My Twitter Archives

Thanks to this simple Twitter archiver, I’ve just added my Twitter archives to my website, and added a link under the “Worth Reading” header menu item (though whether or not they’re actually worth reading is debatable).

While I wasn’t one of the most prolific users out there, I had my share of silly, serious, inane, or thoughtful things to say over the years, and it would have been a shame for them to have entirely disappeared. So I’d downloaded my data before deleting it and locking down my account, and have had it sitting on my computer waiting to find the right way to get it online somewhere. Nice to have them visible again.

(I actually have them all also imported into this WordPress blog, but the tool I found to do that imported them all as their own specific post type intstead of adding them as standard posts, which means they’re not easily visible. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to either covert them to regular posts or incorporate this other post type into the rest of the blog. For now, though, they just sit in the database.)

Don’t ever stop talking to each other

This is a long rant by Cat Valente – and it’s really, really good. Though I’m quoting a particularly good bit from the end, it’s worth reading the whole thing.

Don’t ever stop talking to each other. It’s what the internet is really and truly for. Talk to each other and listen to each other. But don’t ever stop connecting. Be a prodigy of the new world. Stand up for the truth no matter how often they take our voices away and try to replace the idea of reality with fucking insane Lovecraftian shit. Don’t give up, don’t let them have this world. Love things. Love people. Love the small and the weird and the new.

Because that’s what fascists can’t do. They don’t love white people or straight people or silent women or binary enforced gender or forced birth or even really money. They want those things to be the only acceptable or even visible choices, but they don’t love them. They don’t even want to think about them. They want them to be automatically considered superior and universally mandated so they don’t have to think about them—or else what do you think the fury over other people wearing masks was ever about? The need to be right without thinking about it, and never have to see anything that wakens a spark of doubt in their own choices.

Obey, do not imagine, do not differ.

That’s nothing to do with love. Love is gentle, love is kind, remember? They need the attention being terrible brings them, but they don’t love it any more than a car loves gas. Sometimes I don’t even think they love themselves. Sometimes I’m pretty sure of it. They certainly never seem happy, even when they win. Musk doesn’t seem happy at all.

Geeks, though. Us weird geeks making communities in the ether? We love. We love so stupidly hard. We try to be happy. We get enthusiastic and devote ourselves to saving whales and trees and cancelled science fiction shows and each other. The energy we make in these spaces, the energy we make when we support and uplift and encourage and excite each other is something people like Musk can never understand or experience, which is why they keep smashing the windows in to try and get it, only to find the light they hungered for is already gone. Moved on, always a little beyond their reach.

Goodbye Twitter

I’d been debating it for a while, but as of tonight, I’m stepping away from Twitter.

Yesterday I downloaded my Twitter data archive (honestly, I have no idea how to process it or what to do with it, but at least I have it), and tonight, I’m using TweetDelete to wipe my Twitter history clean, and have updated my Twitter bio to point to my blog and my Mastodon account.

I’ll be keeping the account open, so that I can hold on to the djwudi username, as I’ve been using that handle consistently for decades, and I want to make sure it stays under my control. However, the account will stay dormant until I feel that Twitter has improved, or until it finally completely falls over, whichever comes first.

I joined Twitter in October of 2007, fifteen years ago, and posted somewhere over 23,000 tweets in that time — not nearly as many as some people, but not too shabby, either. And now, as Elon continues to run it into the ground and let the worst possible users run rampant, I finally hit the point where it’s just not worth continuing to either contribute content or preserve the content I’d contributed in the past. I also recognize the privilege I have in not depending on Twitter for any of the communities I’m part of.

It’s unfortunate…but here it is.

If Twitter Falls Over…

A friend on Facebook asked:

Leave Twitter or stay*?
If you’re leaving, where are you going?

My response:

For myself, I’ll likely keep my account active (deleting an account doesn’t remove it from being followed, and means that username is up for grabs, which means a bad actor/spammer could grab it and start showing up in the feeds of anyone who was still following that username), but I may start scaling back my usage (even more than I already have). There are still a lot of people on there that I value following, but if the ratio starts to change, so it goes.

My personal preference (at least in an ideal world) is for my own personal website. I own it, I can put what I want on it, and I’ve had a blog running there for more than 20 years now. How frequently I post to it varies depending on how much I’m sucked into Facebook or Twitter at any given time, but I’ve never let it totally die off, and maybe this will (once again) be impetus to start babbling there again.

Of course, the down side to personal blogs is that for “most people”, they’re not as visible — you have to either go to them, or have some form of RSS newsreader set up, which isn’t difficult, but if you don’t know about that as an option, it doesn’t do any good — because they’re not being algorithmically pushed into people’s faces, so you get fewer readers. And without “like” buttons or similar functionality (which I’ve not bothered to figure out how to do on mine), if the readers you do have don’t comment, then you don’t have the gratification of feedback. I’m well aware that this is one of the things that keeps sucking me back to Facebook: I can post the same thing here and on my blog, and I have no idea if anyone ever sees my blog, but here I’ll get reactions and comments.

I also have accounts on both Mastodon and Cohost, and will every so often check back in to see what’s going on there. As always, if more people I know use those more often, I’m more likely to participate more often.

Another attempt at revitalizing my blogging

For some time now, I’ve (mostly privately, sometimes “out loud” (which could mean either actually talking to people, or in online text ramblings)) been lamenting how rarely I’ve actually been posting to my blog. For the past years, various forms of social networking sites and applications — primarily Facebook and Twitter — have done a good job of monopolizing my online interactions.

It’s not all bad, really, as they’re great ways to keep in touch with friends, and I’m not making any sort of “quitting social media” declaration. But concentrating on those spaces has meant that this space, where I’ve been posting in one form or another for over two decades (seriously: my oldest “blog post” is dated December 29, 1995 and was posted back when I was still hand-coding; I have earlier posts entered into the blog, but they’re ports of old Usenet posts), hasn’t been getting much attention at all. And, as importantly, if not a bit more so, it means that virtually all of the writing and content creation I’ve done over these past years has been going to sites other than my own.

So going forward from here, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to make this blog the central, canonical repository of my online ramblings. I’ll still comment and get into discussions on Facebook and Twitter, but this is where all (well…most all…) content should appear first and will canonically reside, even as it’s mirrored elsewhere so that I’m not simply disappearing from those other spaces.

Here’s how I have things set up at the moment:

In brief (Twitter)

I’ve set up a account, which is tied to both this blog and my Twitter accounts (I heard about from a few places, including articles by Brent Simmons, Jean McDonald, and Charlie Sorrel). So now, when I have something quick and simple to say, it posts to my blog first as a post with no title, then picked up (via RSS) by and piped to Twitter and Facebook.

Look here (links)

When I find interesting links, I’m posting them to my pinboard account — this is something I’ve been doing (off and on) for some time now, I’m just trying to be better about doing it consistently. If I want a saved link to post to Twitter or Facebook quickly, I give it either the .twitter or .fb tag respectively, which are picked up by IFTTT and piped to the correct site. Otherwise, the (apparently abandoned, but still quite functional) Postalicious WordPress plugin occasionally catches any recent links I’ve saved and creates a digest-style post for my blog.

Rambling on (blog posts)

If I have something more in-depth to say — like, oh, a few paragraphs on how I’m trying to start blogging regularly again, and brief explanations of the tools and services I’m using to start doing that — then those posts get written (in Markdown format, using Ulysses on either my Mac, iPhone, or iPad) and posted here. Not long after they show up here, picks them up, creates a post that links back here, and then that goes to Twitter and Facebook.

It’s technically possible to just connect WordPress to Twitter and Facebook without using as a middle step, but is smarter about how it cross-posts than WordPress is alone. Without this step, every post would show up as a truncated excerpt and a link back to the blog; this way, that’s only the end result if a post is long enough to make that necessary, and shorter posts just appear to be “native” to whichever platform they’re seen on.

Will this system keep me going the way I hope it does? Only time will tell. But between Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica privacy mess and Twitter looking more and more like it’s going to be killing third-party clients soon, I’m hoping I have enough motivation to actually keep this going, rather than falling back into the ease and convenience of staying inside Facebook or Twitter’s ecosystems.

Linkdump for December 27th through January 8th

Sometime between December 27th and January 8th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • Why So Many Men Hate the Last Jedi But Can’t Agree on Why: SPOILERS: "I don’t think every human who disliked The Last Jedi is an evil, evil misogynist. I do think that we have so deeply internalized sexist narrative tropes that we see them as 'correct' and 'good filmmaking' while seeing their absence as 'flaws.'"
  • My Hero, Luke Skywalker: SPOILERS: “It is a beautiful fantasy and, I thought, a particularly resonant message for the anxious and depressed about what you can be capable of, the kind of peace you may be able to find if you dig down deep enough and push yourself emotionally.”
  • Stop reading what Facebook tells you to read: "Literally, all you need to do: Type in web addresses. Use autofill! Or even: Google the website you want to go to, and go to it. Then bookmark it. Then go back every now and again."
  • List: Alternatives to Platonic Love: "Newtonian Love – There’s a strong attraction between your bodies."
  • This is not going to go the way you think: The Last Jedi and the necessary disappointment of epilogues: SPOILERS: “Happy endings are always undone because ‘endings’ don’t really exist. Time doesn’t stop when you want it to. Your ‘destiny’ can and will be slowly eroded away by the many small, cumulative abrasions of life that inevitably follow after you achieve it. This is real, and it’s disillusioning, and it can fill you with righteous anger at the unjustness of it all.”