Why I don’t like twitter anymore

I’ve been using twitter every day for over 4 years. It’s where I air ideas, catch-up with friends and get my news. In those four years twitter has continuously made changes, some that I was happy with, some less so. But recently, twitter has made a change that make me not want to use twitter anymore. A change that is making me angry, upset, and generally brings my mood down — Twitter has started treating me like a woman.

I’m not entirely sure when Twitter decided I was female, but I remember being very surprised the first time I saw a makeup advertisement in my timeline. How did that get there? There must be some mistake? Until then, all adverts had been things like web hosting, data storage, or any kind of service *tailored for startups*, or other tech-y things. Sure, they were not all good adverts, I sometimes get adverts for learning programming (specially ruby) at things like hackcademy. LOL. But then something changed. Instead of getting adverts related to my interests and things I talked about, I started getting adverts about makeup. Just to make one thing clear, I don’t wear makeup, I never wear makeup. Not even as a kid doing dressup did I wear makeup. Or as an experimental teenager. No. I have better things to do with my time and money.

So why was I getting these adverts? Twitter had gendered me, and they had decided that makeup adverts are relevant to my gender. I’m not sure how twitter gendered me, it could be my name. Although Google doesn’t think I’m female and I use the same name with Google. Who knows. And now that they have identified me as female, what I talk about, my interests, my personally doesn’t matter to them anymore. All that matters is I’m female. And all females get makeup ads, I guess.

My twitter experience has changed a lot since this happened. I’ll be discussing with my friends how to improve conference diversity, and BOOM twitter steps in saying I should “invest in looking better”. Or I’ll be doing research on improving Scouts badges and get more kids to learn to code and there it is “have you considered how pretty you could look if you just had this product”. Or maybe I’m answering people’s questions on kite mapping and what camera setup they need and twitter sneaks in a “isn’t it about time you get a makeover?”. Discussing with my friends how Norway implemented the “40% must be female” rule for company boards, “hey 9 of of 10 people said this product made them prettier it could work for you too”. Asking my friends to help me prepare for a job interview — “hey, are you doing enough to fight premature wrinkles?”.

Almost every time I pick up my phone, twitter is there to tell me how I could improve my beauty regime and improve my looks. I’ve been trying to fight it with blocking the twitter handles promoting the adverts, but it is not working. Also there appears to be a lot of Maybelline accounts. There might be things I could to to fight it, but it is easier to just stop using twitter.