An Elegy for Twitter?

I avoid talking about current events and divisive topics on this blog, but there are some things I want to share about the state of Twitter and what the site means/meant to me.

For the unfamiliar: Elon Musk’s recent acquisition of Twitter is causing a ruckus. His big plans for the micro-blogging site are not sitting well with many of the users. Plans like instituting an $8 monthly subscription that allows your tweets priority over others. This has spawned an exodus from the site.

To say that Twitter means a lot to me is an understatement. When I would mention that I was on Twitter, people would often cringe. The site has a reputation as a toxic environment, a cesspool, a place where people see who can shout the loudest. But in my tiny little corner of the site—the bizarro fiction community—I rarely experienced this. Sure, writers have as many flaws as everyone else. But there was always a spirit of camaraderie.

I posted my first tweet in January of 2018. I had left Facebook a while back and wanted a way to talk with like-minded people about books and writing. My Uncle Tim showed me the ropes and I blundered in. At the time, I wanted to be a sci-fi/fantasy writer and followed every genre author I’d read. I still remember shrieking with excitement at the gym when an author whose work I admired followed me back.

It wasn’t long before I spotted the word “bizarro fiction” in the bio of one of the authors I followed, opening a whole new world for me. I’ve told this story several times before on this blog. Suffice it to say, it forever changed me as a writer.

Without Twitter, Babou 691 wouldn’t have existed. The reception that my blog got there inspired me to start the magazine in the first place. It was where I met my co-editor as well as many of the contributors. The account I created for the magazine was our main source of communication and promotion with our audience, and the majority of our readership came from people clicking our links there.

In the years that I was on Twitter, I made dozens of friends, a number of whom I have since met in person. They promoted me and I promoted them. I discovered so many good books, learned so many new things. I had wanted to be part of a community of writers since I penned my first story. Twitter made that a reality.

I left for an extended hiatus in June of 2021. My mental health was not in the best place, and while I enjoyed the interactions, the stress was taking a toll on me. I always planned to return. In fact, I was hoping to return by the end of this year…

But with these changes, I don’t know. I feel like it won’t be the same place. So instead, I’ll wait it out. Maybe the people leaving Twitter are alarmists? I don’t know. I’ll see what happens.

If this is Twitter’s demise, I can at least remember it as the site that gave me so much.

Tchau,

3 thoughts on “An Elegy for Twitter?

  1. Nice reflection. It’s really a shit show right now. Even if things stabilize I don’t know if I can support anything Musk. He’s a terrible human and the way he’s handled the transition is criminal. He’s ruined lives, uprooted families, and destabilized a platform many depend on, all for his ego. Twitter didn’t actively seek an offer from him. He’s basically a corporate raider. I haven’t deleted my account yet, but might. Who knows, he may push Twitter declare bankruptcy before I get around it.

    I’m thinking you should write a bizarro piece about a melomaniac billionaire who is being controlled by alien snails his brain. You’d have no trouble finding real-world inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

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