My Hiatus From Twitter – Why You Should Join Me – Stay N Alive

My Hiatus From Twitter – Why You Should Join Me

whale.pngYesterday I announced I am permanently and officially on hiatus from Twitter. Bloggers and other Twitter users, while annoyed, are giving them too much attention in both the negative and positive forms, and frankly, both of these only help Twitter. Any publicity is good publicity, especially when it comes to Twitter. I’m fed up with their lack of communication with users (try to talk to @ev or @biz – I rarely ever get a response to them, while many other companies on their own service I get an instant response from), their lack of experience and poor architecture that keeps causing these problems. It seems, while they are trying to get better, they just keep getting worse!

Just Wednesday, Twitter, while not on purpose, removed mine, and others’ followers in some sort of mistake that took a day to fix (I’m guessing someone erased too much data in the database via a bad query on live data, and they had to restore from Tape backup to get it all back). This hit the breaking point for me – they violated the most important thing to me about Twitter, my followers (which are also those I follow and have a deep interest in), and I just can’t trust that things like this won’t keep happening in the future. They crossed the line, whether on purpose or not, and it’s time for me to take action.

I’ve endured them being down in times I needed them most. I’ve endured them removing API features from us developers with little to no notice. I’ve endured them launching things into production without telling developers or warning users. I’ve endured their lack of a proper staging environment and other simple architectural issues that they still have yet to fix (I’m still not convinced they’re not developing in their production environment!). I’ve endured their lack of a proper and regular launch schedule to warn other developers and users when new features and bug fixes are being launched into place. I’ve frankly, been too patient with them and I’m fed up with it.

Unfortunately, after only one day I realized I could not do it cold-Turkey. I have a good number of followers on Twitter that have some interest in me (and I thank you so much for that support – it really means a lot to me), and regardless of whether I want to leave or not, abandoning Twitter would mean abandoning those followers, and I just can’t do that to all of you. To me, you’re not just a number – you’re all people interested in me in some way, and I follow each of you back because of that (and will continue to do so). I do care about you, and need to do what I can to encourage you to join me in more productive, more reliable and trustworthy sources however. Here’s what I’m going to do:

I’m going to post much more on Identi.ca

My followers from Twitter are already very quickly joining the open source communications and micro-blogging service, Identi.ca. I use identi.ca with Twhirl and have it open at the same time I have Twitter and FriendFeed open. I will be posting to identi.ca much more often – follow me there so you don’t miss anything!

Why identi.ca? Distributed or not distributed (some argue it isn’t, which they have a point), identi.ca is open source. This means I, as a developer, can actually have some sort of chance at giving back if things ever go wrong. Everything’s plain, simple, and out in the open. I know Evan, the identi.ca founder, has also been very open with the community and has maintained that communication. I don’t get that from Twitter, at least not on an individual level. Also, identi.ca, like Twitter, now imports to FriendFeed, and now satisfies my status updating needs to initiate conversation (which is what FriendFeed satisfies).

I’m going to be much more involved on FriendFeed

On Wednesday at F8 I realized something significant – I was using FriendFeed as my primary communication mechanism throughout the day, and I really wasn’t missing Twitter much by doing so (and most of it from my cell phone). FriendFeed, frankly, is much more viral and advantageous to my blog and brand than Twitter because every time anyone likes or comments on an item I post or comment on, that item goes right back to the top of the feeds for all my friends. It brings instant exposure, and in fact, for many posts on this blog I get more traffic on FriendFeed than Google, Twitter, or any other service out there. FriendFeed takes power away from the A-listers and puts it right back in your hands – it can happen to you too, and very easily!

Some people, for whatever reason, won’t give up Twitter

As long as the majority of my followers remain on Twitter and don’t join FriendFeed or Identi.ca, I still have an obligation to you, and frankly, I’m outvoted at the moment until the scale tips. I’ll still follow your Tweets on Twitter, respond to your @replies, and direct messages, assuming you’re not already on the other services. You gave me your attention and I need to continue to give you mine. For the most part, my blog posts will keep posting there (although they are also on FriendFeed – discuss below!). Please don’t hesitate to contact me – I respect you having your own opinion. I hope this post can convince you otherwise however.

SocialToo.com still lives! It has to.

The fact of the matter is, there is still a large audience using Twitter and frankly, there’s a business opportunity there as long as people are still there. I built SocialToo.com to work across many social networks, and as you switch, so will SocialToo.com. For now though, there’s an opportunity, and Twitter will still be a part of that opportunity, as will Identi.ca, Facebook, and even FriendFeed in the future. It is already powering hundreds of Twitter accounts helping you follow those that are also interested in you and I have no intention in giving that up. If I can do my part in making Twitter a better place, I’ll at least try, so long as they let me. I’ve actually got a really cool new feature that will be released soon for both Twitter and Identi.ca.

I will not give Twitter any more attention!

I’ve given Twitter too much attention, both positive and negative already. We as bloggers, if we’re frustrated with the service, need to take a stand, and my hiatus starts with blogging about Twitter, and that happens right now, cold-turkey. This, unless Twitter does something absolutely profound, will be my last post about Twitter.

How Twitter can get me back

Twitter needs to do something profound – they need to show they have the experience necessary to protect those that follow and are interested in me. Twitter needs to open up more – let us into what you’re doing. Allow other services to sync with my updates in a federated, open manner. Open your source code like identi.ca. Any one or two of these will do, but, frankly, I’ve been disappointed too many times. Twitter has to gain my trust back, if some other service doesn’t beat them to it. Show your support by joining me on Identi.ca at:

http://identi.ca/jessestay

Or, more importantly, join me at FriendFeed at:

http://friendfeed.com/jessestay

I hope to see more of you there!

402 thoughts on “My Hiatus From Twitter – Why You Should Join Me

  1. Jesse, Thoughtful article. It's nice to see someone give thorough reasoning behind the decision rather than just saying “Twitter teh suck, Friendfeed FTW!” and leaving it at that. I do agree with you that changes are needed at Twitter (in fact I just wrote an article yesterday on the top ten features I think they need to implement to stay relevant) but for some reason I still love the experience overall. I think it is the community. I wish Friendfeed had, for example, the ability to @ someone like you can on Friendfeed, so that you can pull people into a conversation who might not otherwise join. That's a cool feature of Twitter.

    You also raise a good point about the community factor- it's difficult to leave Twitter, even if you want to, because you can't take your Tweeps with you (a point I made in my article yesterday as well.) I checked out Identi.ca and reserved by name, but I honestly can't see myself using it until it becomes a lot more mainstream. Along the same lines, I -want- to like Friendfeed as much as I do Twitter, but I just don't see them as the same. For me, Friendfeed is great for finding and commenting on new stuff online – Twitter is great for interacting with people in a meaningful way (in 140 characters or fewer 😉

    Anyway, I won't ramble any more! Great post, and I hope Twitter does what it has to do to win you back.
    I've followed you on FF btw

    Cheers,

    Daniel Smith
    Smithereens Blog

  2. Jesse, I'm new to Twitter and have to say the experience has been far less than stellar. For anyone joining recently, experiencing service outages, eaten posts, missing follows, etc. results in not only a bad Twitter experience, but a lurking suspicion of all those biggies who've been singing the Twitter praises for so many months. That's not to say it's a valid suspicion, but the fact remains that there are influential people using and suggesting a tool that right now isn't always serving the purpose it was built for. Making that type of recommendation is always a risky choice.

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  73. I wouldn't have worded it quite so (in response to Jack Holt) but I wonder why you think you're so important that twitter or anyone else who isn't your “devoted follower” should care whether you go on hiatus or not. By the way, the words “permanently” and “hiatus” conflict with each other. Just fyi.

    Good luck in your quest to overthrow something that gets more attention than you!

  74. Please do not damage our expensive screen door by hitting it with your ass on the way out.

    Thank you.

  75. Twitter is FREE to you. Go ahead and 'hiatus' or leave if you want. I find it funny that people (who most have never heard of) feel the need to 'announce' this to get attention for themselves. Please tell me why this is important in the grand scheme of life?

    While I have a twitter account, (no, no one has ever heard of me) I know i get what I pay for! If Twitter were a paid service perhaps it then is worthy of moaning and complaining about it based on its issues.

  76. Thanks Daniel – I agree. FriendFeed is not quite a messaging tool at the
    moment, perhaps it never will be (my hope is that it will). That's why I
    think identi.ca is a welcome site in the meantime. I think the two can
    compliment each other quite well if you can figure out a way that works for
    you.

  77. Jack woah! Can you back that up with some data that supports what you're
    accusing me of? Those are some pretty bold personal attacks you're making.
    Did I do something to offend you?

  78. goldmourn, if you think I'm doing this to get attention, you're sorely
    mistaken. I actually stated it on Twitter and identi.ca yesterday and was
    avoiding writing a blog post about it, until I started getting people asking
    me why I was and wasn't posting on Twitter. This was my explanation to
    those asking, and my hope is that it can be an informative piece for others
    that want to do the same. If you don't want to do the same, so be it – I
    even said in the post I don't expect everyone to do it. I'm just taking a
    stand many other bloggers, despite their complaints, aren't taking.
    BTW, this isn't a “quest” – it's simply what I'm going to do, period. You
    can follow me if you want and do it too, or stay on Twitter, I don't care.
    I simply want you to know why I want to leave Twitter and why I don't think
    it's the best service to stick around with out there. I'd love some
    constructive criticism from people like “this is why you should stick
    around”, rather than “you're a douchebag” if you don't agree with me.

  79. That's fine – I wasn't doing it to get you or your 10,000 devoted followers'
    attention. This is simply why I want to leave Twitter. You can do what you
    want. I hope you'll at least listen to my reasoning though.

  80. jay, see my response to goldmourn. I could care less if this gets any
    attention – I hope it doesn't. It was simply a response to those that had
    asked. True, Twitter is free to me, but so is identi.ca and so is
    FriendFeed, and for the reasons I stated I'll be over there much more now.

  81. I certainly hope I don't become famous for this – it wasn't meant to get
    attention. Clearly I've offended some people for some reason though. I
    don't make any money from this blog – I have no reason to become famous for
    it, it's mostly a hobby.

  82. Wow how uncalled for, if you don't like it don't comment. Scum like you shouldn't be commenting.

  83. That's understandable, and you're the first constructive comment I've seen
    in criticism. Thank you. The post was originally intended for existing
    readers of my blog and existing followers on Twitter that understand where
    I'm coming from. What has happened is it has shown up on Techmeme now and
    those not used to previous posts of mine on my blog are reading it, and
    aren't used to the troubles and love-hate relationship I've had with Twitter
    in the past.
    I wrote this simply to share reasons, rather than just “I'm leaving, bye”
    (which I actually did on Twitter and Identi.ca and I had followers asking me
    why, and why I was still posting on and off). I also hope this can help
    others that might be wanting to find a way to do the same thing. I
    certainly wasn't looking for the attention it has clearly gotten – it was
    intended to be informative.

  84. “Yesterday I announced I am permanently and officially on hiatus from Twitter.”

    Is it a hiatus, or is it permanent?

    Figure that out and maybe I'll read more.

  85. So lemme get this straight… It's the last straw… You're leaving… They've gone too far this time……. So you're gonna stick around and just make fewer posts. Now that's a steel pair! U show em.

  86. Ah, I'm sorry to see you go. I read the comments just now and just wanted to say, 'Wow!' you handled the criticisms and the negativity very well and didn't lose your cool for any of them. It's good to see that there are people like you.

  87. Ah, I'm sorry to see you go. I read the comments just now and just wanted to say, 'Wow!' you handled the criticisms and the negativity very well and didn't lose your cool for any of them. It's good to see that there are people like you.

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