Bryan Beal

Using Twitter (X)

I have heard people liken continuing users of Twitter (now attempting to change its brand to the ridiculous “X”) likened to Nazi fascists. At the very least, they have been called supporters of fascism by those leaning to the left of the political spectrum. Pushing those political concerns aside and ignoring the possibility that Elon Musk is a reprehensible, elitist, greedy parasite, should writers use the old Bird Site?

As background to this discussion, I have made the choice to move all of my writing presence online into the fediverse and other places, away from the traditional “Big Tech” names. Perhaps the most telling effect was a significant drop in readership on my blog. Not that my readership was huge in the first place, but now it is quite small. Given that this might be a result of a move into the fediverse, I can understand an author's reticence to making the same move.

For some authors, indie writers whose livelihoods depend on exposure and readership, that barrier to moving away from Twitter is an even bigger challenge to consider. They realistically stand to lose a significant chunk of sales if they do what I have done. This is something to consider before labelling them in the same group as supposed fascists.

Some who use such labels will have no ethical issues with buying from Amazon, owned by Jeff Bezos, who I would bet good money is no better role-model than Musk.

So, should you, as a writer, dump Twitter? You are not going to like this answer, but here is my opinion: it is entirely up to you. If you choose to use Twitter and can put up with Musk's little games, then why not? Do not listen to the nay-sayers who say you are going to get flooded with neo-Nazi shyte. That may have been their experience, but it does not have to be so.

On Twitter, like in the fediverse, curate your feed wisely. Start by choosing your interests carefully on sign-up. Follow the authors who are part of the Writing Community (use that hashtag) and jump onto some of the writing hashtags that are popular there. Be willing to pro-actively and pre-emptively block the idiots. As an exmaple, I block all porn that I find anywhere, including perverts who try to follow me.

Twitter is still useful. So, why am I not there? I have a personal belief and conviction in the vision of the Internet that the fediverse represents. That is, a group of people who gather around shared ideals or just because they like each other in free communities.

If you are going to join Twitter, then be active about your presence there and use it to filter what you do not wish to see. If you are on Mastodon or anywhere else in the fediverse, you are probably do that anyhow. If you're a writer, then think carefully before writing Twitter off as a cesspit of right-wing fanaticism. There are some wonderful authors who are still active there.