I quit Twitter in 2013. Right around the same time that I stopped podcasting and blogging, I ditched the social network. I'd been using it almost religiously since May 2007. I had racked up more than 14,500 tweets. A couple of months ago, guilted into it by The Bossman, I started using it again. Only… something was different. Twitter changed when I wasn't looking.
Where is Everyone?
The first thing I noticed is that it was quiet—too quiet. I was never one to follow just any Tom, Dick, or Harriet that followed me, so I only followed a few hundred people. Skimming the list revealed that a significant portion had abandoned Twitter sometime in the preceding four years. I unfollowed those accounts and my list total dropped by about a third.
The second thing I noticed is that even those that hadn't abandoned Twitter weren't talking anymore. I mean, they were making noise, but they weren't talking. Before I quit Twitter in 2013, the people I was connected to talked to each other. Affiliate marketers are, or were, my primary connections. We were some of Twitter's early adopters and we talked a lot. Just so many hours every week, so many thousands of tweets. Today? The people in that industry tweet out links to their latest blog posts, their latest Facebook posts, and retweets of their clients.
There's very little, if any, conversation anymore. And that's fine. There's quite a lot of conversation happening on Facebook. I cut my old affiliate marketers follow list down to people with whom I have a personal relationship. Honestly, though? I'm probably going to unfollow the rest of you. And you won't even notice; it's not like you're really using Twitter, anyway.
I've slowly started following some new folks. People that talk.
So What's the Point?
You know who talks a lot? Writers. As I get back into writing, I find myself gravitating toward writers on Twitter. But I feel… small. Time was, with my 14,500 tweets, with my hours upon hours every week spent on Twitter, I was comfortable. I felt like I could talk to anyone. Now, after four years gone, my follow list cut down to less than 150, not knowing anyone?
I Favorited a tweet from a writer I met at Comicaplooza in 2013 but found myself unable to reply. Here's a working writer, he's going to see a reply from me and think… what? I don't even know. What kind of nonsense is that?
Maybe Twitter didn't change. Maybe I did, too.[Update. July 9th. I've just unfollowed everyone from the old affiliate marketing list. I'm now only following writers, a few publications about writing, and a few random accounts that I find interesting—as well as some people that I have personal connections to. Current count: 40. This feels weird.] [Update. July 10th. Because I can't leave well enough alone, I'm leaving @qaqn behind and restarting @danielmclark. It makes sense. It's my name. QAQN was created when I was podcasting. @danielmclark doesn't carry the history that the other account does, but what the hell. I, as a writer, don't have that much history, either.]