Monday, October 23, 2017

AmateurNikon is no longer on Twitter (and here's why)

Note: I am going through a very busy period, with a lot of personal & other obligations. The frequency of articles might suffer a bit for the next couple of months or so, but I expect to be back on a quasi-weekly form by Christmas. Thanks! 
Perceptive readers might have noticed that the Twitter sign is missing from the "Stay Connected" graphic above (on desktop computers). The reason is that AmateurNikon is no longer on Twitter.No, nothing controversial has happened. I did not get into a fight with someone (I'm not the kind of person who would do that, particularly online).

There are two aspects on why I deactivated AmateurNikon's Twitter account: there is an incentive aspect and a realization aspect. In other words, my hand was essentially forced, but the whole process also made me realize some things which are important, and which is the reason I decided to post about it.

It all began one fine day, when I tried to access my Twitter account. I got the notification that my account was locked due to violating the terms of service, and I could unlock it by requesting an SMS. Now, that was a huge shock, because I never spammed, mass-(un)followed, or threatened anyone. The only thing you could find on AmateurNikon's Twitter account was photos, links to AmateurNikon articles, and some occasional exchange of opinions on photography. That's it.

In any case, I followed the procedure - right after requesting an SMS and entering the received code, I was greeted with yet another message, claiming that Twitter needed to also call me with a code. Puzzled, I followed those instructions as well. I entered the second code and yes, the account was unlocked. As a result of all this, I also noticed the number of people I was following showed zero - it took hours for this to return. Well, I thought, it's taken care of now. Little did I know.

Not to tire you with details, the cycle began repeating itself. A few hours later, my account was locked again. Again I had to go through all this mess, again my page showed - for several hours - that I follow zero people. You can imagine how damaging that is for an account.

Twitter's "support" isn't. There's no way you can get a real human being to chat to, you only deal with bots (the irony... they're doing precisely what they claim they want to eradicate from Twitter). I sent tens of emails (because, in their infinite wisdom, they've made it so that it isn't enough you fill in an application online, you must then reply to an email for the process to go forward). At some point I did get a reply (clearly automated) saying the problem was now solved and they apologized for the inconvenience.

Only, you guessed it, it wasn't solved. My account kept getting locked every few hours at most - sometimes it was locked again only five minutes after I'd unlocked it - and the funny thing is that I hadn't even done anything on Twitter in the meanwhile: no update, no RT, not even liking a tweet. Nothing.

All that was the incentive part, that is, what made me feel fed up with Twitter. But now we come to the more important realization part.

I realized that Twitter is a poor platform for engaging with people. The sheer amount of noise in it is disheartening, and although I tried to keep up, at some point the whole thing degenerated into a pulp of linking, posting, mechanically disseminating repetitive things, simply trying to be heard.

I realized I didn't want to be like that.

I don't want to be supporting a system like that.
I don't want to become loud myself, simply to cover the noise.

My philosophy - in AmateurNikon and life in general - is that your every expression must be an alloy of beauty, reason, and respect. Our world is dominated by shouting children (in deceptively adult bodies) who try to attract attention to themselves by screaming and kicking. I prefer to abstain from that. So, in AmateurNikon and elsewhere, I'd rather be a message in a bottle, traveling the rolling waves of endless oceans, the water calmly lapping on my enclosure until I reach the shore. And if even one person reads the message, that's already more than enough.

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