Twitter cleaning

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Last Sunday I took a little time to consolidate my Twitters. I have two accounts, one mostly received updates from this site - @abouthalf and the other a “personal” account (@device55 - now defunct and private) which got most of my Instagram posts and my blog posts and whatnot.

This was silly. Why have two when I could have one? I don’t have an evil twin (that I know of) nor do I manage multiple brands. I don’t need two accounts.

I chose to sun-down my “primary” @device55 account. The username is terrible. I picked “device55” as an email handle a million years ago. That became a user name on Twitter and other places. But it’s terrible. If you have a username with a number in it you are either not very creative or you are late to the platform and your name was sniped.

Going forward, all of my Twittering will occur on my now-primary @abouthalf account. It’s a better username, it matches my website, and I can start fresh.

I took the opportunity to clean out all the junk accounts I didn’t need to follow. I stripped down everything to real people I really know, a couple of artists, and actually useful things like my local news.

I copied my following list over to my @abouthalf account, cleaned up my profile a bit, and it’s my new Twitter home. To discourage use of my old handle, I’ve made that account private, and left a tweet pinned with instructions to find me.

I have mixed feelings about Twitter. In contrast, I love Instagram. I hate that it’s owned by Facebook, and I hate their auto-playing video ads. But I love the simplicity of the concept. Hey you. Look at this.

But Twitter is weird. Neither fish nor fowl. When someone needs to share something longer than 140 characters they resort to screen capturing a note and sharing the image. Or they do a horrible tweet thread - stringing together tens of tweets in a row trying to make a single complex point. The format can be terrible. It is good for posting links and pictures and quips. Since RSS is a dying form, it’s one of the major ways people subscribe to content they want to read on the internet. I think if you want to be read, it’s wise to have a Twitter account.

Twitter is a company with no spine or moral center. Twitter refuses to police its users and refuses to take any sort of moral stand against horrifying content. It’s an unquestionably useful and valuable platform, but it’s hard to reconcile its value with how terrible it can be. I am torn - do I enable something awful by using it, or do I perhaps by actively trying not to be terrible and contribute to terribleness? I hope it’s the former.

Michael Barrett

Tacoma, WA 98402