I've had a few emails from readers since quitting Tech Twitter on Saturday asking why I did it. There were various reasons. The tech side of Twitter has just become boring to me now. It feels like a chore to participate. I'm sure there are some things (and people) I'll miss but not enough to wade through the nonsense I read every day.
Here's a few specific reasons.
I participated in a fair few of these and every time, no matter what the subject matter or who the other person(s) was, we looked like idiots. I never liked watching them and I always regretted getting involved in them. Sadly some people can't accept when they are wrong and often confuse their opinion with fact.
I'll hold my hands up and say I've done this but it doesn't mean I enjoy it. It's like the Mcdonalds of Twitter. It's easy, cheap and is satisfying for all off 5 minutes than afterwards you just spend the next few hours regretting the decision.
This is just stupid. The epitome of an in-joke. It doesn't make sense by design and serves only to confuse your followers. It's a pointless endeavour.
This is a particular bugbear of mine. Every day I'd read a tweet from someone proclaiming to know what the "average person" wants and they'd never provide any evidence to back it up. It's usually in an attempt to win an argument or prove a point but it's never valid. I don't know of anybody who considers themselves an 'average' person because there is no such thing. Average is, by definition, the data accrued from many results and then divided by the number of people in that result.
Claiming to know what the average person wants is just a lame attempt to make it seem like you a) know what the hell you're talking about and b) that your somehow in tune with the wider world and have your ear so close to the ground you somehow represent the people. All you can ever really say is what you want, you might be able to say what a friend or family member wants but please, never be under the illusion that because you've spoken to even 500 people that you somehow represent the millions upon millions who could potentially by a product or use a service. You don't. You're just another person with a twitter account.
People are obsessed by how many people enjoy the tweets of someone else. It's an irrelevant metric. You can't do anything with those followers. You can maybe "reach" more people but that's it. People also pay too much attention to who follows who. Even going as far as to congratulate each other when an internet famous person gets involved.
As an example, a few weeks ago one of my posts here was shared by Casey Liss. I thanked him and moved on. But people were tweeting me, DM'ing me and emailing me to A) say well done and B) asking me how it affected my traffic. Long story short, it didn't affect it that much. There was a slight bump after he tweeted it but nothing major (a few hundred views).
I don't see this as an achievement. I have nothing against Casey, I think he's a smart guy and I enjoy listening to him on ATP but he's no more important or relevant than any of my readers. I'm sure if you asked him he won't consider himself any more special than the rest of us and I don't either. I don't consider anyone on Twitter or in life to be above or below me.
This kind of leads from the previous one. When someone is linked by or spoken about, they become increasingly smug about. They insist on referencing it every few hours, they'll say something like "Oh this is what it's like to be Retweeted by such and such" looking for pats on the back from their peers for this monumental achievement. Congratulations, you managed to get a fellow Twitter user to touch a certain part of their screen. Please, rush off and tell your parents, they'll be so proud of you.
That's what it boils down to is outside of our bubble, nobody really cares. If I was to sell someone at work "Hey guess what, Casey Liss liked something I wrote" they'd probably respond with "Who the fuck is Casey Liss" and it wouldn't be the in joke that we all share because they wouldn't know who Marco and Siracusa are either.
Smugness manifests itself when people are right as well. Normally after they've had a lucky guess about a product launch or an acquisition. People will use terms like "Called it" and usually link back to their tweet declaring that "Apple should totally buy Beats". Again this is not an achievement. You guessed correctly, well done, now move on.
Picking a side
You have to pick a side. Twitter users seem incapable of comprehending that you can like Samsung as a company but you can dislike some of the things they do. You're forced to be black and white and you can't change your mind.
I worked at both Samsung and Apple and I've seen people struggle to comprehend how this is even possible. Nobody cares that Apple offered me a job when I was working at Samsung. Nobody cares that they asked me questions about how Samsung worked internally. If that had happened the other way round though it's be different.
Samsung is a good company, they don't do everything perfectly but no company does. They are just the company it's cool to hate at the moment. Apple has been through this a few times as well. Where all the negative stories are repeated and reported ad-nauseum and the good stories are buried.
Every story has a narrative and if you don't stick to or choose to believe that narrative then you're a fool (or so says Twitter). The Samsung example above is a good one. Others are that Google is now evil. Samsung is a copycat (Xiaomi is now taking that one over). Anyone who uses a Blackberry is an idiot. The list goes on and on.
This is a relatively new one. This phenomenon is spread by those people who are interested in the tech industry but want everyone to know that they are above it, that they grok it on a higher level than you could even comprehend.
They'll say things like "You can't delay an unannounced product" or mock the "Internet Outrage Machine" or make up cute little words like "Commentariat" or "Blogosphere". These people have now gone above commenting on the tech industry itself and are now commenting on the people who comment on the tech industry. They watch them, they mock them, they call them out for being "stupid".
They make the same terrible jokes all the time as well. Whenever theres an Apple earnings call they'll invariably tweet something like "Apple made a ton of money, shareholders freak out" or they'll pick on their favourite websites like MacRumours or 9to5mac.
Lastly these people will belittle any rumour that doesn't fit in with their worldview of Apple. I've said before and I'll say it again, unless you have specific evidence to the contrary you've no right to dismiss a rumour any more than I have a right to dispute what you had for breakfast this morning.
In reality they are just like the rest of us. They aren't any smarter or any more self aware, they're just trying to differentiate themselves by pretending to be smarter than the rest of us.
As you can see there's a lot of things that frustrate me about tech Twitter. Maybe that's because of the people I follow but I can't be bothered vetting each person. I'm still following a handful as those people don't really participate in any of the above nonsense.
It's been over 24 hours since I unfollowed almost everyone who does participate in it and my Timeline is much better for it. I haven't seen a single argument nor have I missed any news. Grass is greener, the air is fresher, puppies are cuter. The world is a better place.