Full episode transcript below
Hello everyone. I just wanted to make a video to mark the occasion of, it's actually a kind of a big thing because I have deleted my Twitter account. I have been, you know, like this is not something surprising to anyone who's aware of the fact that I've kind of been moving away from social media for quite some time, like the beginning of this year.
Was really sincerely, I started to moving, started to move away from social media, but even before that, I have been. Wanting to move away from it. And I did it a few years ago when I deleted my Facebook. In the beginning of this year, I put my Twitter account as a private account and I said that I will not be posting to it much.
And I didn't for the most part except to promote my videos and stuff. And I even deleted the Instagram app from my phone because it was being a huge distraction and I wanted to live offline a little bit more. So me deleting my Twitter account is not something that came out of the blue, but I did make the somewhat difficult decision yesterday to delete my Twitter account permanently.
If you go to twitter / vimoh now, you'll see an account and it was made by me, but it's not my original account. What I did was I went into my account, I changed the username to something random, then I logged out. I. Created a new account using the username WiMo, and I parked it like I didn't, I don't want someone to impersonate my me by taking up that username.
So I just took the username and I created a page and I parked it. But my Twitter account, which was started in 2006, is like more than 15 years old and had around 26,000 followers. And Like, you know, maybe 90,000 or something tweets, it's now gone. And I made the conscious decision to delete it because it appeared to me that the main reason I was staying on Twitter is because I was attached to it.
Like, you know, if you go to a city, you build a house, your kids go to school there, your spouse has her office there, and you can't leave even if you want to because you're attached to it through so many strings. So I think that Twitter was not really adding anything useful to my life. It has not added anything useful to my life for quite some time now, and the only reason I was there is because I had 26,000 followers and 15 years of history.
So that's why I was staying. That is why even though I didn't want to use it, I kept using it or I kept having an account on Twitter simply because these things are hard to let go of. But I also realize that if the account just exists, I will always be tempted to post to it. I will always get sucked into conversations. People will DM me, people will tag me, and I will not be able to escape it.
So I made the decision yesterday to actually delete my Twitter account. Today is April. Today is May one. I deleted it I think yesterday or day before yesterday. No, yesterday only I deleted it. So the reason I deleted it has, there are a few reasons behind it and I wanted to go into it.
Please bear in mind that this is not me telling other people that they should delete their Twitter account. This is just me saying why I deleted my Twitter account. And if there are people out there who resonate with these reasons, maybe you can think a little bit about why you are on Twitter and how it's not really adding much to your life.
Maybe it is adding something to your life. And if it is, I'm happy for you. But if you are someone who's just on Twitter because you think you can't live without it, maybe this video will help you make a decision about whether you should stay on or not. So let me just list out my reasons for leaving Twitter.
As I said, I have been leaving social media for quite some time, and I think social media is on the whole having a detrimental impact on the individual. The kind of impact it is having on society is another matter altogether, and I think that it may actually been having some good, good impact. Also, for example, in, in, in India right now a lot of journalists, actual journalists, Are not able to say the things that they need to say through the medium that they've chosen.
So you'll find prominent journalists leaving television news channels and starting YouTube channels because they need to do journalism and they cannot do it on television because TV media is by and large now just owned by politicians. So, There are good ways to use social media, obviously, and yeah, that's what many people are doing, but social media on the whole has also been quite a detrimental thing for democracy on the whole.
And primarily this happens because social media works on the basis of algorithmic preferences and it works on the basis of feeds, and it works on the basis of the attention economy. So. If someone can get your attention, even if it's by doing something completely ridiculous, then that person will gain more prominence on social media than someone who is doing something unglamorous.
But important. This is why random attention mongers who just go on social media to say random, outrageous things, just so people will get angry with them. They do much better than, let's say people who are talking about climate change, people who are talking about environment, people who are talking about the importance of democracy.
And even people who are saying and doing the right thing. Like, you know, the people who are talking about the importance of democracy have to do it in an outrageous way in order. To compete with the aforementioned attention manger who's just doing random, outrageous things in order to get attention. And I think that that's one side of the thing.
Like there are people who are doing outrageous things, terrible things, bad things, giving hate speeches, et cetera, on social media just to get people's attention. But then there is another thing. There are good people on social media who are opposed to those people. Who go on social media every day just to get angry.
Maybe the reason they're going is not to get angry, but one of the reasons they, one of the things that ends up happening to everyone when they get on social media, Twitter in particular, but mostly all social networks in general also, is that you go on social media and I speak from experience, within five to 10 seconds, you have blown your top off.
Because you are flipping angry. It's almost, and there is research to back this also. Some years ago there was a research done to suggest that Facebook was prioritizing posts in the algorithm, in the, in the timeline, in the feed, whatever, that got people to react more emotionally. So if something is making you extremely happy, you're more likely to see it.
If something is making you extremely angry or something is like, you know, someone is giving a hate speech and someone is talking about climate change, you are more likely to see the hate speech on social media because social media algorithms were designed to keep people on social media to people's, to draw people's attention so that they don't go away from social media.
And because of that, what happened was that social media platforms became this. Gigantic emotion machine. And not only good emotions, also bad emotions, and primarily research found that people are more likely to engage with something when the emotional the, the nature of the emotional engagement of the piece of content is negative emotions.
So if you're angry, sad, horrified, you're more likely to engage with the content and the more likely you're engaged with. The more likely you are to engage with a piece of content, the more likely it is that the ads that are showing next to that piece of content will be seen by you and the advertisers money.
The, the money that the advertise, the money that the advertiser is spending will be justified. So social media tends to be this emotion enhancing machine. And this has had several impacts on democracy and popular discourse. Of course. Now everyone is, if you, if you just go to YouTube and look at the thumbnails of news items, you'll see the kind of things that people have to say on thumbnails in order to get someone to click on it.
It is no longer enough to say prominent opposition leaders press conference. It has to say
Et cetera, et cetera. And I'm not only talking about right wing here, I'm talking about everyone. Sure there are bad people using social media for bad reasons, but even good people using social media for good reasons have to compete with, it's like that, you know, what's that phrase? Don't fight the pig.
The pig likes the murder or something. Yeah. So in order to counter the threat being presented by bad people, good people are having to jump into the mud and the end result is that there is mud everywhere. On the good side. On the bad side, right? So for me personally, Twitter became this gigantic anger machine where everyone goes to get angry.
Now, you might say that there is merit in this fight, and yes there is. This fight should be fought. Fought. But I had to question myself on whether this is the best way to fight. Is it.
Am I doing the right thing by doing exactly what the other person wants me to do? Because I hope you realize that a lot of people who say outrageous things on social media are only saying them because they want you to get angry. They want the kind of reactions you're giving them. There are troll farms.
In many places in India where politicians hire scores of interns or whatever, and they just sit there all day spreading abuse and anger on Indian social media, and the goal is to keep you talking about the abuse that they spread so that the time that you're spending countering their abuse is not spent on issues that matter.
Social media is basically a gigantic distraction machine. The day someone gives a press conference about something important and the government has to face accountability, you'll find that something strange is floated on social media so that everyone becomes obsessed with it and we stop talking about the important thing that should be talked about.
It has been clear to me for quite some time that Twitter is largely right now, largely a distraction machine. It is a destruction machine being used by Sure. Again, I will add the caveat that it has, its good uses, activism, journalism, et cetera, are still things that Twitter is doing quite well. However, there is significant debate there.
Also, I would recommend you read Casey Newton's newsletter, platformer, and a recent post there was about whether journalists really need Twitter and Casey was of the opinion that journalists. Only stay on Twitter because they think they need Twitter despite the fact that Twitter is not actually doing them much good.
The next part has to do with the fact that social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter compromise with oppressive governments all over the world. I am in one of those countries where governments sent takedown requests to Twitter, and recently Elon Musk, the Joker who was running Twitter right now, agreed to.
Limit the reach of posts criticizing the government of India, not only in India, but outside India also. So a social media platform is a business that has to run inside a country and in order to run inside the country, they have to compromise with the demands made by local governments. Increasingly, however, the demands being made by local governments, not just in India, but everywhere from social media companies have to do with curtailing dissent.
I felt that by staying on Twitter, I am participating in that system. I have noticed in recent times that the reach of posts is becoming visibly lower when the post is about a certain government policy. You can be clever about it. You can try to, you know, use words in clever ways so that your post does not get.
Tagged with that kind of an algorithmic label that causes it to be not seen by people because Twitter is actively curtailing it, but there has to be a better solution, right? Why must our communication, why must our expression being subject, why must our expression be subject to the preferences of an algorithm being run by a corporation?
Are we going to say that? There is no better alternative, so we have to use Twitter or is it better to not make Twitter the be all and end all of our attempts to express ourselves in a democracy? I think it is the latter. I think it's become a little bit like okay. You've been on Twitter for 15 years.
You have grown an audience. That audience mostly does not see what you post, but it's there. And whether or not people will see your post depends on me, Elon Musk, and the compromises that I have made with the government of India. My point is that I should not have to dilute my message or speak it in sanitized language in order for it to find its audience.
I think that I want to say things in the way that I want to say things, and if a platform and its rules are getting in the way of that, then the platform is of no use to me. And by the way, Twitter also sucks quite a bit as far as link distribution is concerned. Twitter has increasingly been moving in the general direction of if you are using Twitter to spread links to your content.
Then we are not going to help you with that, but if you want to put your content on Twitter itself, then yeah, go for it. One of the features that Twitter is selling these days selling quite literally is a full length article posts on Twitter itself, a platform, which was till now about micro blogging.
Now I'm all for Twitter being about long form content. I am not in favor of Twitter. Curtailing links to platforms like ck. We recently whenever people posted links to their ck, Twitter was giving them a warning or preventing them from accessing it somehow. And searches for the word CK were being redirected to the word newsletter.
Some people speculated that this might be because CK is starting its own. Kind of micro blogging thing, which is built into CK itself, but it seems more the case. It seems more likely. It seems much more likely that Elon Musk is just being Elon Musk. He's running around like a headless chicken. He doesn't know what to do with the platform.
He just bought it on impulse and is now running all over the place. Changing this, changing that taking people's blue ticks away and then asking them to pay for their blue ticks. Many well-known people have left Twitter. I know for a fact that Stephen Fry left Twitter and then came back and created a standalone, you know, user name page just so nobody can impersonate him.
Which also gave me the idea to create my own you know, parked Twitter page so that no one can impersonate me. But this has been happening quite a lot. Twitter has been to summarize what I've said so far, because it's now what, like 20 minutes into 15 minutes into the episode. To summarize what I've said till now, Twitter, number one, Twitter is a massive anger machine.
Number two, Twitter makes compromises with governments and curtail speech. And number three, Twitter. The company is making terrible business decisions, which are. two content creators like me. So these are the three main reasons that I left my Twitter, that I deleted my Twitter account. I want to address one more thing, which is that you might say that everything I said about Twitter also applies to Instagram and perhaps more because Instagram is actually owned by a much much more terrible company.
That's Facebook meta, whatever they want, they're calling themselves this week. But yeah, I agree with you that Instagram is equally bad. However, if you think of my Instagram account as one bad habit and my Twitter account as another bad habit, it is better to have one bad habit instead of two bad habits.
I'm not saying that Instagram is more virtuous than Twitter, however, it is my experience that I am at least able to say what I want on Instagram and still find my audience to a certain degree. Right now. Instagram has also been going down the train slowly for me over the last few months. I post about the car system, somebody reports it as hit speech, and Instagram quickly takes the post down and sends me a warning saying your account may be deleted.
So if things go on like this, I don't think I will have to delete my Instagram account. It might just get deleted by Instagram itself. So if one fine day you wake up to find out that I'm not on Instagram, it'll be that. If I do decide to myself, delete my Instagram account. You'll be the first to know.
Obviously I'll post it on my Instagram account. I'll give you some time to adjust to the grief of not having access to my content on Instagram. But yeah, that is the state of affairs. As far as Instagram is concerned, I am very glad that I have this YouTube channel as a platform to, there may be people who disagree, but for the most part, YouTube has proven to be the.
Better platform as far as getting the message out is concerned in words that I want to use. Eric. I'm not an abusive person. I don't make content that is hateful or abusive, but I do not want to be curtailed. I do not like whatever words I use. I don't want them to be changed by the requirements of the platform.
I don't swear. So YouTube has the rules about swearing in the first 30. Seconds of the video or something. It doesn't really apply to me because I don't swear. In any case, what I want to say is that if you were following me on Twitter, and if you're watching this video because somebody shared it on Twitter, then the best place to follow me is here on this YouTube account.
Click the subscribe button, hit the bell icon, and whenever I have something to say, I will say it and I'll post it here and you'll find out. I also share clips from my livestream here sometimes, and those appear to be doing well also. So maybe you'll like all those. So, yeah, that in a nutshell was why I deleted my Twitter account.
Let me know what you think. Let me know if you are on Twitter and have been thinking of deleting your account, but cannot because of reasons. Let me know what your reasons are. Let me know if you think I made a bad decision by deleting my Twitter account. Let me know if you think that this was a good decision because you know, Social media and validation and all that.
So yeah, that is it for this video, and I will see you on the next one whenever the next one happens. Bye.