There’s been more than enough “takes” on the Twitter implosion at the hands of he whom I may only refer to as the Dark Lord of Twitdor. I do not dwell nearly in the muck of it as much as many colleagues. By not putting my face in the public algorithmitized stream (hello lists, columns, thanks Tweetdeck) and skimming past the doom posts, I still get many quality bits of shiny flakes from the bag of gold.

Embedded in the misplaced idea that any privately owned entity (or actually any service managed/controlled by someone other than you) is a “town square” is also that it was a place to rely on said entity to be a source of stuff you made/said.

Even with this very kind shout out from a respected colleague (hi Wes) who in talking of Twitter as one of those trash cans full of flames…

Once twitter self destructs, in this future dead tweet Wes Fryer shared a link to part of a podcast talking about the forsaken idea of reclaiming the web.

… Wes describes Twitter as a place he counted on to share his out loud thinking and the web resources he shared links for. Twitter is his archive.

I’ve only shaken my head in wonder over those (questionable) assertions that Twitter replaced the use of Feed Readers. All these people talking now about dusting off their abandoned blogs? Yeah right, go ahead and light up my lonely RSS Reader (another forsaken tool, yet still an Indispensable one that actually does save time) Sure they fell into the act of hoisting their thinking as those THREAD! 1/92 type efforts.

I’m not here to harken back to some golden days of yore, but as much as Twitter as a company has devolved, there is a bit of a Pogo Problem in that we collectively poured ourselves into some corporate coffers and neglected, despite plenty of signs, that we, or data are the product.

My practice is and has been always to think of what comes out of me into social media is just exhaust (we know its exhausting) for content, information, media I have organized in places I manage.

So that 15 Gb of stuff in my twitter data export is all expendable, and to me, it has no value or worth, it just floats as gas out of the tailpipe.

Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Archive

There’s lots of rushes to archive one’s twitter past. What the bleep will you do with it? I actually have been doing this ongoing for years at tweets.cogdogblog.com (actually a redirect to where they are housed in GitHub). It updates itself, all credit to the genius of Martin Hawksey. The histograms suggest my own arc of activity over time.

My co-claimed twitter archive at tweets.cogdogblog.com

Yes, I know people have shared the command line judo approaches to rejigging the links which will go when t.co vanishes. I am not saying there’s not a good reason to do this, but I feel fine if it all vanished at anytime. My attachment is not in the tweets, but all the connections things that emerged from them.

It’s more out of curiosity and wanting to see how it works that I have tried the Internet Archive’s service to archive one’s tweets (mine keeps failing, must be the 100Mb+ size of the tweets.js archive?). I’ve thought too about trying the WP-CLI method of creating a WordPress hosted archive but less about needing the archive and more wanting to be able to understand how it works.

Others may have different needs, but I can’t see needing much of anything beyond what I have now in those 15+years of nattering. Anything I have posted there comes from my other content.

I’m Not a Deleter

Hey it’s your account and you can do with it what you want, but I have no need or desire to burn down my accounts. See the statement above about its null value to me. Will that really have any kind of impact? This is not my song.

Yes, Twitter may/likely/will dissolve and all the links I embedded, many right here will go belly up. But why just go ripping out the fabric of the web? There’s more than an ocean of linkrot, why deliberately create more? Do you really think that’s going to impact or affect the Dark Lord of Twitdor?

Twitter is Not My Link Warehouse

Yes my Pinboard looks so old school but what it does is powerful. If you are trusting Twitter to save your links, bookmarks, then I have that ocean front property in the desert to sell you.

There’s nothing more old web school than social bookmarking, though it’s hardly a social act any more. But the same thing that made delic.io.us a giddy thing in like 2006 works now for me insanely well. I use Javascript bookmark tools in the browser and on my mobile phone to add links organized by messy tags to my Pinboard account… and it has stuff I have bookmarked back to like 2004.

If it ever goes belly up? Well the file format of export turns out to be html. Hardly much to be worried about.

This is how an exhaust strategy goes. Anything I find or share out to twitter of importance to me is bookmarked first. And I have set up a nifty thing where stuff I bookmark with a cooltech tag is automatically tweeted and now tooted out using IFTTT. I organize my stuff, it goes out to social media as exhaust.

And heck, another small pieces loosely joined gimmick- the same stuff I can embed via RSS into my blog as a dynamically updated page. Cool.

My Flickr Too is Fueled by Exhaust

Anyone hanging around this blog, all 8 of them, will know my flickr love (just earlier today a hug was sent). Even closing in on 70000 shared photos there my photo process (involving using the unsupported Apple Aperture software on a 10 year laptop running Mojave OS) is one designed that all my photos are organized, captioned, tagged, stored on my own hard drives before sharing to flickr. My photos go out from Aperture with embedded metadata including credit to me and indication of my CC0 licenses.

Any place they go- twitter, Instagram (where you cannot even search or license or even add URLs in captions for your own photos) is not my primary storage, it’s all exhaust. Poof!

Maybe I’m Just Blowing Smoke

I am by no means prognosticating any kind of method that would work for anyone else. But honestly, if you count on any outside party- Twitter, Apple, Instagram, that company that rhymes with Spacehook, Google, even Mastodon to be the source of your stuff that you have not organized yourself… well you are subject to their whims.

The one thing you can count in is that there is always going to be more verses this song

The Return to the Twitter Life Cycle Curve

Maybe Twitter has finally come back to the origin point on my 2007 graphic and the ???? I had on the end of the curve was maybe peak 2015?

Twitter Life Cycle with apologies to Kathy Sierra is the rise of interest level in the beginning “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard off” to a peak of “I can’t stop”…

This was all in the all playful sense of Twitter circa 2007, when really one’s first reaction was “This is the dumbest thing I ever heard of”… I believe we might be returning to that datapoint. But maybe not.

This whole thing was in honor of the inspiring [blog!]posts Kathy Sierra made back in the day (look even her old typepad blog is there, she’s not a deleter, or maybe just forgot about it? She’s still at it at Serious Pony). I had originally posted this on a (now dead) Wikispaces site, blogged and tweeted it and invited anyone to add their own story of hopping on the life cycle curve… hey, I just found my archived copy of this — there’s 89 stories attached to it.

As my story goes, I believe Kathy saw this and perhaps even retweeted it. After seeing her speak at SXSW in 2008 and I getting to speak at the same WordCamp conference she keynoted, I asked Matt Mullenweg how he got her to the conference. That’s a whole other story, but it ultimately led me to have her keynote at the 2009 NMC conference I helped run.

I came back to this in December 2016….

where I quote myself:

A chunk of the public discussion and banter I enjoy has maybe slipped into Slacks. Or maybe it’s all happening in Facebook, a place I no longer exist. And recently lot of colleagues are excited about a re-discovered conversations in Mastodon others are status-ing away at a space D’Arcy Norman spun out (see the valuable list of alt-spaces D’Arcy outlines).

https://cogdogblog.com/2016/12/next-curve/

Alas at 2022 the Twitter Life Cycle curve nose dives back again … That was the dumbest thing I spent 15 years doing? No, not for me.

Why am I pulling out this yarn thread? I have all the pieces stitched from my blog posts since 2003, my flickr photo stream since 2004, all of it my very own reference system. The engine stuff that can generate exhaust.

Sure you can just jump to Mastodon and do the same thing. It’s really the same issue.

I cannot say this works for anyone else. But it does for me. Go try to wrap your arms around your exhaust[ed] tweets.


Featured Image: This is from an old VW Beetle named “Bob” owned by a former neighbor in Arizona. Sure you can find pretty photos in Unsplash, but do they ever come with a story?

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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