What am I doing on twitter?

January 15, 2019, at 02:44 PM by mgarcia in 2019, Blog, GameDev, Industry (0 comments)

Title: What am I doing on twitter? Author: mgarcia Date: 2019-01-15 14:44 +1100 Tags: 2019, Blog, GameDev, Industry Comments: Open

Is Twitter A Net Positive On My Life?

This is something I've been gearing up to do lately, reduce my social media presence, specifically twitter.
I've deleted my old account and created a new one which will serve as just a simple RSS feed for twitter users (or addicts).
I will not log in to twitter and use it, but my script will follow you back if you choose to follow the feed.

Before I say why I'm leaving it, I want to say some things positive about it.

It's a huge directory of smart and interesting people which makes contacting them very very easy.
I've tracked down ex Net Yaroze members and even tweeted at John Romero a few times about Net Yaroze and he's replied, and that's pretty cool!
But I wonder if twitter didn't exist, if I could have done the same, via email or website blogs or articles. Like Andy Gavin does on his blog.

And well that's it... Overall, I think twitter is a toxic and narcissistic place of over conformity and this is why I'm no longer active on twitter. But here's some details, the list is ordered from just annoying to worse.

Block Is The New Black

I wouldn't say I'm very controversial, but I guess I'm old fashioned, cynical and yes, I do call out BS. Lately, I've noticed the retweets from a Spanish developer were mostly blocked to me. I was curious and found a bot which checks how many block lists your on, I was on one very very big one.

What surprised me was that you can follow other people's block list and if you follow the biggest list I would be blocked. The cringie thing is, I can bet the list was created by a script bot and not a human. Which to me means there's a bot farming for human interactions and then blocking them and people follow them to remove other people from their feeds, that's just crazy to me!

Maybe twitter's algorithm is so extremely progressive that it thinks that the more people you block, the more it thinks your a victim being oppressed and the more your voice needs to be heard, I wouldn't be surprised. Anyway, blocking for nothing is really antisocial and dehumanizing behavior, and should be a lot harder to block then what it is now.

Not Being "On Topic"

Yes, I like being on topic and I like following others with their main topics. My topic is gamedev, especially retro, custom C/C++ gamedev tech and the older way of doing things.

And sure, we all have bad days, we are all human and it's too easy to tweet things in a mood, I've been guilty of this and regretted it. Someone will see it and be impacted, maybe in passing, maybe subconsciously or worse. From my experience, specifically on twitter, is that there are a few actually interesting and social people that do it "right". I don't have that will power. But I don't post what I eat everyday or political rants either and nor did I want to see it from others, unless of course, your feed is just that.

Being A Number

I hate seeing numbers, I know a little about the psychology of how social media platforms work. And those numbers are mostly for the algorithms and the narcissist, not normal people. But I've never aspired to be a popular person, I think we're all human and we all have our flaws.

Regardless, twitter's worse number is the followers count. There's a horrible and very antisocial stigma that if your following count is greater then your follower count, you're uncool or something... this bullshit is again, dehumanizing and twitter supports this mentality because there's no way to hide the numbers (which you can on youtube).

In my ignorance, I played to this, well kind of anyway. I had loose rules about who to follow back and why. Here are the ones I remember:

  • Following less then 5k, anymore is most likely a bot trolling for follow backs.
  • No accounts with their feeds of just themselves - it's antisocial.
  • must be on a topic I like, ie retro or gamedev... or something special, not just I'm making a game with X engine.
  • preferably tweeted at me in a conversation or introduction... amazing how most don't even do this.
  • Don't spam direct message me after I follow you like a bot, I would unfollow.
Social means Marketing

Lets face it, as this decade comes to a close, it's safe to say there are more bots or scripts on "Social Media" then actual humans.
And what do these bots do? marketing something to humans, naturally!
But it's just not bots that market, oh no.
We've all seen users that just have a feed of themselves, if you haven't, it looks like this:

Image: A twitter account feed of just themselves

When social media feels antisocial

In a world of sheep (followers), the bots might not be the shepards (followees) of the world, but are definitely their tools (sheep dogs).
And yet social sites encourage their use by providing API's to any developers.

So, these days I believe "Social Media" to be nothing more then an interactive link aggregation site or an RSS feed, so that's how I treat it.
I don't supply it my time and content, instead links to my content on my (clunky and boring) site, where if anyone wants to actually be "social", they can in the comments.

Websites, blogs, RSS feeds and even webrings, might all sound old school and regressive, but I'm definitely not the only one.

Ideologies And Virtues

This one upsets me.. and yes it triggers me!
This transcends plain politics, into personal ethics and morality.

The thought that there are people that lecture others on, what to think, do and say.. and guilt you with horrible labels (something-ist, something-phobic, etc), if you don't agree, perplexes me!

Twitter is full of young (and a few older) people trying to out do each other on virtues ( keyboard virtue warriors ). I don't read Polygon, Kotaku or Vox etc for this reason, they write ridiculous & disingenuous, clickbait articles based on so called virtues, here is a clear example.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XHlPWTUeBk 

David Jaffe Confrontation With Ben Kuchera (Polygon)

At the same time, they attack the game developers or the people they write for, the gamers that want to read about games, all to indoctrinate the readers into their cult-like ideologies. It sounds absurd put that way, but that's what critical theory is (everything is problematic).

Hate, cruelty and double standards are all morally justified. Reading about all this is very negative and counter productive in the long run.

They're not virtuous, helping the world, instead they are like narcissistic busy bodies, looking for any "micro aggression" for quick sugary power trips, at the expense of others, egotistical bullies. Do they realize how unprofessional it looks? They are taking time away from whatever it is they should be focused on, easily distracted by things which don't concern them at all?

Here is one example that stuck with me, I used to follow and listened to Rami, a game developer. He's a smart guy, talks from real experiences and tells it how it is and I still recommend him to others interested in gamedev.
Maybe I'm old and I will never get this, but to me it sounds worse then the strict "Political Correctness" the young conservative generations before the 1960's had to endure!

Image: Polygon tweets about new xbox code name. my anaconda dont my anaconda dont my anaconda dont want none unless you got games, hon. Rami retweets saying, Twitter pro tip for today, if you're tweeting a joke that requires people to understand recent news (for example that the next Xbox is reportedly code-named Anaconda) because otherwise it might read like a sexist joke, it might be a good idea to not tweet that joke.

Rami Ismail: Call out culture, safetyism morality.

It's a reference to a song from the early 90's, which by today's world is no doubt (sadly) offensive to many groups. But Rami is suggesting those lyrics, by itself, is offensive, is it really? If you don't know the reference is it still a joke? and is it still offensive? And more importantly, what do the fan's of Rami's games think? or his piers in the industry?

Offensive or not, it's been an influence in music and culture, but you can decide for yourself, Sir Mix A Lot Baby Got Back (HD)

Hive Mind Mentality

The gamedev (indies) community, on the internet is relatively a small one.
Game development, being mostly a difficult thing to achieve (a finished product), requires a lot of focus. And when there's no focus, there's a lot of procrastination online.

The problem is that they read and listen to each other in that same community and rarely venture out of it, parroting themselves, consciously or otherwise.

GameDev on social media (probably all of social media as a whole) is mostly a stale echo chamber of thoughts, with no room for grey or individualism, it's all black and white, right and wrong.

I don't expect a deep and enlightening conversation on twitter, it's not made for that. Instead, it's very common to be block, just in case your independent thoughts and experiences differ from the mob narrative.

We naively give credibility to people with twitter accounts with 10's of thousands of followers (because we don't know what a follow/unfollow script is?). And listen to the same old generic, happy and inclusive advice, never doubting if they actually know what their talking about (because it's violence to deny someone's fictional reality?).

We are all individuals and internet wisdom is seldom right, often targeted at the lowest common denominator. I see all the time, the same generic engines being recommended, even to Computer Science students or graduates, this is really sad.

Where they had an opportunity to go deep into their trade, lower level computer programming with industry standard toolchains and environments, but the internet, in all it's unfounded and generic wisdom has decided they should instead focus on a prebuilt framework with a high level scripting language in a proprietary UI.

The learning opportunity with gamedev is huge, and ironically the most who should benefit from it are the programmers, all the different kinds of programmers, instead if you want to do anything different contra to the generic advice be prepared for a wave of well meaning and self-important advice givers, like this guy .

Edmund McMillen (Super meat boy developer) talking about the indie gamedev culture in 2014....

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzT4qcrUVp4 

Indie game development culture and the IGF GDC IGDA UBM gamasutra corruption

Overly Political

I've never paid attention to politics, I've always felt my vote doesn't matter. But there's no escaping it on twitter. In fact most young, so called "game developers" (IndeDev's) state, "everything is political!" - roles eyes -
It's just another popularity contest and distraction I avoid.

The New MySpace

Remember MySpace.com? it was the "social media" of the early 2000's and it's largest demographic were creative people, specifically musicians.

It went out of popularity when less specific and general social sites became popular, facebook and twitter. Twitter, because it's very fast at disseminating small packets of information (tweets), is used largely by journalists. And in our click bait world, speed is the most important concern, not correctness, not their own editorial guidelines, not ethics, just speed and views.
Of course most of these articles are opinion "drama" pieces, criticizing and insulting something current and popular with some random, absurd negative tangent or hearsay, and completely unproductive to the reader. It seems unbias research, facts and quote gathering takes too long in the social media age.

Add to this my previous points, a one sided, narrow world view, with journalist virtue boosting and sourcing each other, not only do you have a dumpster fire of a social platform but more importantly the media outlets themselves then also become low quality trash.

This behavior might have paid short term dividend, but with mass layoffs of these journalists, I'd guess to say it's not viable in the long run, and I'm sure twitter is looking closely how it handled the #LearnToCode mess.

Like with MySpace, when the audience got bored of the "same old tune", they moved to something new, diverse and balanced.

The Perpetual Feed

Compounding it all, is the never ending feed of text, images and videos. With pretty interaction effects and dopamine inducing notifications. Like a casino, it's made for addiction, to create and propagate content for it, it consumes life meaninglessly, seconds of interactions at a time, lowering your attention span.

Sure there's great information and people there, but it's mostly coincidental, things I wasn't looking for in the first place, like walking past a conversation that sounds interesting, but I'm still not going to stop, yet on twitter it's just that.

I'm a 40 year old man and I feel sorry for children using this platform and even worse having it on their mobile phones. I think it should have a minimum age of 18 or 21 years of age and government health warnings all over it, like any other highly addictive products like tobacco or alcohol. Especially considering careers are ruined from very old tweets!

Not A Fun Place

Lastly and more importantly, for the reasons explained all above, you can't laugh at yourself (let alone at others) when the majority thinks like they do.
In fact it encourages negative and hateful, outrage behavior.
And really, that is not a fun or happy place to be.
So why waist my time on something that doesn't bring happiness?

Why Did I Delete My Twitter?

Firstly, I don't have anything to hide. I like to think I was a net positive while on twitter.
And for a while (9 days), I thought I could just remove one of the things I disliked about twitter, Being A Number! So I used a private list of people I actually followed and implemented a follow back script, which would unfollow the people that don't follow me and follow back the people that actually do, I called it twitter parity at the time.

Image: My old twitter account with follow and follower numbers the same.

How to avoid the popularity contest, follow back

But, after a while the rest of the issues above were just more annoying, and I didn't want to permanently contribute to a hive site which is mostly a net negative on life in general.

My content is mine and it belongs with me, just like my blog site. I have a backup of my twitter and plan on re-posting interesting tweets here, where it belongs in the first place.

I didn't want to bait and switch my followers by changing my account to a bot, that would really piss me off. Instead, if they notice I'm gone, they can look me up.

Other Social Media Sites?

I'm not on facebook, like google, it's too much information for one company, so I don't use it.
I use youtube to upload videos of things I find interesting and the stuff I get up to now and then.
Reddit, I find it a lot less addicting and more focused but the hive mind is definitely there. It also makes for a good bookmark site.

Links

How to get 30% happier
Jaron Lanier audiobooks
The latest youtube videos of Jaron Lanier
I'm thinking it may be good to be off social media altogether.

Conclusion

I don't know why we still call these platforms "social". It's the last thing I would call them.

Social, in real life is being in public and friendly, for a very limited time and the rest is private time. This is healthy and normal.

Social media is a 24 hours and 7 days a week, online stream of transient random mess. Feeding this isn't healthy and not normal.

We don't behave as humans in social and public setting on social validation media, instead we advertise, shit post, troll, advise, or just feed our own narcissism, in very short bursts and return to do it again a few minutes later.

If you're on twitter, just ask yourself: Is twitter a net positive on my life?

Thanks for reading.
Mike.


31th of October 2019 update

Normalized Depression

If you've read the above, you'll see the all varied mental disorders and they all lead to depression.

Although I believe everyone battles depression at different times in life, it shouldn't be normalized like social media does. It shouldn't be used as an excuse for bad ideas or bad behavior, just because social media can validate everything, it doesn't make it right. I'm talking about the celebration of nihilistic culture and values.

Chronic depression, is a serious illness, which needs serious treatment! If you are battling depression, I would highly recommend to limit or stop any social media and youtube, anything that you binge on, slow it down or stop it!

Most of your social media friends and followers aren't real. They don't really care about you as a person. If you did something wrong, long gone are the days where a caring person would tell you privately, instead will most likely call you out for social validation points, which reminds me of an Aldi ad:

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQWanaemr2I 

Aldi points ad - This is you on social media, addiction and disorders

Suicide

Have you ever watched a movie called Pump Up The Volume? it was an edgy teen movie from the early 1990's, here is the suicide call scene.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_fdST0L_iQ 

Pump up the volume movie - depression and suicide scene

I'd say it's a normal high school with normal teens, well social media reminds me of this school, with rules, expectations, bullying, pier pressure, sociability etc, etc. Besides there's respite after school, weekends and holidays, and the school is limited to a few 100 people with similar ages students. All the normal things kids experience growing up, move on from, and grow into adulthood.

What if you couldn't escape this school? What if it's on 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, tethered everywhere with you, now add millions of people from different places, backgrounds and ages, and that's a serious problem!

via Jason Rohrer, "New nickname for a smartphone: suicide box"

If you look at the graph it spikes up at around 2007, by then facebook, twitter and reddit were well established sites, it's also the same year the iPhone launched, with very few apps in the stores and a clunky web browser, I doubt many teens were using social media on their new iPhones in 2007. I would guess the 2010 and later spikes would be the mobile phone effect, after the prices have come down and the apps improved.

To be clear, I don't think mobile phones are the problem, nor do I think data on a mobile phone is an issue either. The first 'smart phone' I owned was the Motorola E1000 in 2005 on the 3G network, it did everything, live stream videos, emails, play games (java) and surf the web (WAP and HTML). What I think is the problem (the drug) is the social media platforms themselves, the mobile phones with data, are just the enablers (the pipe or needle).

This doesn't just effect teenagers, if you're too invested in social media, you may feel trapped and locked into it, unfortunately two recent suicides remind me of this.

1. Desmond

Desmond, was a popular social media personality, in his last video uploaded he explains the dangers of social media addiction, listen to him.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvoBxFTW1-E 

Desmond talks about the dangers of social media addiction.

2. Alec

It's no secret, the crazy intersectionalist feminists on twitter have always wanted a #metoo story the size of 'Harvey Weinstein' in the video game industry.

At the 2018 GDC awards, Nolan Bushnell was going to be presented with his well deserved Pioneer Award, instead he got a witch hunt, even though, his actual staff from the 70's and 80's spoke up for him on his behalf. So after the targeted harassment campaign, the stripping of his Pioneer Award and unnecessarily ruining his career and name, it turned into into a nothing burger.

Now in 2019, Alec was an accomplished game developer, who had dated Zoe in 2012, and in August 2019 she tweeted unfounded #metoo allegations and as I posted in my October update....


White straight male, easy target, call-out culture and social outrage currency, high youth mental disorders and suicides. But nobody can see past their intersectionality group and their "systems of oppression" so he doesn't matter... Remorse it seems isn't virtuous.

Very very sad..

I wish I could say I'm surprised this kind of targeted harassment still takes place on twitter and Zoe gets to keep her account like nothing happened, but I'm not, it's just how the dumpster fire of a platform operates and encourages. Obviously Zoe doesn't have the will power to leave it even after driving someone to suicide!

What a horrible sword (twitter) to live and die by.

Of course if the people involved had opposite genitals (or other innate traits, IE skin colour, sexual preference, country of birth etc) it wouldn't have happened, this is the problem with the intersectionality cult, everyone's group is more important and all humanity is lost.

Take heed, if you are a straight white male (or just value your sanity), don't be so invested in any social media that you can't live without it, especially twitter! You are it's easy, low hanging prey, you're much safer on a motorcycle riding for 12 hours straight!

I've read some articles that say that being critical of the #metoo movement is 'male fragility', I think they are twitter addicts with journalism fragility!

Speaking of real male fragility, male's are more likely to attempt and actually commit suicide, most male suicides are due to relationship breakdowns, be it a partner, employment and now, social media platforms!
Yet, Social media seems against any kind of men's help (men's services are generally limited to corrective behavior ones), this has been the trend for decades on television and western society in general.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTPuQqcrVFc 

Australian gov ad: Emotional abuse - via proxy

The real message of the TV ad is that psychological abuse in front of children is child abuse which is fare enough, but it also has a double standard, very similar to the twitter logic, that you can't be racist to white people, and so you can't be sexist or abusive to men, which is ridiculous! Look at the little girls look at the end, as she looks him up and down :/

Maybe Desmond and Alex, feared being 'canceled' off social media, if an angry mob doesn't drive you off it, like Phil Fish, then a halfwit twitter admin could permanently ban your account, for whatever reason they like. FYI: Phil Fish is still making video games via his successful games studio.

Females on social media platforms also have problems, but not from "toxic masculinity" as the mainstream media would want you to believe, but antisocial behavior and bullying by other females.

Remember, there is more life off social media platforms, then on it!

If you are having problems with depression, I would recommend leaving social media cold turkey and replacing that time focusing on something else, like off line hobbies, or learning new things.

If you still want an online presence consider starting a blog, read and comment on other blogs, use RSS etc.

If you are having thoughts of suicide please get real help, reach out to real people and talk, never text and never social media!




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