On Cross-Posting

I’ve seen several friends who moved from Twitter to Mastodon do cross-posting. Then I saw this toot today https://mastodon.social/@dimillian/109619460197226069 It got me thinking more about the cross-posting practice.

When I started microblogging in 2008-ish, and when the options proliferated (Twitter and a bunch of Chinese clones), my first instinct was to have a tool to sync posts across all platforms I use. “Write once, post everywhere.” Looking back now, it was a bit funny. It was like standing on top of a rock and yelling at the top of my lungs, where only dozens of people were standing around.

It’s also worth noting that people do not cross-post in the even older blogging era because of RSS. People move from one blogging platform to another, and their readers can subscribe to a new RSS. Or the RSS feed doesn’t even need to change when a proxy such as FeedBurner is used.

I think of cross-posting as an “I do it because I can” move. Social networks have APIs, and connecting these APIs is not hard. My engineering friends do it because they know how to set it up. Pretty soon, there might be some websites that people can click around to set up cross-posting. Then more tech-savvy people will do it, just because they can. I’d like to think about whether I should cross-post, or why people should cross-post.

For marketers who want to reach more people, sure, professional cross-posting tools exist for this use case. For people who want to build a personal brand, the same thing, the more reach, the better. But I use social networks to socialize with people I know in real life or make acquaintances online and only look to expand my network slowly. Does it make sense to cross-post?

An obvious case is for my friends who are active on multiple networks, e.g. both Twitter and Mastodon, I don’t want them to see my posts repeatedly.

So it comes down to whether my social circles are spread across multiple networks or mostly present in one and whether I want to post the same content to all of them, and a tradeoff of different groups’ experiences. In my case:

  • I use four social networks now: Mastodon, Twitter, Instagram, and WeChat. A lot of my close friends are on several of them. The overlap is significant. “Close friends” means people I frequently interact with on social networks.
  • Between “make my close friends not see duplicated posts” and “make all my posts from Mastodon be seen by all my followers on Twitter,” I choose the former. This is because I care about close friends’ experiences more.
  • I use these social networks differently
    • Mastodon replaced Twitter and became my “random thoughts” main social network, including links to my blog and Instagram.
    • Instagram for pictures.
    • WeChat is a very digested version almost exclusively for travel photos and for my parents…
    • Twitter: I read Twitter. It’s still an info source. And I interact with friends who are still there as I don’t intend to cut off relationships. But I do not write new posts there as I want to lower my contribution to Twitter, and it’s not that important for my random thoughts to be seen by my Twitter followers.

Maybe I’m just getting older and leaning more towards cultivating relationships with people I already know than knowing new people.

Leaving Twitter

Twitter started banning Mastodon links. This is the last straw for me. I don’t want to contribute to another WeChat-like social network.

I will move on to post on https://mastodon.social/@weiwei9 and won’t post on Twitter anymore. You can also find me on Instagram. I’ll probably still browse Twitter and interact with friends there. But I encourage everyone to move on. The network effect is strong, and only people in the network can break it. Be brave.

There were a few moments I considered leaving Twitter:

  • Musk closed the deal. It’d be ok if he kept most things as they were.
  • Twitter Blue fiasco. I honestly don’t care about this very much.
  • Ungraceful layoff. A layoff is always ugly. Musk did it especially badly.
  • Firing of employees who disagreed with him. Firing dissidents is a red flag that foretold his later moves.
  • Inviting Trump back. This would be my leaving moment if Trump started posting again.
  • Banning journalists. This is the second strike in my mind.
  • Banning Mastodon links. This is the third strike. I don’t believe Twitter, as a product, is a product I would sign up for anymore.

Mastodon still has a long way to go. The federated model is a barrier for people to start, but it’s also a measure to prevent another dictator situation. The user experience is not as good as Twitter’s yet but hopefully, we’ll see some rapid improvement given the attention and influx of users it gets. I’ve waited long enough and it’s time to make the leap.

Twitter has been a major information source for me. It’s a convenient way to keep a “pulse” for everything I want to know, from the world news to things I want to learn, to people I know in real life. But maybe that’s just an illusion. Maybe I will be better off reading more books and calling people I know. Let’s see.


这一个来月筛简历筛得有点感想,就跑到twitter上发了个thread。不想成了我写过的最热的一个推。。。迄今收获200k impression,500多赞,100多转发,70多回复,500多新follower。



另外有趣的一点是发觉twitter的quality filter还是在工作的。七十多条回复里面推送给我看的可能只有二十条左右。我想了一会儿这个quality filter可能会考虑哪些因素,回复的浏览和互动量想必是一点,回复作者本人的follower数/reputation可能也会是一个直接或间接的影响。我比较好奇的是会不会根据sentiment(正面/负面情绪)来filter,因为我几乎没有看到任何负面评价的推送,而检测sentiment又是NLP里面很成熟的一个任务,已经有很多产品可用了。我的想法是twitter可能为了鼓励发推形成正向反馈,会倾向推送正面评价。但xw觉得twitter为了提高用户活跃度,会倾向推送负面评论来引发掐架。但也可能twitter会分析每个用户是会更respond正面还是负面的评论,来决定给人推正面还是负面的评论。但也可能twitter其实不考虑sentiment,只是这次的负面评论普遍都是没什么follower的sb发的所以浏览量不够……


原推里面写得那些点里面比较有争议的是career gap那条。首先澄清一下我说得不是career gap有问题,而是有career gap而不预先解释会减分。但后来想想这个是太苛刻了一点,应该说是有career gap并且预先解释了会加分,会让我有种“这人交流还挺周到的”的感觉。不解释的话。。其他方面不错的简历我得回信问,有点麻烦而已;其他方面也平平的简历,可能就pass了。所以这一条应该改成加分的说法:用他人眼光审视一下自己的简历,把可能立刻就会想问的问题在cover letter里面解释下,会是个加分项;相反不解释的话也说不上要减分。其实这条推里面大部分都可以改成加分的说法,但是估计就吸引不到这么多评论了。。不自觉地我也clickbait了一把。

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Why I Moved Away from Tweetbot

I bought Tweebot and used it for a week. Then I switched back to official twitter app. Here is why.

Tweetbot does have some “personalized” features. It has a dark theme and fancy sound effects, but I don’t really care about these stuff. It has left/right slide gesture, but I found them not intuitive and hard to memorize. The double/triple click is not always detected, so sometimes I have to click lots of times of a tweet and feel myself silly. The customizable tab looks useful, but not for me. What I want is to use a list as a tab, like what I do with Echofon for Mac. But Tweetbot doesn’t support that.

Besides these specious features, Tweetbot has some shortcomings compared to official app. “Discover” is an important part in official app. I check it at times and find it interesting.  Another crucial advantage of official app is speed! When view conversations or tweet detail, official app is obviously faster than Tweetbot.

Tweetbot does have a few delicate features that worth noting, such as the “unread counter”, and “select the last photo from library”. However after all, official app is a much better choice for now.

—–After a year——

Using Tweetbot on iPhone and iPad. Maybe just tired of the look and feel of the official app.

Twitter Open House

Went to an open house event at twitter NYC office. There were 2 short speaks: one was a twitter semi technical introduction and the other was about real time search. Not very in-depth actually. Some Q&A were quite deep though. I guess most audiences were engineers and some of them do search-related works.

An interesting thing is I met @nk, who I saw once 2 years ago in Beijing QCon. He gave a presentation about real time search at that time, a really great one. It’s very nice to see him again and have some talk.

In twitter office there are some photos on the wall, with tweets. The most impressing one is a photo of the airplane on Hudson river. That was probably the first photo of that accident online. And a funny video to tell u tweet is faster than earthquake.

I have always been respecting twitter as a company. They are doing something

  1. Changing the world.
  2. Helping ppl’s daily life.
  3. Open. Compared to close system like FB and Apple.
  4. Elegant. From a product perspective.

The more I respect twitter, the more I feel sick of sina weibo…