What am I doing on twitter?

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

(:description Any comments please make directly on my blog posts, If you are interested in why I left twitter, read this... MGIMAGE /uploads/images/Blog/2019-01-16-MGarcia-org-blog-RSS-to-twitter.jpg

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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.
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 Overall, I think twitter is a toxic and narcissistic place of over conformity and this is why I'm no longer active on twitter.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 on twitter 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 BS is 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, I'd just block them.
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 I avoid.

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.

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.

To me, true Identity Politics is individualism, not the Intersectionality nonsense.

Here is one example that stuck with me, I've followed 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? do they care?

Offensive or not, it's been covered many times and will continue to be so, because it was a very popular song.

  youtube music video clip 

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, 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.

The Perpetual Feed

Lastly, and the worse of all is the never ending wall of text, images and videos. With pretty interaction effects and dopamine inducing notifications. 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 on 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!

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.
But I don'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, which I've integrated on my site menu.

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 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.

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