I don’t have many relationships that have lasted as long as my love-hate relationship with Twitter. I first joined the app in 2010 – early on in my gender and sexuality journey. Back then, I was not-yet butch, queer, non-binary, trans, married, or even a teacher. In many ways, Twitter has been a way for me to learn, discuss, and document my growth in real-time. On a recent episode of Vibe Check, co-hosts Sam Sanders, Saeed Jones, and Zach Stafford discussed the impact of the app, especially what it means for Black folks looking to joke, connect, and talk back to a world that would rather we not do any of it.
It’s hard to say goodbye and I don’t want to, but nothing lasts forever. 140 characters have turned into 280. Memes became gifs and gifs became voice notes (which are terrible). These days, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Twitter may crumble any day now. For many folks like me – Black, queer, and desiring connection – Twitter has served as a vehicle for dialogue, digital intimacy, and a lot of laughter. Twitter is where I get my news, where I go to procrastinate, where I look for inspiration to keep going, and (of course) where I go to connect with other queer folks with shared interests and identities. For the past week, I’ve been trying to reckon with this slow goodbye, to make plans for what comes next for me. I figured I can’t be the only queer who’s wondering how I’ll find community so here’s a list of 17 suggestions I’ve brainstormed for us all.
1. Slide into the poetry aisle at your local independent bookstore
Not only might you find a cute transmasc top reading a book of sonnets, but you’ll also be supporting an independent bookseller who stocks diverse books, supports new/upcoming writers, and serves as a meeting hub for your community
2. Get a big sip at your favorite local coffee shop
It doesn’t matter that you “don’t drink coffee” – most coffee shops also have tea and yummy treats (at least my spot does). 10/10 would definitely recommend bonding with a friend over a cappuccino and chocolate croissant this winter.
3. Go look for your new DJ at the record store
If you’re looking for hipster queers, you’ll find them at the record store. They will be in the 80s or 90s section trying to decide between Pat Benetar, The Clash, and Tina Turner. I hope, for your sake, your new friend chooses Tina.
There are, of course, all of the other major social media apps that we use today. Autostraddle is on both Facebook and Instagram, too! I know myself though; I hate Facebook and Instagram is overwhelming, but if Twitter crashes, I guess I’ll just have to post more thirst traps and watch dog videos to pass the time (maybe I’m onto something).
5. Tumblr – are we going back to Tumblr?
A queer legend. An icon. A beacon for many. Tumblr’s been out for a while, but some folks I know have been talking about going back. I was never cool enough to be really into Tumblr, but I’d be willing to entertain it. What do you think? Did you ever leave? Help me get hip in the comments!
6. Just walk your dog – we love dogs.
If you’re like me – you may be more of an animal person than a people person. Sometimes, our animals can be the gateway to great conversations with people. And even if it’s not, at least you get some exercise and get to meet other cute dogs!
7. Are clubs and bars still in?
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good drag show and dancing the night away with friends but I haven’t had good luck making strong connections (like those on Twitter) in the club scene. If this is your thing though, maybe Twitter’s death will be your invitation to get back out there and party!
8. Get a library card and go!
I don’t know about yours, but the Public Library in my town always has tons of events happening. I’ve found free library events are a nice bridge to sparking meaningful conversations with other folks who may share similar interests.
9. Host or attend a watch party or movie night!
When I was in college, watch parties were a staple in our friend group! Sure, these days we can do it via Twitter with a hashtag but maybe it’s time to reestablish (or reconvene) your friend group for a recurring watch party. Nowadays, most of the platforms offer group watch so it works for those wanting to be COVID-safe as well!
10. Maybe we’ll all end up on Mastodon
There’s a lot of talk about Mastodon being the new alternative to Twitter. After I saw a few people tweet about it, (I think) I made a Mastodon account. It looks overwhelming and I haven’t logged in since. I’m not that old, but I’ve decided that I’m too damn old to learn a completely new platform. If you’re willing to offer Mastodon tutoring lessons, though, let me know. I might be persuaded to figure it out.
I’m not just adding this in here because it’s Autostraddle and they’re making me do it. Some of the best queer conversations and connections I’ve made have been through the community on this website. It may be where I live forever if Twitter dies.
12. Try “the apps” (terrible but there)
Apps like Bumble and Lex have platonic aspects of them but they are very limited. I recently joined Lex in Ohio and even with a 200-mile radius – it is sparse and lacking.
13. Check out organizing spaces (online or in-person)
Socially conscious, fired-up folks are always wanting to meet, connect, and strategize both online and offline. Even without Twitter, this work will continue and connections can happen!
14. Go get some goodies from Trader Joe’s (or some other crunchy food place)
You’ll find your new vegan baker BFF in aisle 3 at Trader Joe’s. Go meet them there now!
15. Brunch anyone?
This is a given, right? If Twitter dies, I’ll be throwing her “funeral party” at brunch.
16. Drive your Subaru to an outdoorsy store like REI
I know for most of us, it’s getting too cold to spend much of our time outside but some of us love being outside all of the time and others of us just love cheap end-of-season clearance items! Maybe you could strike up a friendship with your rugged bestie over by the rock climbing wall.
17. Sign up for a community class or sports league
The best way I’ve found to build long-term meaningful connections with folks in my own backyard is by committing to a long-term engagement with them (scary I know), but maybe consider taking a basket-weaving class this winter or joining the volleyball team. Sure, maybe everyone won’t be queer but we’re everywhere – your people will find you.