Goodbye to my life on Twitter, 2007-2023

In November last year, I abandoned my Twitter account – I set it to private, did not visit, did not interact, ignored any direct messages, etc. It was simply too painful to watch friends and coworkers suddenly and systematically being fired, the company culture destroyed, and the developer communities that I supported for 9 years, finally cut off without support or API access. It has been a heartbreaking time.

Today, I took the last step in going back through my password manager vault and deleting all of my X/Twitter accounts. I’ve watched the shambolic rebranding over the past week, and frankly, I wish it had all happened far sooner – rather than seeing my beloved bird being dragged down, and the brand and memory ruined, piece by piece.

There are a few accounts that I share access to with others (for podcasts, sites or communities) that remain, but over the past hour or so I deleted 15 accounts, four of which had associated Twitter Developer Accounts.

Why so many?

  • Of course, I had my main account, @andypiper, which was first created after hanging out with my friend Roo Reynolds in his office at IBM Hursley, and hearing about Twitter, just starting to gather buzz from events like SxSW. Created February 21, 2007. The title of the blog entry I wrote that day seems accidentally prophetic (although, in truth, I do not regret it at all).
    • my jobs at VMware / Cloud Foundry in 2012, and at Twitter from 2014, were both direct results of being on Twitter, sharing my knowledge, interacting with different communities, and doing my work on the platform.
    • I’ve made countless friends through being on Twitter, and I’m grateful for that. It truly changed my life to be there.
  • Back at the start, those heady times of 2007-2009, it was not unusual to have a few accounts for fun, so certainly there were a few of those that just went away.
  • There was the time when I was copying friends like Andy Stanford-Clark and Tom Coates, and putting sensors around my house online (there’s brief mention of it in this 2009 post).
  • There were test accounts I created for projects as far back as my time doing Service Oriented Architecture things at IBM.
  • There were a couple of accounts I’d created during education sessions, literally to show others how to get started on Twitter, growing the user base.
  • There were a couple of accounts from my demo apps and projects on the @TwitterDev team, such as the IoT sensors I demonstrated on stage at the first Twitter Flight conference in 2014.
  • There were the super-sekrit accounts I had for testing features, such as the original internal test for ten thousand character Tweets (yes, this nearly happened, a long time back), the customisable Tweet Tiles we would have launched at the developer conference that was cancelled at the end of last year, and so on.

Finally, it’s time to say goodbye to my main @andypiper account. Twitter is not Twitter any more, it is X – and I never signed up for X.

In the near future, I’ll upload a searchable archive of my Twitter content, likely using Darius’ Twitter Archive tool. For now, it’s all done. I’m very happy elsewhere (personal sites and links here and here), and I will not be sad that X is out of my life.

… apart from the laptops that they still have not collected!

4 thoughts on “Goodbye to my life on Twitter, 2007-2023”

  1. Very sad to remember what Twitter was in those early days, and look at it now.
    Well done for taking the leap, I am sure many will follow. I am thinking about it. It really is a dumpster fire right now.

    The saddest thing though is that something like Twitter *was* is what the world desperately needs. A public town square, a place where everyone has a voice and where words can spread on the value of their own merit. Hashtag based emergent communities around events and causes were something truly unique.

    Good job for backing up your data and putting it online somewhere.

    One thing that is hard to back up though – our *networks*. There doesn’t seem to be any way to preserve that, and that’s perhaps the saddest loss of all as that was what Twitter was all about!

    Where are you going next? Mastodon?

    1. Yes, I’m on Mastodon (and have had an account on it for quite a few years, but rarely used it until last April when things started to look… challenging). I started where you will find my earlier content, and now live at I think the #Fediverse has a lot of potential – I’m also using Bookwyrm, PeerTube, Pixelfed and Lemmy which are all ActivityPub-based.

      It is important to note that there is really no drop-in replacement for Twitter, and that’s not surprising. I joined Twitter in 2007 when it was largely still SMS-based, and before I owned an iPhone (that magical sheet of glass had not even been announced when I opened my Twitter account). It was before images, before multiple images and videos, before the @mention and #hashtag syntaxes were well-established, before Twitter even had search. Today, we expect a lot from a replacement service, and a lot of people are looking around for a simple, immediately-recognisable, fully similar alternative – Mastodon is something slightly different, and that is OK.

      I do have accounts on Hive, Post, Cohost, T2 and BlueSky – of these, T2 and BlueSky are the more interesting to me, and only BlueSky has a stated goal of decentralisation, although not as part of the ActivityPub #Fediverse. Finally, I have a Threads account, and that is supposed to potentially federate with e.g. Mastodon in the future, but again, my main network of folks that I interact with regularly, and communities of interest to me, are largely now on Mastodon. I’m enjoying it a lot.

  2. Thanks for sharing those perspectives.. really interesting! Had not heard of some of those other ones. Mastodon seems good for having some actual conversations, based on what little I’ve used it.
    Hard to know what server to align yourself with though.
    The fediverse surely has to be the future – I think single platform single owner social media is just so broken as a model, especially now the social media landscape is more splintered than ever.

    One question do you have a recommended client for Mastodon / fediverse? Wondering if Ivory might be worth paying for..

    1. Whoops, sorry I failed to come back on this!

      For choosing a server, on the one hand “it doesn’t matter” to some extent, because the notion is that you can carry your network with you, if not (currently) import your posts from place to place, but that’s a bit complicated. I ended up choosing a group of former coworkers as a nexus, but I follow a bunch of servers related to 3D printing, retro technology, and even historians!

      I personally use Ivory most often on iOS and macOS, but as developer advocate for Mastodon I try to give many of the different apps a good try. Tusker and Ice Cubes and Radiant are nice as well. I can’t speak to Android but hear good things about Tusky. For Lemmy (Reddit alternative) there are some nice apps starting to appear as well, I’ve been flipping between Bean and Voyager. Other options are available.

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