3 min read

On Twitter

On Twitter

When I was in high school, we had this little rich twat in our class. Everyone went to school by bike, but this guy had his daddy pick him up from school every day. When passing the other kids, he would spit out of the window. His daddy would laugh because why wouldn’t he. Nothing more fun than the rich kid spitting on the peasants who had to use their bikes, right?

I’m sure no one really liked this kid, at least none of the people I liked did. But, he had quite a following. He had a pool and a PlayStation 2, when that was something we could only dream of.

That guy was called Elon Musk.

Sorry, no, he wasn’t. Bad joke. But I imagine Elon Musk to have the same type of personality as this irritating kid.

Back in the late 90s, I was an IRC guy. I really loved just chatting all day long, with friends I made along the way. Back in the day, we were all on this server hosted by the city of Antwerp, and when the city didn’t want to pay for it anymore, the community collapsed. Friendships were lost from one day to the other.

I still remember that in the aftermath of this, a friend from IRC (hi Dominiek!) told me about this pretty, new, shiny thing called Twitter. He sold it to me as: “it’s like IRC, but you only hear the people you follow”.

I was in, and I have very fond memories of those early years. On Facebook I had my friends, and had to be thoughtful of what I posted. On Twitter, I could just shout on a town square and just see what works. I met many people on Twitter, through joyful interactions, people who I probably won’t have met on any other social medium.

Even though the cynicism and toxicity has risen tremendously these past few years, just like it did in our society, Twitter has always had a warm place in my heart.

But things turned sour a few weeks ago when the rich kid took over.

I’m not going to repeat everything he’s done because it’s been in the press extensively. And I’m also not going to announce my departure (because I’m not an airport).

I will, however, take things more slowly on Twitter. I’ll still lurk, and I’ll still do the occasional reply, but that will be it.

I’m 100% against every decision Elon has taken so far. His decisions lack any hint of humanity, of decency, and I couldn’t disagree more with him on his vision of freedom of speech and Internet platforms.

I’ve been exploring Mastodon and even though it’s not as lively as Twitter, it kind of reminds me of those early 2007 Twitter times. I’m also experimenting with my old Tumblr account, and I’m liking it so far. Tumblr has always been this weird, fun part of the Internet, and I’m glad it still is.

No one knows how this will all turn out. Part of me hopes that Elon will get bored with his new toy and sells it to a better home. Another part of me hopes he will implement the ActivityPub protocol Mastodon uses and his little Twitter service will be just another part of the Fediverse (just like Trump’s TruthSocial is). And yet another part of me hopes this will all just blow up in his face, and he’ll realize that maybe it’s not too late to become a decent human being.

Until then, you can find me on @timbroddin@mastodon-belgium.be (and on all other social media accounts listed on this site).

And let’s be perfectly clear boys and girls …