Flipping the Bird: Social Media Update

Given Elon Musk’s concerted effort to turn Twitter into Gab, I wanted to update my current social media choices (I’ll invite other posters to do the same).

As a number of people have noticed, I locked up my Tweets the other day. That was a response to my inclusion on a list that fascists are attempting to deplatform on Twitter. I’ve heard from a number of people who don’t have an account and who only check Twitter for my Tweets. At least until the fascist campaign ends, and possibly for good, I plan to primarily post my journalistic tweets at Mastodon. And even ignoring that the Approve Follow Requests appears to be buggy at Twitter, I’ve got a long list of requests from entities that may or may not live in a troll farm in St. Petersburg.

So for those of you who might be locked out at Twitter, please check Mastodon.

The exception will be commentary about people on Twitter — commenting on things journalists or propagandists say on Twitter.

My Mastodon address is @[email protected].

I have gotten an account at Post.news, also @emptywheel. For a variety of reasons (privacy and format, among others), I’m taking a cautious approach with Post for now.

I do have accounts on other social media outlets, but for now, I’m focusing primarily on Mastodon.

As a reminder, you can get emailed notice of posts here at this link.

55 replies
  1. phred says:


    Count me among those who only ever checked Twitter via a browser to keep an eye on your commentary (along with a few others, like DDay especially in his freelance years). I looked into setting up an account long ago but was never comfortable with the data harvesting and reselling business model.

    I have set up an account on Mastodon. Still not sure what to do with it, but I’m old and the new tricks always take me some time ; )

    • phred says:

      P.S. I missed the Thanksgiving post, but just wanted to add that I am very very thankful for you and for the broader commentariat here : ) Such a lovely home you welcome us into : )

      P.P.S. Enjoy your Irish Thanksgiving and let us know how the Kung Pao rutabaga goes over…

  2. Savage Librarian says:

    There Musk be a ‘2 birds, 1 Stone’ bad joke here somewhere, right?

    “Elon Musk says he will back Trump rival Ron DeSantis in 2024 if he runs for president” – 11/25/22
    “Musk’s tenure at Twitter has been turbulent, with the owner admitting that Twitter has suffered a “massive” drop in advertising revenue amid concerns about his plans for moderating content on the platform, including the fate of banned accounts.”

    “He has told Twitter employees that “roughly half” of the platform’s revenues need to come from subscriptions in order to “survive the upcoming economic downturn”. According to Twitter’s last set of annual results, advertising accounted for 90% of its $5.1bn in revenues.”


    • P J Evans says:

      Elmo couldn’t be bothered to learn anything about how Twitter worked before he bought it, and he isn’t going to learn anything now, either. It was *always* about ad revenues, like FB: providing eyeballs for advertisers.

  3. Klaatu Something says:

    for fun I tried to access my suspended Twitter account, Tony the Wonder Horse, and when I hit “forgot password”, it just reloaded the same screen, no help with the password at all

    That qualifies as a bug, methinks

  4. Richard Byrne says:

    Ready for toots not tweets!

    There is no choice at this point.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. I assume this is what you’re doing since you’ve posted previously as “RichardB” using a more unique variant. /~Rayne]

  5. TimC says:

    I was wondering what straw broke the camels back. im one of those “lurkers” without a twitter account.
    one thing I will not miss about twitter is for the last year or so they constantly prompt you to sign in or create an account and it took me a long time just to figure out how to get past those prompts.
    Not loving Mastodon, but maybe when I get used to it i”ll like it better. Not looking forward to your first live tweet-equivalent barrage on the extinct elephant. But not loving post even more.
    I only went to twitter a few years ago after the last of the blogosphere had collapsed into a smoldering red dwarf. Im a late adapter.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. While “TimC” is an improvement in differentiation over “TC,” “guest,” Anon,” and “tadc,” it’s not long enough. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Kathy B says:

      I left Twitter a while back, but uber lurked using nitter.net which allows you to read but scrapes the ads and tracking beacons, at least on the Twitter side. Off to see if I can sign into my Mastodon account set up a while back. Thank goodness for blogsites with commenting options.

  6. Mike McCaffrey says:

    Since I checked out of Twitter yesterday, and rarely use my FB account anyway, I will continue to come by here every day, no trouble at all given the quality of your product. Thanks!

    • Legonaut says:

      Seconded. I won’t get the latest news, but the important stuff seems to get here eventually.

      Thanks again for this site and all that you do on it!

  7. Tony Salerno says:

    I think you need to add a share on Mastodon button to your “Share this entry” button bar.
    Probably not time to replace the Twitter one just yet, but I think you have room for a 5th button.
    Thank you :-)

  8. Rayne says:

    I’ve locked down my account, deleted my DMs, left a pinned tweet on where I can be found.

    I had a strong suspicion this day would come back in April when Musk was first vacillating about buying the bird site. I opened a Mastodon account then.

    @[email protected] (link: https://mstdn.social/@raynetoday)

    What Musk is doing to Twitter is what Trump tried to do to the United States. Congress restrained Trump in a number ways though GOP members have tried to enable Trump’s “creative destruction” since Trump took office in January 2017.

    Musk has no such restraint in place so long as Twitter is not publicly listed. He can drive it straight into a curb as if it were a self-driving Tesla.

    I just hope nobody is seriously injured or dead at the end of Musk’s “creative destruction.”

    • greenbird says:

      can’t register at mastodon/social, need different server.
      suggestions please? am very far behind now …
      (at least, that is, mastodon/social won’t register ME …)
      thanks. (just found this post …)

        • bmaz says:

          The most popular one is mastodon.social. It was too inundated when I tried to join, so I joined mstdn.social, which also is fairly popular. Rayne is on that too. If interested in being on Mastodon, mstdn is a good initial toehold and let you start getting used to the whole thing, and it DOES take some acclimation. You can always move to a different server later.

  9. Fraud Guy says:

    I think I was follower 2 or 3 in your new digs. I was like, damn, has no one heard of her here? They will…

  10. Willis Warren says:

    elon is truly more shallow than anyone predicted. It’s breathtaking the level of pure jackassery that he’s displaying. I am just amazed, everyday, at how bad he is at everything

    • Knox Bronson says:

      It’s all coming out now, what an idiot he actually is. They have teams of people around him a the various companies to keep him placated and thinking he’s smart and also away from doing anything destructive to the respective company.
      Rereading this sentence, I believe I have created a zeugma.

    • skua says:

      With 8 billion humans on the planet we can expect things that are highly unlikely to happen by chance to any one specific person to be happening to one or more people very frequently.
      It would be an unusual week in which multiple random individuals didn’t have events at 1 chance in 8 billion happen to them.
      Elmo may just have been in the lucky place with the right colored skin and the right haircut to become the richest putz in the world.

  11. Jenny says:

    Thank you Dr. Marcy for the explanation of your locked up Tweets. As for Mastodon, a dark looking busy format, however another option is beneficial. Just grateful to access your emptywheel.net site to stay in touch with your work.

    • Rayne says:

      If you have a mobile device you may want to try alternative apps for Mastodon. I’m using Tusky on Android which has very Twitter-like feel. It doesn’t have ALL the features I’d like but it’s pretty doggone close.

  12. LoonthxU says:

    Mostly lurking here for several years. Can’t thank the EW crew and commenters enough for providing clarity and sanity to events, both on this site and on Twitter. Will open a Mastodon account! (Rayne – new user name to match the character # requirement.)

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  13. Nessnessess says:

    First time poster. Discovered this site around the time of the DOJ’s search of MAL. Very glad I did. Thanks to EW and the others here for the analysis!

    Re: leaving Twitter. I have not used my account in about 9 years and was set to deactivate (not the same as “delete”) it, but then learned that the “username and email address on a deactivated account are available for use on another account 30 days after the account was deactivated.” See here: https://help.twitter.com/en/managing-your-account/how-to-reactivate-twitter-account#:~:text=The%20username%20and%20email%20address,account%20to%20allow%20for%20reactivation.

    That means deactivating an account leaves you open to be “impersonated” by an account that you don’t control but that is “legitimately” using your name/credentials. If you’re unknown this might not matter. But if you’ve been tweeting under your own name or a company name you’d like to protect, “leaving Twitter” can be more complicated that it seems.

    Just an FYI.

  14. Faith_dc says:

    (Note: I’ve changed my username to meet the eight-character minimum)

    I’ve never been a massive Twitter user – my footprint is minuscule. I chose who I follow very carefully. Because of this, I’ve been able to avoid the sewer of Twitter and the insane, destructive evil under Musk’s egomaniacal reign. Rayne and others suggested deleting your app and/or deactivating your account. I’ve now done both. I now appreciate how much I relied on Twitter to find people and sites that I use for much of my information. It’s where I found Marcy Wheeler, after all, and so many others for reliable information and insights. I’m feeling very isolated. I hope we all weather it and other forums can flourish with the best of what Twitter had to offer and none of the garbage. Daily Kos had a good post today (Saturday 11/26) with a basic introduction to Mastodon today. I’m not tech-averse but I’m old enough to not be very savvy. It’s very basic, but it did help me understand Mastodon a little more.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  15. Cheryl says:

    Heading for Mastadon ASAP! Trying (so far unsuccessfully 🤬) to delete Twitter, at least until or if it cleans up itself act.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  16. Bill Arnold says:

    Thanks for the explanation about your twitter account. Been a lurker for years. Just checked, and google indexes this comment section (and comments are allowed in links), so will be commenting here occasionally in the future. (A single spot check of bing and duckduckgo did not show indexing, FWIW)

  17. Chuck M. says:

    34 years since I first connected with the internet and I’ve managed to keep my social media presence limited to Usenet (long since left tho) and small, special-interest groups like this. Call me a Luddite but social media as we know it now is more a scourge than anything useful.
    No offense intended, but hopefully we’ll grow up and out of the collective narcissism.

  18. coral reef says:

    Mastodon is growing on me. The more familiar people appear there, the better my feed gets. I’m also on Post, and that seems promising, though less developed.

  19. Jas says:

    After twitter made people have accounts to read tweets, I signed up for twitter to read your tweets and now can happily shut that twitter shit show down! Cheers

  20. Teno says:

    Post is funded by conservative VCs a16z that only hinge their bets on ventures that push an America First ideology. It’s just another exit plan for ultrarich douchbags. Stay wary.

    • greenbird says:

      frustrated. door shut. message:
      “Due to a bug in our code or a browser compatibility issue, this page could not be displayed correctly.

      Try refreshing the page. If that does not help, you may still be able to use Mastodon through a different browser or native app.

      Mastodon v4.0.2 · Report issue” (< i did. if it's my browser, too bad for me. i have very old gear.)

      • Rayne says:

        It may be/have been your browser. I received an extremely similar message using Chrome to access Internet Archive today. But I know there’s an update to Chrome addressing a zero-day which I haven’t yet addressed — you may have the same problem.

  21. Paulka says:

    As a Twitter outsider (EW is literally the only Twitter account I ever view and that only periodically), I have no dog in the race and I think I can view the situation objectively. It boggles my mind what Musk is doing to it. It seems like Twitter will implode and he will end up losing multi-billions of dollars in the process. All to what end? To give fascists, terrorists and hate groups a venue to spark violence? Isn’t Musk aware of the demise of formerly successful and popular websites?

    People really don’t understand Free Speech. Twitter is a private company with terms of service. Who they let on or not let on is NOT Free Speech. Those ToS are in place because the marketplace has determined that some actions (threats, pornography, hate speech, etc.) are contrary to what advertisers want to be associated with it, not because the government is saying what is allowed and not allowed. The market decided fomenting insurrection and hate speech was not profitable. So, they were axed.

    Elon seems to have missed that basic point. Trump and his ilk were not removed because of Speech, they were removed because the market demanded it. So, he decides to put them back on and the market reacts and Twitter tanks.

    Oh well, no skin off my nose.

  22. my2cnz says:

    I recently archived all my Twitter data (took three days to get confirmation link), which I downloaded for whenever I can figure out how to access my list of people I follow (so I can try to follow them elsewhere.) Does anyone know what files in our Twitter ‘archive’ might give us this info? Or won’t it?

    • Rayne says:

      Extract the zipped files and look at the folders — you’ll see what was downloaded. You likely will not be able to read the content easily but there are tools out there to help you.

  23. dimmsdale says:

    Been following Marcy (and the rest of the site stalwarts) since FDL days, and all I had to do was read “I’m focusing primarily on Mastodon” and I immediately migrated my hopes and expectations over to there (for the time being).

    I found a useful piece by Jeremy Littau on medium.com on how the Mastodon universe works; he also included a website (debirdify.pruvisto.org) that lets you pull up Mastodon handles (if any) for all the people you currently follow on Twitter, so I spent 45 min. or so yesterday doing copy/paste/search/follow on Mastodon, and to me the site makes a LOT more sense when you’re seeing your ‘regulars’ again. (Disclaimer: I can’t assess the privacy considerations, if any, using debirdify.)

    My experience at Twitter now is one of reading the top-liners that I follow reporting on increasingly vicious, persistent, puerile attacks from garbage posters, and a complete absence of recourse (unless you consider Mush sh*tposting “Haw Haw Haw, suck it, libs!” a response). It’s getting to be a grubby, unsanitary place; still a necessity (to me) but becoming less so.

  24. Regina R. says:

    I only lurk on twitter but I read certain accounts everyday. I much prefer Counter Social, but will lurk on Mastadon to continue to read EW(besides the website posts).

    Who knows what site will replace twitter, but it seems that whatever site wins out will have to deal with all those overseas bots.

    The faster legit journos & thinkers can regroup on another site and keep publishing the truth, the faster will be twitters decimation; it will become yet another 3rd rate site for only the most extreme opinions.

  25. Grant G says:

    My little site…..The Straight Goods…Yea, I appreciate your tweets and usually agree with your take on all matters legal.

    Unfortunately, i’m in Twitter jail….Why you might ask….Wendy Rogers, you know, the Arizona fascist who attended events with Fuentes…Wendy Rogers tweeted that Joe Biden is a Traitor, and he should be tried for Treason, and punishment for treason is death …..This was pre-Elmo days…Twitter did nothing to Wendy Rogers…Arizona Senate censured Rogers, twitter said sweet fyck all to Wendy…Anywho..I Tweeted to Wendy Rogers…”No Wendy Rogers, the only one who should be hung for treason is you”…….I’ll admit it wasn’t a classy Tweet by me…But cmon …Wendy Rogers at that time was in full meltdown, was a full-on Twitter conspiracy promoter on 2020…Wendy Rogers had her face shoved so far up Trump’s lying asshole she was able to lick Trump’s micro-balls from the inside….. I couldn’t take it…..Anyway…Wendy Rogers got a twitter pass….My Twitter got nuked.

    Now, not even sure I want back on Twitter.

    Good Day everyone

    [Calls for violence aren’t acceptable here, either, and should not be repeated. This isn’t a matter of class but normalization of violence and in this case an extrajudicial call to violence in lieu of due process for a charge which is not at all appropriate since treason is based on the existence of a declared state of war and an identified enemy rather than obstruction of government operations. Don’t do this again. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Your 649-word reply excusing your call for violence will not be cleared for publication here. The public can hold Rogers accountable through the law and elected officials in her state. But you do not get to excuse your call for extrajudicial execution on a fallacious charge in these comments.

      That’s strike two. Care to go for three?

  26. -mamake- says:

    Apologies if the answer is evident, but I cannot find the thread where either Rayne or Marcy listed some of the emptywheelers Mastodon addresses.

    I was out of town and involved w/ family issues for a couple of weeks and lots of reading here to catch up. Trying find folks on mstdn.social.

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