Twitter sidebar going away?

Came across a blog post from John Scalzi this morning, advising that WordPress had informed him that his blog’s sidebar Twitter feed would stop working soon. I haven’t heard anything from WordPress about my own sidebar feed, but if it’s going to stop working for VIP customers like Scalzi, I can’t imagine it will be any different for us rank and file.

So I guess this is notice that my own Twitter sidebar feed will be going away soon. I’ll keep it up while it appears functional, but I suspect that won’t be for long.

The WordPress Twitter sidebar widget appears to be yet another victim of Twitter’s new API policies. Those policies had already knocked out several alternate Twitter clients, as well as my own preferred tool for curating Twitter feeds: InoReader. (InoReader remains very useful, just not for Twitter feeds anymore.) It’s also neutered many of the tools I discussed in my Mastodon posts a few months ago, which I’m sure is one of the reasons for these changes.

It even knocked out the WordPress Jetpack functionality for a few days. I suspect there was some behind the scenes negotiation to restore it. It probably involved WordPress or Jetpack having to pay to keep their functionality intact. (Update: apparently I spoke too soon. WordPress emailed that this functionality is going away on April 30.)

But it appears that isn’t happening for the feed widget. I can’t really blame WordPress. It’s not like the Twitter feed widget really benefitted them much. If Musk is demanding money for it, it doesn’t make sense to pay. Though I am a little annoyed that they haven’t made any announcements to their non-VIP customers.

All of this continues the deterioration of Twitter under Elon Musk. I’ve never particularly enjoyed doom scrolling through my timelines. For several years, tools like InoReader made using Twitter not only bearable, but kept it viable as a good source of information.

With the API restrictions, there’s little choice now but to use Twitter’s default UI, which frankly I’ve never liked. I’ve had to fall back to an old technique for finding the content I’m interested in, such as using bookmarked searches in the Twitter web client. But even these are starting not to work properly. I’m no longer able to see the latest search results, only what the algorithm decides are the “Top” ones, which conveniently privileges the tweets of Musk and his fans.

When Musk started making changes back in November, I told a lot of people that I’d stay on Twitter as long as a lot of the interesting people were there, which for me are mostly academics and authors. But these changes are making it increasingly difficult. It’s taking a lot more work to stay engaged. Which means I’m doing a lot less of it.

Anyway, if you use the sidebar feed, sorry. At least the website should load faster once the Twitter widget is gone. A link to my Twitter profile will remain on the sidebar, right by the Mastodon one, at least until I’ve had enough of Twitter.

Have the changes affected you? What do you think about them?

18 thoughts on “Twitter sidebar going away?

  1. I thought things had more or less stabilized with Twitter. I quit Twitter back in December, so I guess I don’t really know what’s going on over there anymore, but the little news I heard made it sound like they’d at least managed to stop the bleeding.

    For my own part, I was shocked by the change in my mental health after I quit. Within a week of quitting, I just felt so much better about myself and the world. I knew doom scrolling Twitter wasn’t good for me, but I didn’t realize how much it was affecting me until I left.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It seems to hit plateaus where nothing much happens for a while. But I think that’s only because some of the changes are taking time to implement, like the API ones. They want a lot of money now to use it except in the most trivial fashion, which has largely destroyed the Twitter ecosystem. People who only use the standard apps probably haven’t noticed.

      There’s was also a big kerfuffle last week when the legacy blue checks went away, then came back for a lot of celebrities. Just about every celebrity it came back for made sure their followers knew they didn’t pay for it. It’s clear those only came back to obfuscate who was paying for them now, which is widely regarded as pathetic. Some have even thought about suing to get the checkmark off their name, now that it’s been discredited so much. I’m really glad I’ve never been interested in that.

      Yeah, the doom scrolling never appealed to me. Which is why I look for ways to filter for what I’m interested in, and why being forced to do it to use Twitter is drastically reducing my engagement. Both Twitter and Mastodon’s standard solution for that is lists, but lists currently only help with isolating people, but not their posts on interesting topics, as opposed to their posts about about politics and other stuff I’d prefer not to wade through.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve played with lists on Mastodon a little, but I haven’t found that I need them as much as I needed them on Twitter. Mastodon isn’t perfect, but there just doesn’t seem to be the same level of cynicism and negativity on Mastodon. Or maybe it’s just that Mastodon doesn’t have an algorithm that’s pumping up controversy and conflict in my feed at the expense of everything else.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I definitely think Mastodon has a lot going for it. And it does seem like a calmer place. I was really into it for a while.

          But it has its own issues. A large portion of the posts seem political. People still struggle with the federated aspects, which is keeping a lot of them on Twitter, because, at least for now, it’s just easier. And while every account is an RSS feed, that feed doesn’t include boosts, a big omission.

          I do think the ActivityPub protocol has enormous potential and expect to see Mastodon itself steadily improve. I’m also watching Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky with its AT protocol, but ActivityPub has a big head start.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I’ve heard a little about Bluesky and ActivityPub. Maybe I’ll check those out. I’m wary of getting too attached to just one social media platform, the way I got super attached to Twitter.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Sorry, I could have been a little more clear. ActivityPub is the protocol Mastodon uses for its servers to talk with each other. But it’s not unique to just Mastodon. It’s also used by other Fediverse services, like Friendica, PeerTube, and BookWrym. And Tumblr and WordPress are working to provide native support for it. So you might be able to directly follow a blog in Mastodon in the future. (Exactly how workable that will be I’m not sure.)

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, apparently the Jetpack Twitter sharing functionality was only restored temporarily. WordPress sent an email a little while ago that this functionality is going away, tomorrow.

    On a plus side, they do plan to provide automatic sharing for Mastodon, and other social networks that are not Twitter.


  3. Deterioration of Twitter under Musk? Did you know what the former Twitter execs did at Twitter and seen his video interview with Elon about Twitter with BBC?
    I don’t use Twitter, but I have a lot more confidence with Musk at the Helm to open the free expression space that was remarkably driven out by Government manipulation and deranged forces from the ‘radical’ left mainly driven top-down from the WEF.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s Musk’s version of the story. From what I’ve read, most of the independent reviews of the records he dumped concluded it was much ado about nothing. But I’ll admit I haven’t made any effort to study it. I will note that the old management never tried to ban links to competitors or threatened to suspend accounts for mentioning those other services, as Musk has done a few times since he took over. I never had to worry about something I tweeted getting me suspended until recently.

      To be sure, there were a lot of issues with the old Twitter. But the service basically worked, and we had a lot of options on how to use it. Musk has capriciously and chaotically torn most of it down. Killing the auto-sharing and widget features, which basically provided free advertising for the service, seems self defeating, but has become par for the course in recent months.

      So ideology aside, the service is far less usable for me today than it was in October. When I say “deterioration”, that’s what I mean.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Never tried to ban links’, only the the President of the United States!
        What things has Musk done? What tweet got you suspended from Tweeter under Musk’s authority?

        I’m certain Musk changed the services to make it more equilibria. Self-advertising eradication seems good.
        I haven’t read anything that makes me think it it isn’t a disservice to promoting public open forum or what Musk set out to do.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. He is just about the only High-up corporate who I have trust in. Everything about his ideas on AI to what he is able to do. He has a great sense of humour and has at his core ‘Freedom of Speech’. He is one of a kind. I haven’t seen it at that level.


          1. Have you seen him on Bill Maher just published one day ago?
            Is that someone who you wouldn’t admire in his attitude, instincts and attitude towards everything that is happening?


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