Why is Twitter still so tempting to use?

Quick summary: I’m now on the Blue Sky, the Twitter-alternative network. My username is Spudart. Most likely, you aren’t on Blue Sky. But if you are, give me a follow. But even now, I’m having my doubts about using Blue Sky instead of Twitter.

We all know how Twitter is just so wrong on so many levels. I don’t stand behind the changes Twitter has made. We all want an alternative.

So far no Twitter-alternative has panned out

  • Threads is mobile-only and tied to Facebook.
  • Substack’s Notes looked promising, but never really took off.
  • Mastodon is cool, but doesn’t feel quite there yet.

I was holding out hope for Blue Sky

  • Backed by Twitter cofounder and ex-CEO Jack Dorsey
  • It’s decentralized
  • Bluesky is designed with interoperability in mind. That makes me feel like my posts on Bluesky are more moveable. Like, they don’t belong just on this particular social network.

And now the day has arrived. After joining Blue Sky’s wait list six months ago, I’m finally in! I got an invite from someone. Hooray!

Who should I be on Blue Sky?

I quickly signed up. My first dilemma was what username to use.

  • spudart
  • maldre
  • mattmaldre

I developed the ‘spudart’ moniker in 1997 when signing up for a hotmail account after college. People back then didn’t use their real names. I used spudart, because potatoes have some cool metaphors for art. But my personal name is not spudart. Nobody calls me that. It feels weird signing up for a social media account with ‘spudart’

‘Maldre’ is probably not taken. It’s my last name. Short. But I use ‘mattmaldre’ on many other social networks. Maybe I should stay consistent with ‘mattmaldre’. My last name Maldre is cool, because it’s so rare. (“Maldre” was completely made up in the early 20th century for Estonians to not sound Russian). But my last name is also hard to spell and pronounce. Not ideal for a social media handle. How do you spell Maldre? Malldray? Melldreh?

Spudart is pretty easy to spell. Spud like the potato. And it makes people smile.

And I don’t want someone else grabbing the spudart username. So I signed up for Blue Sky with ‘spudart‘. I merged my Twitter profile description for @spudart and @mattmaldre into one description.

Why Twitter is still tempting

I’m looking up people on Twitter who are now on bsky. It turns out not that many people I know have gotten into this invite-only land yet. And then I get tempted to go back into the dumpster fire of Musk’s social network. Why?

Why in the world would I go back to Twitter? I hate to admit it. Because there’s more people there. Oh man. Don’t tell me that’s how I feel.

And now with Twitter, there’s even more reasons to not be there. But when I want to see what’s happening, I still find myself peaking over at Twitter. It just has more people. Am I really using a network because that’s what other people are using? Am I a blindless lemming following the crowd?

Other social networks with lots of people, but has better alternatives

For years I shunned instagram, and promoted Flickr because Flickr has incredibly more features than Instagram.

  • Instagram doesn’t have multi-word search (Flickr does)
  • Instagram forces you to scroll scroll. There’s no grid view (Flickr has many ways to view content)
  • Instagram doesn’t encourage you to go into the archives of photos. Everything is about the today the now. (Flickr very much encourages archives)
  • Instagram’s API is nothing like Flickr’s.

I was so disappointed that people flocked to Instagram even though it was so much weaker. People joined Instagram, because that’s where all the people are. Plain and simple.

Bluesky? I follow three people. There’s a few more people that I follow on Twitter that are now on bsky, but I never really read their tweets. Do I really want to follow them?

Why even use social networks?

This whole process of signing up for a new network has me questioning why I’m using social media anyways.

I’ve long said that I should just be posting on my blog anyway. I want to own my posts. And have it all in one spot. Originally, I was typing this as a post for Blue Sky. Well, we are now at 2,359 characters—a bit over the 300-character limit on Blue Sky. 😉

Since this is about media, I considered posting it to my mattmaldre.com blog. I write about media there. But I’ve got all my content fractured all over the place. Maybe I should just have one centralized location. And make that spudart.org.

I don’t have much a conclusion to this blog post.

Footnote: Here’s a running list of why I don’t want to be on Twitter anymore.

  • Abruptly cut off many third-party Twitter clients from the API
  • Reduced the workforce by approximately 80%
  • Weird rebranding to X. Ditching what was so familiar with the Twitter brand.
  • Reinstated a number of previously banned accounts
  • Largely eliminated the content moderation team
  • Charging personal users $8 per month to get a “verified” blue badge (and $1,000 per month for an organizational gold badge)
  • No longer enforcse its policy prohibiting COVID-19 misinformation
  • Dissolved its Trust and Safety Council responsible for Twitter’s policies on hate speech
  • Limitations on viewing tweets
  • Throttling links to competitors

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