Yup, Done With the Former Twitter

Elon Musk, the most unfathomably insecure and pathetic billionaire the world has ever seen, has gone mask-off antisemite, and that means that while I had already reduced my participation on the former Twitter, now I’m off it entirely. I’m keeping the account so that no one can swoop in and take a screenname that’s been associated with me for the last fifteen years, but no more posting, and no more participation. Until and unless the service is sold to someone who isn’t Musk (and possibly even then, depending), I’m out, I’m through, I’m done.

Some quick notes:

1. If you are still on the former Twitter, this is not an implicit condemnation of you. Remember I was on it until today; I put up with a lot of Musk’s bullshit because the site still had value to me as a promotional vehicle. Others may still be on it because their communities are there or because they’re determined to outlast Musk or because it’s still an easy way to reach a mass audience, or whatever. That’s fine. It’s simply that for me, the point at which Musk’s toxicity overwhelmed any utility the site had for me was right around noon. I realized I just couldn’t shrug my way through it anymore.

Also, I’m not going to debate or argue the utility of staying on or leaving the former Twitter with anyone. This is a personal decision made for personal reasons that have to do with me and me alone. If you agree with the action, great. If you don’t, that’s fine too. If you want to give me guff for it, for whatever reason, you can go fuck yourself.

2. It does mean walking away from almost 200k followers there, but you know what, at this point I’m fine with that. I suspect a significant portion of those followers are no longer on the site (or were rarely on it) to begin with, and as for the others, at this point the chance they’re not also following me on Bluesky/Threads/Mastodon/Facebook/Instagram (or, uhhhhh, here) is pretty slim. I have thousands or tens of thousands of followers on each of those other social media sites (and here) anyway. I’m not hurting for my ability to get the word out about what I’m doing or thinking. And also, you know. When I put stuff out, I have a major publisher telling people about it. I’m not difficult to find, or to find out about. I’ll be fine.

3. Also, and vaguely related, the fact that I have tens of thousands of followers on each of Bluesky/Threads/Mastodon/Facebook makes the point that Twitter is not essential and is replaceable for the aspect of social media that revolves around self-promotion. The fact that friends are now elsewhere and I chat with them in those places also means it’s not essential and is replaceable for social interaction. For me, there’s nothing that Twitter does I can’t do elsewhere. This was always true, but it’s worth reminding myself about, and you might benefit from that reminder too.

4. Leaving the former Twitter is also at this point more than a little bit of a relief. I’ve noted above that I restricted my use of it recently to just career news and updates, but even doing that has become an increasing depressing and unpleasant chore, like having a storefront in a part of town where the windows are increasingly soaped up and the sidewalks are full of trash, and there are a bunch of Nazis on the corner, leering at cars driving by. It was no fun, in a place where I used to have fun. It was, finally, time to go. So I’ve gone.

If it’s stopped being fun for you, too, consider leaving as well. There are better places to be.

— JS

78 Comments on “Yup, Done With the Former Twitter”

  1. While I’ve never been a Twitter user, I was a big fan of Tesla cars. The kids lost in a Vietnamese cave soured me on Musk, and gradually I turned into someone who would never consider Tesla when shopping for an EV.

    Just because of Musk.

  2. Yeah, I pretty much left it, for the same reasons. And like you, I left my account standing to avoid being hijacked. My only regret is that the breaking of Twitter has fractured an otherwise valuable meeting ground. But truth be told, its toxicity even before Musk was outweighing its usefulness.

  3. Good decision.
    The current jostling for the lead between Bluesky/Threads/Mastodon/Facebook reminds me of Betamax vs VHS (where I betted wrong). Can you predict which will come out on top? If not, would you like to take a guess?
    And thanks for The Kaiju Preservation Society; I enjoyed it.

  4. Already gone. It was my last social media platform I let go of, because it was the one that felt the most useful. But it is not. The lunatics have the asylum.

    Please do not turn off the RSS.

  5. I never used Xitter, but I followed you to Mastodon, which I quite like. Hope to see more of you there.

  6. I can only echo what John and others have said. I greatly admired Elon because of Tesla and SpaceX. But after all of his unacceptable behavior I just can’t stand him nor his X mess. I was never a big Twitter user but I’ll miss some of the groups of people there. And I’ll never buy a Tesla, that’s for sure.

  7. I left former Twitter in summer 2021, around the same time i left Facebook. Too much hate and misinformation, and far too many people that were too online, all the time, ready to fight on any whim. Good to be free of it

  8. Thank you for taking a stand!

    On the other hand, our generation’s Henry Ford deserves some credit for helping cure my Twitter addiction.

    Besides the hate and the bad bluecheck replies, I hate him for turning something that would have been my teenage self’s dream — sexbots that hang on to my every word! — into a nightmare. No, I realize as I check my notifications, Zoey and Candy, each with five followers and no tweets, probably aren’t new fans of my obscure inside jokes after all.

    If only the makers of Coca Cola would put so much effort into making their addictive product so unappealing!

    Another useful tool in fighting the addiction, short of going cold turkey, is to remove the app from your phone. Accessing it through my phone’s browsers is a bit more complicated, a bit less user friendly, and helps break the dopamine chain.

  9. The one thing that Twitter offers me that the other options don’t – so far – is a means to contact businesses/social media pressure on the government (in the UK this does sometimes work).

  10. And if anyone wants to enjoy hanging with John on Bluesky, I have a few invites available. First come, first served for my Whatever friends.

    Feel free to email me at jake@jakekerr.com. I don’t have a ton, but I do have a handful.

  11. Reading your tweets was one of the very few reasons I ever visited Twitter. There are very few left.

  12. Thank you John.

    These are hard times. I know a lot of people who stand against antisemitism and everything it stands for and we understand that this is a time to speak out. A lot of us also understand that war makes victims out of everyone without regard to nationality or religion.

    The quote Musk endorsed, ‘Jewish people hold a “dialectical hatred” of white people’ is as loathsome as it gets.

    The concept of a Jewish race is antisemitic.
    Whenever you claim that ‘white people’ are being victimized or somehow under attack, you’re either being racist or making room for racists to sit next to you on the couch.
    I have talked with a lot of Jews and attended some worship services. Never have I heard a dialectical hatred of anything. Usually you hear something like, “How can we understand God’s intentions? What can we learn from scripture? Praise God and give thanks.” The guy playing guitar and leading us in singing Torah verses may have violated a copyright or two by drifting into some John Denver tunes, but I’m just not seeing the hatred.

  13. I only ever used Twitter for updates on fires from local agencies, so no great loss for me. I left soon after Musk bought it and started acting like a nit.

  14. I never used Twitter that much, and nowadays I only post my Wordle scores on it. I do read it occasionally, but I curated my experience heavily so that I don’t have to suffer right wing trolls.

  15. I really appreciated the platform formerly known as Twitter for its up-to-date news but Elon turned it into the disaster it is now so I left even before he got even more ugly and hateful.

  16. Three things.

    One, I’ve been telling everyone who asked that Musk was an ass since his days at PayPal and he only got worse after he fell in with the Peter Thiel gang.

    Two, it astounds me to this day that people think Musk was the founder of PayPal and Tesla. He didn’t actually found either of those two companies.

    He founded X.com with 3 other cofounders and quickly they fell into disagreement and eventually the others left. X.com merged with Confinity in March 2000, but by September/October 2000 Musk was voted out as CEO, and much later, in June 2001, the “new” CEO Peter Thiel officially renamed the company after Confinity’s product PayPal. X.com under Musk was originally just an online bank; the electronic payments functionality came entirely from the Confinity side of the merger and their 1998 product PayPal. So Musk’s claims to have founded PayPal are kind of a stretch.

    He did however provide much of the early funding for X.com and ended up being one of the largest shareholders in PayPal as a result. And much of his resulting wealth from that was later invested in Space X and Tesla.

    Similarly, Musk was not actually a founder at Tesla. Musk invested in several investment rounds and initially served on its board of directors, but wasn’t “officially” a founder until a 2009 lawsuit was settled which allowed five early participants, including Musk, to all call themselves co-founders instead of just the two original founders.

    A little off topic, so let me get to the final thing.

    Three, Mr. Scalzi, I’ve always preferred reading your long-form writing to your short-form writing. 140 characters was a stupid artifact of the SMS-era limitations and contributed very little to Internet discourse because of that early decision. Subtlety and nuance are hard to express in 140 characters and I still blame that decision on what Twitter became before Musk turned it into whatever it is today.

  17. I never joined Twitter, but it got so bad that I did join BlueSky, and I am pleased to follow you there.

  18. I’m still there for professional reasons – the sports Xitter community is too massive to uproot itself and move in any timely fashion.

    My engagement numbers are so bad at this point that posting there (or on Threads) is like shouting into the void.

  19. Just found out you’re leaving Xitter by reading your post on Threads. Of the alternatives I’ve looked at in the last few months, Threads seems to be the one I like best.

    I stopped reading Xitter sometime ago when Elon moved Tweetdeck behind the paywall.

  20. I will miss you on Twitter but I’m getting close to pulling the rip cord there as well. I sure hope that a crazy billionaire doesn’t buy RSS or else I’ll have no way to follow you.

    Oh wait, RSS is a decentralized protocol that can’t be controlled by anyone. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned from that.

  21. Went to several of my favorite sportswriters expecting to finally see some “find me here…” messages.

    Nada. It simply doesn’t register. They’ve got their audience and they’re never, ever giving it up. And in turn, that audience won’t move en masse until their writers have gone. It vicious none-ending cycle.

    And don’t get me started on the leagues.

  22. I went to several of my favorite sportswriters who are still on Twitter expecting to finally see some “find me over here…” messages.

    Nope. Life goes on as if nothing has happened. They’ve got giant audiences and they don’t want to (lead?) let them go.
    And in turn that audience won’t be going anywhere either.

    It’s a vicious cycle.

  23. …way ahead of you my lovely… guess my tolerance for “this isn’t fun” is a bit less than yours.. meanwhile, ‘Starter Villain’ is incredible… thanks. keep writing!

  24. I was off Twitter years ago, I believe it was something Dorsey said about speech at the time relating to the platform… but then, I tend to give most platforms/places very few chances before I walk out the door these days. It literally doesn’t take much accommodation of garbage people for a site to go from enjoyable to undeniably toxic for me.

  25. I followed you on Twitter before I deleted my account. Now I follow you on Goodreads. I’m sure I’ll find another service at some point and look you up there. Too many public figures are afraid of losing followers if they close their Twitter shop – the thing is, followers are either engaged and will follow you wherever, or disengaged so weren’t really paying attention anyway.

  26. Well, reading that you’ll leave the platform previously known as Twitter is quite a bummer.

    On the other hand: As long as the Spotify algorithm keeps adding your music to my Release Radar playlist, I won’t forget you.

    (John is only one step away from launching his career as a musician – his readers will have to hope that he just won’t completely quit his dayjob as author 😁)

  27. I’d really like to leave the platform formerly known as Twitter, but I can’t, because I never got on it in the first place. Best (non)decision I ever made, it seems.

    I love the name Xitter, though. How do you pronounce it? I imagine “shitter”. Which is why I love it.

  28. I don’t know how much of a second Musk like villain we need.

    Maybe some petro-billionaires who made their money by poisoning the planet or billionaires from the beauty industry who capitalize on low self esteem of people and who go unnoticed because they hide behind the outrage caused by public figures like Elon Musk would be a nice widening of the scope of that trope.

  29. Congratulations! I’ve been off Twitter since Musk took over, no regrets. I do follow you on Threads and am also on CoSo. I loved Starter Villain and will look forward to what’s next

  30. Only reason I still have an account anymore is that most of my physical service providers (water/power/local government etc) use it as a primary communication tool for service notifications that I cannot not know about…. and with the requirement for an account for browsing those, there is no way I can get the info I unfortunately need anywhere else. Add to this the fact that most public services (i.e. government supplied) in my third world country are so poorly run and incompetent, that expecting them to provide alternative technical service that serves the same role as Twitter notifications is literally a fool’s errand. They can hardly keep a website updated let alone anything else.

    So yeah, the situation is a mess on so many levels (all social media is imho) that its a no brainer to leave.

  31. I’m only on twitter to have a list of people to look up on bluesky to see if they’ve gone there. I pretty much don’t interact there any more.

    However, the robotics team I mentor is on there, and only 2 other teams that I could find are on bluesky, and none of the vendors/supporters (like REV Robotics, AndyMark, etc.) are there. So I have to keep the twitter account for the team there for the time being. I hate that, because I have the type of diversity in my team that would get horrible responses on Twitter if I actually showed any information about them.

  32. I have a Twitter account from 2008: I joined when it was being promoted as a tool that colleagues would use to communicate about work. But none of my then-coworkers joined.

    I’ve never been active posting on Twitter: I tweeted once the day I opened the account and then not again for two years. I just spent a few minutes scrolling through the history of every tweet I ever made: there are years with one post, followed by gaps of multiple years with none.

    I don’t have self-promotion to do, and I have never really engaged with a community there. The original 140-char limit on posts was initially a turnoff for that, and later it was just too much of a cesspit of ignorance and ill-will. The people that I know and would want to talk with on Twitter typically have spent their Twitter energy refuting misinformation and disinformation. Which is a pursuit I have never had much energy for.

    Twitter’s main value to me was as a news report origin from the front lines of wherever. It’s been neutered for that purpose by some of the recent changes. Which is sad. A replacement for that function might be a long time coming.

  33. Thank you for posting on Mastadon– I am not on any social media and that’s the only one I can read without signing up to something.

    I used to have a twitter assignment in class where people had to follow economists so we could get their takes on current events, but I’m not sure how to do that one anymore since I don’t want to force anybody to sign up to anything. We will see what the future holds.

  34. I (mostly) left there awhile ago, and am definitely one of your followers there. I only use it to occasionally troll Musk about something stupid he’s recently said or done, but he does that so often these days that even that’s no longer fun ;)

  35. Good for you. I was “done with Twitter” about a week after I joined, almost 20 years ago. It just seemed like the worst of everything social media “stood for.” The lack of depth, the constant anger and polarization, the relentless illiteracy, and all-around childishness. [All of which, now, could be used as a description of the site’s owner.] Likewise, I didn’t kill my account, just to maintain some control of the name I used there.

    Nothing about Musk has ever impressed me. I was a fan (and investor) in Tesla before his ugly face and foolish ideas contaminated the company and “I’ve been there, done that” in a couple of start-up companies where the founders are shoved aside by a foolish, insanely lucky, vulture capitalist who rewrites the company’s history to insert his name every place where a good idea happened. I have to laugh at the Wikipedia SpaceX story, “Musk assumed the role of Chief Engineer” after the people who were actually engineers began to filter their way out of his giant government welfare scam due to a collection of mismanagement in-competencies and the amount of hand-holding NASA had to provide to keep the SpaceX balloons from popping on the launching pad.

    Musk is a one-man argument for bringing back the 1950’s 95% upper income tax bracket to pay off war debt and to make carpetbagging less profitable and attractive to the worst of our society. Bezos and his half-billion dollar sail boat finishes off that argument.

  36. I’ve given up on short-form social media. The only use Twitter is to me is for sports stuff. If I’m watching a game, I can find out news on the X.

    But that’s it. No more posts for me. I’m on LinkedIn (for job stuff), and other than that, I follow blogs/newsletters like this one.

  37. I don’t have the celebrity status that you have or a career in which social media is useful, if not mandatory. So it was easy for me to leave many years ago, before Musk, even before TFG helped turn it into a shit bucket. I gave up Facebook not long after that. Never been happier!

  38. There are a couple channels which I frequent for data related to the ongoing Ukrainian war…that’s it…and most of those folks now have alternate outlets.

  39. Thank you for drawing the line where you did. Recently not being an antisemite has been a bar that a surprising number of people have failed to clear. I don’t take it for granted.

  40. Instead of “the site formerly known as Twitter, ” why aren’t we calling Musk’s dumpster fire:


    I mean, it’s right there…

  41. I agree. It’s time to leave Twitter to Elon and his Muskrats.

    Time to get set up on other platforms

  42. Dear Henry,

    I saw a bumper sticker on a Tesla that read, “I bought this before I knew what he was like”

    I’m glad I bought my Model X, four years ago, because I sure wouldn’t buy one today. On the other hand, I would never know what I missed, so I wouldn’t regret it.


    Dear Nortally,

    For the benefit of readers who may not quite get the import…

    This is a major talking point of the neo-Nazis (let’s stop calling them white supremacists — even the supremely qualified Mike Godwin has stated, “I’m okay with calling these people Nazis). That Jews are not white, that they are one of the “mud people,” all those sub-humans that the Nazis are entitled to exterminate.

    That’s exactly what that quote means. It’s the worst of the worst.

    If Musk isn’t an outright Nazi, he’s a fellow traveler and supporter.

    pax, Ctein

    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]

  43. I was unhappy with Twitter ever since Elon took over. I’d been there since 2007, and I didn’t want to give it up, but under Elon it just became more and more of a slog. I was spending far more time blocking advertisers and right-wing trolls than posting or reading.

    After the rebranding to X, the place just felt alien, and I decided it was time to leave. I got my archive and then paid a service to delete everything. I’m keeping the name, because cybersquatting. But there’s nothing there now except the address of my Mastodon account, and that’s all there will be for as long as Elon controls it.

  44. Crikey! Musk is not only parroting Neckbeard talking points… he’s now rocking a bona fide neckbeard!

    Makes one wonder if he saw a meme making fun of Neckbeards and missed the point. Poor guy seems to really struggle with this whole “pretending to be human” thing.

    “Elon Musk, the most unfathomably insecure and pathetic billionaire the world has ever seen, has gone mask-off antisemite”

    The mask was off when he actively endorsed transphobia. Goes to show that shitbigots are shitbigots for the sole purpose of being shitbigots. It’s never about just the one vulnerable group – once that target has been eliminated, they just direct their hatred toward something/someone else.

  45. Good move. Musk has proven that being good at business doesn’t mean you’re a good person. He’s a wannabe villain like Trump is a wannabe dictator. It would be nice to see both of them fail spectacularly.

  46. I’ll be sad to miss the Scamperbeasts. Instagram isn’t my thing. There will be cat pics here and on Blueski though.

  47. My Twexit came gradually but years ago. The moment of clarity came to me on Election Night 2016, minutes after Hillary Clinton conceded.

    One jubilant Trump supporter (could’ve been a bot) tweeted out a meme of Pepe the frog, wearing a maga hat, pinching an oven knob dialed to 1,488 degrees.

    That one drawing told me everything about who and what magas are, and history bears it out.

    I then filtered out maga content and blocked Trump followers. But that leaves a political valence of Left Twitter. While not outright evil, Left Twitter was insufferable and tedious. Almost all of it was scolding. By this time, I stopped posting.

    So I tuned out of politics and just followed journalists and subject matter experts. But then since they have careers where they are outputting ideas, I could follow them where they publish and Twitter became functionally useless.

    I was only logging in when something big was happening, like the first days of pandemic lockdowns, the George Floyd protests or things like the Gender Reveal Fire in California. I shit you not, the last thing was real and it was as destructive as it was asinine.

    I don’t have any fond memories of Twitter, so leaving was an easy choice. I’ve already experienced it before, when I had seen the collapse of Usenet newsgroup communities. They are survivable events.

  48. Even Howard Hughes was smarter than Musk, and that’s saying a LOT.

    There’s a question that should be asked: in 2023, where is the line that a senior executive for a USG/DoD contractor (which, of course, would not exist in its present form absent USG/DoD contracts) has to cross before the customer declares a Defense Production Act order in regards to the legal status and management staff of said contractor?

    There’s a reason the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy exists as part of the DoD PME system, after all.

  49. You can take the boy out of apartheid but you can’t take apartheid out of the boy.

    BTW Donald Trump is the world’s most insecure billionaire. Assuming, of course, he is actually a billionaire.

  50. It’s so hard. I self-published my short story collection around the time he bought Xitter. I wavered a lot about… well.

    On the one hand, every “How to get an agent/how to market your book/how to drive traffic to your writing blog” is very “You use Xitter and if you’re a writer and you don’t have a Xitter you were clearly dropped on your head as a child.”

    On the other hand, well. Yeah.

    I used to use an autoposter from my blog, which worked beautifully until The New Owner killed it, and met some interesting people.

    There are Hot New Things [TM] but they’re not really How To Reach The Masses yet. Also there doesn’t appear to be an API to crosspost my blog posts to Bluesky.

    So. Much. Facepalm.

  51. I feel like this is the final nail in the coffin for Elon Musk being smart. Not the antisemitism specifically, alas; plenty of smart people get the brainworms, put a little too much weight on the masses of bullshit written about Jewish people and their specific needs as a diasporic culture.

    No, I mean going mask-off anti-Semite at probably the worse possible time to go mask-off anti-Semite in the last, like, 30 years. He’s always been terrible at reading the room but has mostly gotten away with it. I don’t think this will be so easily forgotten.

  52. I support your decision, Mr. Scalzi, though I regret that you’ve lost a place where you used to enjoy being. Thank you for making the choice you did.

    In a related event, NPR’s news site had a blurb up today that asserted “…Musk himself supported a baseless antiemetic conspiracy theory to his 163 million followers.” He’s definitely nauseating, but he doesn’t seem the type to support an antidote to puking. NPR quickly caught and corrected the goof, but my sibling caught a screengrab before it vanished.

  53. Yeah, I finally got off my lazy ass and migrated to Threads as the laziest option (Mastodon confuses the heck out of me every time I look into it and from commentary from some folks I trust seems to be full of wannabe elitists, never have wrangled a BlueSky invite). Pity really, I’d put years into curating the Ex-Twitter algorithm to give me a mostly pleasant feed of people I actually wanted to hear from and it only really started to fail when most of them left. I might check back from time to time to keep an eye on the opposition, or maybe not, sounds like work.

  54. The only reasons I’m still on Xitter are: 1) customer service for subscribed utilities and, 2) there are a couple of communities I participate in where everyone has a Xitter account.

    Also, people have been killed doing gender reveal spectaculars. There was one several months back where the couple hired a crop duster to release to release colored powder at the right moment. When the low altitude release was done, the plane’s wings snapped off and it crashed killing the pilot. That incident went viral on Xitter.

  55. The other failures of Musk:

    How many rocket starts do you people, who are reading here, think Musk can still botch up until he’s also financially bankrupt?