I finally gave up on Twitter. It had been descending into mediocrity and worse for a long time. The provocation that gave me the nudge I needed was dropping in after a few days away and finding my timeline cluttered into uselessness, because their Algorithm (in its ineffable Algorithmhood) had decided to interpret “likes” as retweets. This is a feature they decided the world needed, and they decided that it was so beneficial that there would be no way to turn it off. What’s more, it comes and goes, so one cannot plan around it or adapt one’s habits to it, and when it is present, it is applied stochastically.
Consequently, the meaning of clicking the “like” icon is not constant over time. If you care at all about what your followers experience, you cannot expect taking the same action to have the same result. The software demands, by definition, insanity.
So, now I fill my subway-riding time with paperback books that I’d bought at the Harvard Bookstore warehouse sale and never gotten around to reading.
I’ve also been making a space for myself on the Mastodon decentralized social platform. My primary home in that ecosystem is @email@example.com. I’m also the Blake Stacey at mastodon.mit.edu (all that tuition had to buy me something), and at the suggestion of Evelyn Lamb, for good measure I claimed Blake Stacey at mathstodon.xyz.