impermanence · mental health · psychology · relationship · social media

All Things Must Pass Away

For ten years Twitter has been my primary resource to access and interface with colleagues nearby and far flung. Residing and working around the globe, my feed was populated by a rich mix of medical, psychological, academic, contemplative researchers and clinicians.

I was appreciative of how intentional contact curation made this possible and somehow I assumed Twitter would not change. The basic platform would remain as it was. My community would keep contributing and interacting with intelligence, care and respect. Oh how wrong I was.

Of course I knew that Twitter was a cesspool of hatred, misinformation and nefarious bots. Yet, I counted on Twitter’s infrastructure of values/rules of conduct to keep that away from my feed. Then a couple of weeks ago the specter and reality of Elon Musk arrived full force and disassembly began to erode much of Twitter’s corporate and technical foundation.

One by one my community began to close their accounts. And my feed filled with Elon Musk’s antics and the counterpoint #twitterapocalypse. The rich community I had relied on for years to offer up the latest and most interesting research links and discussion dissolved before my eyes.

And I was sad. So bereft and powerless.

And then the wave of Mastodon tweets started showing up. “Find me now @mastondon!” So I investigated Mastodon and though it seemed interesting, I kept bumping up against the futility of not finding my people. So many servers… disjointed, slow, not intuitive coding in the app. And I realized anyone could say they are me and create a profile that looked like me. Big red flag!

For years people have admonished social media sites as superfluous, consumerist, privacy nightmares, and rife with the worst humans can dish up. It was not till my community went away in a poof of Elon Musk smoke that I understood how real cyber-reality actually feels for modern humans. Especially when a user has carefully over many years orchestrated it to deliver nurturing, informative, and honest content.

Today one of my colleagues let me know that Noam Bardin, former Waze CEO, has decided to get in the game of building a new social media site Post.news dedicated to “Real People, Real News, and Civil Conversations”. They seem to be taking their time to carefully build, so now you can only join the waitlist. I look forward to my invitation arriving so I can see what Post is actually like.

I did not expect Twitter to devolve so quickly and yet I know all things are subject to impermanence. My heart goes out to all Twitter employees–whether fired or remaining. Thank you for a wonderful decade! May you find peace and healing.