1. 16
  1. 11

    I’m only 25 but I feel like an old man screaming into the wind when it comes to Twitter and the like. The generation before me had this stuff figured out ages ago with self-hosted blogs / RSS / old school BBS systems.

    It confuses me to no end that so many brilliant minds flock to Twitter for technical discussion about math / cs / programming topics. The UI gets worse with every update–I am perpetually confused about how to follow a thread of conversation. Let me hide all retweets. Show me everything in chronological order.

    Worst of all, most people don’t separate their work and personal accounts. I stopped following a Columbia CS professor because he would constantly post inane questions like “is this avocado with black spots safe to eat?”

    1. 3

      I’m a bit older (32) but share in your frustration. I still have a 2012-era feeds export from Opera and I’m pretty sure it’s full of blogs. I’d like to see a return to everyone having one again but the unfortunate truth is no one cares to.

      1. 2

        I’m only 25 but I feel like an old man screaming into the wind when it comes to Twitter and the like. The generation before me had this stuff figured out ages ago with self-hosted blogs / RSS / old school BBS systems.

        I don’t think they solved the same problems. The value of Twitter is not just that you can broadcast a message to a huge audience, it’s that anyone in that audience can reply or amplify your message. Neither of those really works with blogs, RSS, or old-school BBSs:

        • With a blog, I can have a comment system but I either need to do a lot of moderation to avoid spam, need to use some other walled garden as a SSO, or give up on replies. If someone amplifies my message by posting about it elsewhere, I probably don’t see it unless we’re using the same pingback system.
        • With RSS, the same limitations as a blog apply, amplified by the fact that there’s no way of putting a comment system into an RSS feed.
        • With old-school BBSs, I don’t reach a wide audience because each one is a separate private ecosystem.

        Something that replaces Twitter would require:

        • A low-friction way of getting an account that worked with thousands of people’s feeds.
        • An easy way of seeing replies and replies to where people have shared my message.
        • An easy way of combatting spam / abuse.

        The first and last are somewhat in tension, because if it’s too easy to create an account then it’s also easy to create a hundred accounts and so blocking one account from being visible in replies to your posts doesn’t block the same person from being abusive with a hundred other accounts.

        1. 2

          That’s definitely a fair point. I see the HN / Lobsters system as an ideal middle ground – I have a community-curated list of interesting articles, often not in my own area of expertise, and a surprisingly high-quality comments section where I can read criticism and gain context.

          But where do these articles come from? Who decides to submit them? How would I find them without HN / Lobsters? RSS lets me follow people I already know, but content discovery is hard. I think people like me use Twitter to to solve the content discovery problem – the people I follow can easily share relevant articles that I might not otherwise find.

          Twitter’s algorithm+UI aren’t really optimized for this use case though, which I think is the root of my frustration.

        2. 1

          old school BBS systems

          Note that most communication methods in BBS are also centralized, just on smaller setups. Which may not be a bad thing for ephemeral and/or local communication, but the bigger networks (FIDO et al) were add-ons to solve a problem with the original BBS concept

        3. 3

          Very interesting write-up! I’ve been following #100binaries since day one and picked up a lot of new tools that have significantly improved many aspects of my development work, so thanks for your work on it!

          1. 2

            Wonderful, that’s great to hear.