Journalists and media personalities are always quitting Twitter—sorry, “X.” Off to Mastodon—off to BlueSky—“find me on Threads.” There are people who have been quitting Twitter for years. Occasionally, one of them really will leave; the odds that he will finally log off are higher if his account isn’t tied to one or more of the nebulous jobs that comprise the contemporary media-academia-arts complex. If the person is a freelancer, it’s even harder. Aside from a lucky few, nobody ever leaves, not for real.
If and when you do depart, people will always mention that you left, if they remember you at all. The writer Angela Nagle wrote what is easily one of the all-time best books about internet culture, 2017’s Kill All Normies. People can’t generally mention Nagle without also saying, “Yeah, she’s not on Twitter anymore,” like it’s up there with writing a book, or as if she had left the internet altogether to live in a hut.
The destinations of exodus never seem to manage to outshine the former-bird app, either. There has been no great migration—like what happened with MySpace to Facebook, Yahoo! Groups to LiveJournal, LiveJournal to Tumblr—despite all the hand-wringing about how “X” is a fascist hellscape. Besides, if the journalists all leave Twitter, who will write interminable think pieces about its long march into obsolescence?
“Departing Twitter is a lot like claiming you are leaving New York.”