Wil Wheaton is free from the bonds of social media. Wheaton made a big deal out of leaving Twitter on the organized DeactiDay, which was a virtual walkout over Twitter’s lack of policing harassment. In particular, Wheaton was among those that had hoped to see Twitter ban controversial conspiracy theorist ‘Info Wars’ host Alex Jones. After announcing his Twitter split, Wheaton headed to a new service called Mastadon but was promptly driven away by the toxic fandom he found there. Among the subjects of attacks against him, was his failure to condemn his friend Chris Hardwick after he was accused of mental and sexual abuse by his ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra.
In his final tweet, Wheaton wrote:
“Twitter is broken. You deserve better than an app that tolerates and welcomes the spreading of abuse and misinformation. Being part of this is not doing us any good. Personally, politically, socially. For a day, a week, forever: your call. It’s just a good time to go.”
Then, after his negative experience on Mastodon, he announced:
“I found a harsh reality that I’m still trying to process: thousands of people who don’t know me, who have never interacted with me, who internalized a series of lies about me, who were never willing to give me a chance. I was harassed from the minute I made my account, and though I expected the ‘shut up wesley’s and ‘go f**k yourself’s to taper off after a day or so, it never did. And even though I never broke any rules on the server I joined (Mastodon is individual “instances” which is like a server, which connects to the ‘federated timeline’, which is what all the other servers are), one of its admins told me they were suspending my account, because they got 60 (!) reports overnight about my account, and they didn’t want to deal with the drama.
“I don’t deserve to be treated so terribly by so many random people, so I’m not going to put myself in a place where I am subjected to it all day long. Please do your best to be kind, and make an effort to make the world less terrible.”
Wheaton has always been the subject of nerd scorn. His teenage ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ character, Wesley Crusher, was the ‘Episode 1’ Anakin, over a decade before ‘Episode 1’ Anakin. As an adult, he has embraced being the butt of jokes, perhaps best exemplified by his wink-wink role as himself on ‘The Big Bang Theory’, and in doing so endeared himself with a large chunk of fandom. But obviously, not all of fandom.
Wheaton has struggled over the years with anxiety and depression, so Twitter and other social media services are probably not the healthiest places for him anyway.