A Year Without Twitter

Sun May 16 2021 - by Kirill Zubovsky

For a long time Twitter was good. I made countless interesting connections, learned from others and shared my own ideas. By early 2020 though, I was not feeling it anymore. On one hand, a firehose of marketing messages started to dominate over genuine and authentic content, and on the other, algorithmic timeline ensured that thoughtful discussions were lost in the sea of witty tweets.

New accounts emerged and rose from 0 to 100k followers in a matter of months. They realized that by saying just about anything, as long as it was at the right time and to the right audience, they could amass a massive following, and with that, grow their status. Tweets became optimized for engagement instead value, and even specialized software emerged to help wannabe-celebrities to get their followers faster.[1]

While marketing by itself was bearable, it was the two-faced liars that sealed the deal for me. These people presented themselves as kind and carrying on the internet, but if you’d ever met them in real life, or talked to their past friends, employees, or customers, you’d know they were anything but. The truth did not matter though, as the loud megaphone of the internet celebrated and empowered monsters.

I am a fairly quiet person, an engineer. I value truth, ethics, creativity and a drive to make things. Celebrity gossip was the last of my worries.

I thought that I needed Twitter. After all, it was a channel to share my work and to connect with others. One day I would be a millionaire, I thought, and that’s when I would quit. I wouldn’t need a marketing channel. Then, as I thought about it, I looked at the people I was following, many of whom were already extremely wealthy. Most of them were still on it. That’s when I realized that to actually stop using Twitter required me to actually stop using it. It did not matter what other people thought about it, my own mental wealth depended on being away.

April of 2020 was the last time I used Twitter. The first couple of weeks were hard. The pull of the network was strong. Then, with every passing week it got easier, and easier, and soon it was just a website, like any other.

That’s it. No point. Just an old-school blog.

If you’d like to know what I am working on, send me a quick email to kirill@smashnotes.com and I will send you an invite when it’s ready.

[1] Remember the period of time when the same account would follow and then unfollow you multiple times in the same month? They knew that a fraction of people would follow back, and stay, so it wasn’t personal, just a matter of racking in the numbers.