Pledging to leave Twitter

How about creating a pledge on FOK to leave Twitter? Ping @cooper @cooper.smout (btw Cooper, do you want me to merge your two accounts? if so, which of the user names do you want to keep, cooper or cooper.smout?).

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Interesting idea. Twitter is definitely a rubbish format for discussion – ohh the hours we’ve all wasted trying to squeeze responses into a too-short-character limit!

I guess the main problem is that everyone is already on Twitter and familiar with it, so we’d need quite a large threshold to convince people that there are enough people leaving it. And this would be difficult to achieve in the early days of the project. I know personally I wouldn’t be ready to abandon Twitter if just 100 or so people had pledged to do the same, and this is the range of pledges I’m expecting (even hoping for!) in the early days of the project…

(and sorry, didn’t realise I had created two accounts! please merge and keep the @cooper account)

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I don’t use Twitter, but I’m still not in favour of this idea, at least at the moment…

I think that targetting the format rather than the service is a better strategy and more consistent with the other pledges FOK has promoted so far. A pledge to leave Twitter would feel more like a boycott than a commitment to improving research communication practices (maybe all the science discussion would just move to Parler after the pledge activated… :man_facepalming:), and while boycotts do seem to play an important role in some social movements (i.e. fossil fuel divestment), it doesn’t really feel appropriate from what I understand of FOKs aims.

My suggestion would be to refactor @rebecca’s suggestion into something like - ‘pledge to join the On science and academia forum and post/comment 10 times about scientific issues that I would usually discuss on Twitter’ - ok, it’s not very elegantly expressed (and it’s rather self-serving as I’d love to get more people using the forum) but I think it would lead to a more meaningful outcome.

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I tend to agree that positive-framings are better than negative-framings, as it gives something positive to work toward rather than just avoid (Twitter). This was one limitation of the Cost of Knowledge campaign – it asked people to boycott Elsevier… but then what? Should I just transition my value to other commercial publishers that have equally broken business models? Much better to point to the criteria/values we want to see upheld, and then let people decide whichever set of journals comply with those criteria that they feel comfortable.

Having said that, I think there could also be value in creating support for specific projects/initiatives, like On Science and academia. Something like you suggest could have value @Gavin – I’m just not sure whether people would actually pledge to support such a campaign. But all of this is trial and error, since we’ve never done this kind of thing in academia before!

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Well, the pledge doesn’t need to be specific to this forum either. I guess there aren’t yet clear, concise and recognised norms about discussing science informally, but if there was an agreed upon way to have a nuanced discussion about science (e.g. forum not Twitter) the pledge could just be to follow those norms.

Maybe the benefit of naming a specific project that embodies the values you want to promote is that it can be run in advance of those values being widely recognised. For example, something like encouraging pre-printing in 1995 by asking people to post articles on ArXiv.

There are a lot of reasons to leave Twitter:

  • censorship and manipulative rules (freedom of speech can be mixed with hate speech very easily) + anonymous reporting system
  • toxic discussions and bullying + cancelling people for likes and comments they made 10 years ago
  • collecting and selling personal data
  • US based company which supports woke agenda about spectral gender, critical race theory etc. with which a lot of people do not agree with. Anyways, from when commercial companies have a right to influence on constitutional rights?

Open Science TV Twitter account was blocked for unclear reason in December 2020 (just after I retweeted about my JROST2020 conflict). The same happened with my personal account in October 2020 (first it was restricted, after suspended). I did not do anything which can be treated as violation of Twitter rules. So I created another one, now all my tweets are with the mention “sensitive content”… For the moment, I am doubting to create a new account for Open Science TV.

I do not understand why there is no European social media? Pan-European or so? In ex-soviet countries we had VKontakte (VK) created by Russian Pavel Durov. It was kind of OK and I used it a lot till 2014. After Durov was forced to leave the company because according to him, he did not agree to provide Russian power the information about Ukrainian users when Russia planned the occupation of Ukrainian territory. VK became a place for P-propaganda.

Afterwards Durov founded Telegram messenger which I personally really like and use. But the messenger is certainly not a social media like Twitter, and has limited functionality. However, it is possible to create channels, bots, discussions and secret chats.