Jeremy Felt

The return of a useable Twitter

A few things have aligned recently to make Twitter very much useable again. This is great (I think) because I’ve been riding that line where I almost quit Twitter for quite a while.

First, Google started their Digital Wellbeing beta for Pixel users. This allowed me to set a daily limit of 30 minutes on the Twitter app, which has been great at lessening the overall amount of time I spend on Twitter.

During the first few weeks I hit the 30 minute mark every day. At that point the app closes and the phone doesn’t let me access it again until 12am. Recently, my habit of casually opening the app during free moments has started to go away and I find myself with only 15 or 20 minutes of total activity.

Granted, this doesn’t take into account browser activity on my laptop, but it does go a long way in reducing that reliance on Twitter to fill short blank moments throughout the day.

Second, a couple weeks ago Twitter made changes for people that had chosen not to “show the best tweets first”. Now, after disabling that setting, I don’t see any algorithmic “so and so liked this” tweets or the out-of-order tweets from earlier in the day.

Finally, Twitter (for me) has returned to a reverse chronological display of things that people I follow have tweeted.

And third! Thanks to a great post from Glitch, I learned of an excellent bot made by Julia Evans that will turn off all retweets on Twitter. This setting is available to you by default for each of the people that you follow. The bot goes through all of them automatically and changes the setting to disabled.

Now I only see things that people have actually posted on Twitter rather than “engaged” with via the over-present UI for retweeting and liking things.

The combination of these three things has made Twitter reach the point where I’m actually looking for people to follow again rather than continuing to reduce the number. Imagine the world!

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