To borrow from a famous quote by President Ronald Reagan, “I didn’t leave Twitter. Twitter left me.”
More than 14 years ago I reluctantly joined Twitter at the suggestion of a colleague at Madison+Main. The new platform was relatively unheard of – a micro-blog with 140 character limits – but it was fun and exciting. I created a Twitter handle – @MadMain – because we had already created a @MadisonMain account. Mad Men, the TV series about fictitious AdMan Don Draper, had just come out, but I had not seen the show.
I instantly LOVED Twitter. It forced me to write pithy one-liners and I found myself completely hooked. Through the years I gained almost 30,000 followers who read the stuff I posted. If it was interesting to me, I posted it. Some content was about branding, marketing, advertising, and social media. Other content included my list of the “Top 10 Worst Realtor Headshots.” Once upon a time, I tweeted every billboard from Virginia to South Carolina for South of The Border on a trip with kids down I-95 to Nana’s house. #YoureAlwaysAWeinerAtPedros #YouNeverSausageAPlace
From 2008 to 2018 I posted almost 20,000 times. But in recent years, I started using Twitter less and less and less. The platform, once an exciting free-for-all for everything important and absurd, fell into a pit of bots, scammers, fakes, and flakes.
In May of 2021, I stopped posting altogether. A few months later, I got a bunch of calls and emails saying that a hacker had taken control of my account. On July 26, 2021, someone called Yates Investing (@YatesInvesting) hijacked my Twitter account. They changed my name, email, and password. Then they deleted 10,000 people I was following and started posting spammy penny stock recommendations. Despite pleading my case with Twitter Support more than a dozen times over the course of a year, I never heard back. “I didn’t leave Twitter. Twitter left me.”
When I first read the news that billionaire Elon Musk was buying Twitter, I thought that it was a terrible business decision. When Musk asked about fake accounts and weak security, Twitter denied it and sued him. I know some are upset that Twitter is heading toward a return to free speech, but I personally wish Mr. Musk the best of luck. Who knows? One day I may return to Twitter…if the new regime can give me my old account back and a blue check mark. Maybe the eight bucks are worth it for the verification status. Until then I’ll stick to Facebook and Instagram…until Mr. Zuckerberg screws them up.