have some power of widening your reach. You can get new readers, fans and support in all corners of the world like you cannot do with the best of your blog writing. At least, you can do it quicker and better. But you can also find enemies and haters like never before. Lack of privacy and lack of control over who can respond to you comes at a cost. Some may never realize that in their blissful ignorance of writing about cats and flower arrangements. But guys like me – political, opinionated, non-conformists – are in a soup.
Of course, you can block users and never hear from them again. Trouble is times in my country are troublesome when it is best to know what is going on when and where it is going on rather than be left unaware of what is cooking. Besides, you never know who’s real and who’s fake. Chances are people are just hateful and jealous. But in today’s Russia, I wouldn’t take my chances on every freak.
There is support and the system of reporting accounts that violate the official rules. The thing is, this system doesn’t work. No matter how many times and how hard you try to tell them, it is all useless. Twitter prefers to ban parody accounts rather than accounts of haters, assaulters, gay bashers, spammers and offensive characters.
All right, I take it back on the latter – being offensive is subjective. But you cannot mistake abusive behaviour in forms of harassment, hateful conduct, inciting others to harass another account, or creating accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others. These are all definitions from Twitter Rules, by the way. And all these rules were violated.
But Twitter was unable to “determine a clear violation” of their own rules. Well, I take it that guys in San Francisco do not read foreign languages. But I sure hoped that such big companies employ foreign speakers in their international offices. After all, I am not speaking of some remote dying language. And the language I meant was full of hate in all forms. It was screaming of abuse aimed solely at me. Well, four years ago the account in question hated more people than me (including hate in terms that could be treated in court as dubious), then it fell dormant and now has awaken with the one and only target.
I don’t want to be a target of somebody’s hate and jealousy, somebody’s paid or volunteer abusive behaviour. At least, not on my time/newsline. Life is short and I am old enough to cherish some quiet rather than unnecessary screams.
So, being unable to make Twitter see a clear violation of their own rules I decided to leave. Three of four accounts are gone – I temporarily left only one where I gather links from news outlets on a narrow professional topic. Others are gone for good. I would rather part with almost 800 subscribers and several years of Twitter history than face constant abuse. By the way, gone are Twitter sharing buttons on my blogs – you can share manually only. I do not wish to promote the service that abused me by letting someone abuse the rules.
Farewell, blue bird. Let you chirp amongst your haters, your gay bashers, your freaks, and your abusers. I guess you are in good company when they say your financial prospects are bleak. No, I do not wish you the fate of MySpace or other ghosts from the past. I only wish you had followed your own rules. I know it is hard, but in this case, it was pretty straightforward. Anyway, now I do not care if you fly or get eaten by some fat cat – deal with your own shit yourself.
Oh yes, and fuck you! Right, I said it and my blog official rules do not prevent me from doing so.