What’s a tweeter to do?

Twitter’s been a big part of my life for almost nine years now. I can honestly say that in many ways it has materially changed my life for the better.

However, recently, I feel that both I and the service itself have changed. Most obviously, Twitter is now a publicly-traded company. I’ve written before about what that means for existing users.

For my part, I’m more interested in creating things of lasting value than being on the bleeding edge of the ‘news’. So much of it is distracting and takes me away from what I really value. As social networks increase, so their specific use can become diluted and the original reason for being there becomes fuzzy.

Today, after a wonderful Christmas with my family, I decided to download my Twitter archive and upload it to twitter.dougbelshaw.com. Early in 2016 I’m going to do one of the following:

  1. Delete all of my tweets and call it a day.
  2. Delete my tweets on a rolling basis (i.e. at the start of each month I’ll archive the previous month’s and then delete them)
  3. Generate primarily auto-tweets and focus on creating content that sits on servers I control.

The reason I’m keen to delete my tweets – if only on a rolling basis – is because of data mining. Increasingly, us subjects* are seen as being synonymous with our ‘data exhaust’ trail. I’m not sure that true of me, or anyone for that matter. 

By self-hosting my Twitter archive my tweets would still be publicly available. It’s just that people wouldn’t be able to (as far as I’m aware) automatically mine as part of a huge data set.

* Sadly, those of us born in, or naturalised to, the UK are ‘citizens’ only in terms of politicians’ rhetoric.