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The DEV Team

Twitter Is the Afterparty

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・2 min read

This was a useful post about helping folks making the most of Twitter for their developer career that you might want to check out:

Within the discussion, the topic of Twitter's tendency to be the stage for incendiary debates, great political volatility came up. It was a (thankfully) sensible discussion which involved tips for crafting your experience through muting buzzwords etc.

It is an important topic. Twitter is a window into the world which can be conducive to creating empathy. It can also make us hardened and cynical. It is not necessarily great for our mental health if consumed in large doses.

This is a topic I have thought a lot about

Concerns about Twitter not necessarily being the best place to for us to be spending so much of our time actually hits at the heart of DEV's place in the ecosystem. So here was my comment, which I felt might be interesting to share more broadly.

I agree with the shape of this conversation from both ends and think about it this way: Twitter doesn't need to change necessarily (in this way) because it is a place where real world issues get discussed and debated, but we could all stand to do fewer overall things on Twitter.

I don't think it's necessarily conducive for good discussions or is a safe space as far as the web goes.

Feeling like Twitter was over-used for too many situations helped lead me to create the DEV platform in the first place. The metaphor I have settled on is that DEV is the conference and Twitter is the after party. There's a value to the after party, but if we were all partying 24/7 we'd all end up burnt out and angry.

These platforms are not neutral vessels for conversation. All the details on how they are crafted, maintained and moderated matter. We, the software industry, wrongly tend to use Twitter as a hammer which makes every industry conversation look like a nail.

For whatever reason, I've felt particularly inspired this week to chat about the ecosystem and where our platform fits in. Related to this conversation is a post I made earlier this week about Medium:

I am also reminded of this post, which brings some interesting perspective from someone who felt like opting out of Twitter altogether, more from the perspective of personal productivity:

If Twitter is in fact "the afterparty", it seems sensible that some would find benefit in opting out entirely for purposes of their productivity and growth.

These platforms are as addictive as they are useful. Moderating our use is easier said than done. Perhaps the metaphor I laid out will help you craft a more fulfilling digital experience.

Happy coding.

Discussion

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klawrow profile image
Claro A Briones

Great post Ben! For me Twitter is, at times, difficult to follow a topic/discussion without getting side tracked.

Platforms such as DEV help "filter" out the noise and solidify the conversation around the topic.

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Anna Rankin

I feel very similarly. I segment my social media usage - twitter is for my techies, dev is for my learnings, instagram is for my dog, facebook... actually I haven't used facebook in eons 😳 I love the insight into other folks' experience I've gained by following select folks on twitter, but I can't stay on too long without anger and sadness bubbling up.

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Ben Halpern Author

I definitely feel all this

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Kevin Ball

One of the fascinating things to me about twitter is that different people use it very differently.

My #1 use of twitter as a consumer is as essentially a human-curated RSS feed. I follow people who tend to post interesting links, and then I read the links they post.

As a producer, I have 2 uses for twitter. 1st is I use it to tweet about things I write or record that I think would be interesting/helpful to people. 2nd is to live-tweet talks at conferences. :)

The second one I highly recommend to folks new to twitter... tag the conference & the speaker, and it helps you connect with other folks at the conference, gives a nice way to help folks who are not at the conference see what is going on, AND is a very nice boost for the speaker when they get off stage to see they weren't talking into a vacuum.

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vanlufreja

You can gain a lot of knowledge through twitter but it is also an extremely discouraging place for young people even within dev community. My personal biggest issue is formal education mindset among many "follow worthy" individuals. Today alone within less than 10 posts I saw 3 of which saying higher education is waste of time and money or just not worth "it" whatever their aspirations may be. I'm aware not every position will require a diploma but the atmosphere spread there makes me simply feel bad for being someone who wants to travel, work abroad and hold a protected title as well highly professional job. I mean.. why all entry level jobs are login authentication to begin with?

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Vuild

Whenever I read something from Ben I have a little more faith that tomorrow's tech is going be better than yesterday (pepperidge). Not a shill, but will say what I want (good & bad). Dev team is thoughtful not platitude-y & that is about to matter more than ever.

Figure out what you are tweeting for (esp. as a dev) & tweet with very specific purpose. Too much of twitter is just people shouting random stuff into a void for attention/points which never works. Life is way too short for 30k pointless tweets.

Speak like you would do to others in real life, My policy: don't call anyone an anything unless you would do it to their face. I generally don't have many problems with tech/social media with these simple rules. Once you pass a certain scale or do work in controversial industries, there is always some hassle. Notifications off (login & batch look).

None of this will help your twitter grow but will make it more boring. If you struggle mentally, twitter is very unlikely to help.

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bvmcode

Glad to see my post was fruitful!

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Ben Halpern Author

Yeah, and I'm really thankful that you two navigated a touchy conversation effectively. You and @ashleemboyer really demonstrating the thoughtful dialog we try to create within the community!

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Angeles Broullón

My two first jobs after getting my degree were related to the Twitter API. I've used Twitter a lot and found it incredibly useful for years with as they were developer-friendly and helped me get my job done. The changes on the latest years have locked out most third-party apps out, and using theirs I find that their algorithms get a lot of content I don't want to see to my timeline anyway. It gets me either angry and sad, so nowdays I only log in once a month to check my notifications and that's it.

I can get most of the content I got from their curated feeds via RSS, but I miss the fast and easy social interactions with some of my colleagues. Therefore I joined this platform hoping it will filter the noise and stays on-topic, getting back the sense of community.

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Sean G. Wright

These platforms are as addictive as they are useful. Moderating our use is easier said than done.

Any application with a notification icon that lights up when someone has interacted with you is potentially addictive.

We've been trained to look in the top-right for that tiny counter which is a different color than the rest of the screen.

"I wonder if my comment got any reac... Oh YAY... Wait, only 3 this time... I need to get at least 10 somehow. 😒"

Different platforms can do more or less to encourage this behavior in its users, but it's almost become a given that these types of features will be in any online, social platform.

There is the platform's ethical responsibilities to its users and the users responsibilities to themselves by way of their mental health.

I'm not sure if humans are even naturally equipped to find balance with these types of things.

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Lautaro Lobo

I have/had bad times in Twitter. I love LinkedIn, Dev.to, CodePen, my own blog... But Twitter, to me is a 'just don't'.

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Omar Gaston Chalas

I've started using Twitter these days, and i found out is a good place and the only way to be in touch with some professionals dev.

So, in with this approach i feel is a useful tool.