I’m technically still a Twitter/X user, because I maintain an account there. But if you want to chat with me on social media, that’s no longer the place to do it. I’ve unfollowed absolutely everybody and deleted all my personalisation data so I’m not tempted to use it.

It’s interesting to see what happens to the algorithmic For You feed when you do that: my feed is now made up largely of English football, Miley Cyrus fan sites, horrific anti-Black racism from known hate groups, plenty of transphobia and the occasional open-crotch porn photo. That, apparently, is what Twitter thinks you’re interested in if you’re an adult in the UK.

I unfollowed everyone much later than I should have, based on something I just learned the name of today: an exodus shock. An exodus shock is an event that makes people leave a service for rivals, and in my case the latest one was Elon Musk’s blatantly antisemitic attacks on the ADL. Musk’s far-right views have been well known for a long time, but it’s his use of his Twitter account – an account that, unless you block him, will frequently appear in your feed – to actually publish antisemitism, racism and transphobia that was the final straw for me.

There will be many more such shocks, because Twitter is too big to disappear overnight: there are too many users with too much to lose for it to lose everybody in one go. But with each new exodus shock, more people will move to Bluesky, to Threads, to Mastodon, to Instagram. And while none of those services is likely to become as big and central as Twitter was, that doesn’t mean they can’t be incredibly vital and commercially successful.

I’m on quite a lot of social media sites now and I’m trying to make sense of them all and work out what to post where; so far I think Bluesky has the most irreverent old-Twitter vibes, Instagram is the best place to talk music and books, Threads still feels a bit half-finished and Mastodon just doesn’t seem to gel for me. So there are different social networks for different groups of people, with no clear winner so far. And that’s okay; I’m used to it. My first online adventures were on places like CompuServe and USENET and bulletin boards; this is the same thing with better typography.

One thing I have noticed since essentially quitting Twitter is the effect on my mental health. It turns out that tuning in all day and all evening to some of the most toxic content on the internet isn’t great for you. That’s a lesson I should probably try to remember when, inevitably, the new Twitters start to resemble the broken one.