<antirez>

antirez 1704 days ago. 135703 views.
It's a more quite time now. Redis 2.6 released, the sexism issue almost forgotten. Time to relax, be wise, and focus on work. Right, but, that's not me. I've a few more things to say about what happened, and to reply to the many people that asked me why I felt "obligated" to stop using my Twitter account as before, with a mix of work, thoughts on technology, and personal stuff.

I can change idea easily if it is the case, but this time it was not the case. As much as people that criticised me for my blog post may think that I've a problem, I also think they have huge limits. Oh well, different opinions, I don't like you, you don't like me, I don't freaking care after all. I don't think on the same line as most people alive if that's the matter.

So, is a bad reaction about a blog post, that was about an argument I usually don't write about, enough to change my social medias usage?

Well, it is not. What shocked me was the *source* of many of the extremely poor replies. In the next hours I started to think more and more about the problem. Wait, I said to myself, that's exactly what happened with tech conversations on Twitter in the previous months, multiple times: sarcasm, insults, poor arguments.

Or even more subtle than that: a few months ago there was an episode about somebody in a company competing with Redis making jokes about Redis durability. Again, an odd source for such a joke, but I did not replied at all, after all it is a joke. You don't understand jokes otherwise, never mind if this is actually a way to get zillion of retweets and provide a bad, untrue message about a competing product.

But well, that's the issue: conversations on Twitter are not arguments, they are mostly exchanges of opinions, or jokes.

Now let's travel in space and time. Go 20 years ago in the past, and land in a great place that was called Usenet. The first day I joined internet in 1995 I remained so deeply impressed by Usenet I could not sleep: there was the knowledge there. There was the hobbyist and the emeritus professor talking together about the same topic. Every possible topic was covered, there were years of archives. What an incredible cave of gold…

Now think at the archive of Twitter messages in 20 years from now. Not a good feeling, eh?

However the counter argument could be that Twitter does not need to match Usenet to be worthwhile after all, it can be a good media even if archives will go in obsolescence after a week or a day. That's fine but let's analyse the problem a bit more closely.

On Twitter, even if conversations are shorter, limited to 140 chars, they are still conversations among the same individuals, conceptually, that 20 years ago were writing messages on Usenet and into technical mailing lists such as BUGTRAQ. What's the difference?

The huge difference is that Twitter technical messages are mostly made of personal opinions. Usenet was all about information and arguments. That's the real problem.

If you say on Twitter "Perl looks just like line noise" you likely get a zillion rewteets. If you  wrote this on Usenet you would, most of the times, be just moderated or ignored. Or you could argument it, and get arguments as reply: "You may not like Perl syntax, but Perl is an advanced very high level programming language that probably supports all the major features that you love in your favourited very high level programming language."

Possibly 30 messages later someone was accusing somebody else of being Hitler, but well, 30 messages after. 29 messages were mostly arguments, and information.

Twitter is a good broadcasting media if you treat it mostly one-way, and was able to take the Redis community informed about developments in the course of three years, but good ideas start in the Redis mailing list, not on Twitter. This is how the first scripting implementation was triggered for instance:

http://files.catwell.info/presentations/2011-osdcfr-redis-iidx/img03.png

But the worst thing about Twitter used for technical "conversations" was that I was part of the problem as well. Looking at my tweets history, I mostly wrote about Redis, but many times I expressed my opinions without arguments. Sometimes my freaking stupid, misinformed, misleading fucking opinion.

Now I'm seeing a lot of shifts lately in our industry. A few things sincerely are odd, it seems like the environment is deteriorating, or maybe it's just me, I'm getting old perhaps. But well, I can write that code is like a poem in the Redis Manifesto, but after all, we are supposed to be engineers talking about technology.

Technology is about code, informations, and arguments. That's what I'll be focused on in the future.

The @redisfeed account on Twitter is a good way to exploit what Twitter is good for: broadcasting. Think at it like RSS for humans. My @antirez account is not going to be closed, I want to use it to personal uses, and also because Twitter is a good way to reference a single person on internet. For instance, if I say @dhh, this is probably the best short identifier for David. But I stopped to play to the game of useless opinions, finally.

I don't hate the players, I hate the game.
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