The Recycled Developer™

Hi, I’m not just an ordinary developer, I am The Recycled Developer™. That’s right! I posted a bunch of great, overrated, and outdated React, CSS, and JavaScript tips which many people called them as recycled content here at Twitter.

But well, I don’t care how much they hate me. “Haters gonna hate”, said Taylor Swift. And I can just block them if I wanted to.

Anyways, at least I’ve reached thousands of followers and millions of engagements in Twitter. Great! My recycled content slips into Twitter’s algorithm more than the average expert developers… perhaps even more than the developers behind AlgoExpert.io.

https://twitter.com/amputeeadventur/status/1480057418943909888?t=B_OKrv-hyGpwYy9YjX8nvw&s=19

Please pardon my actual programming skills, ’cause I believe my recycled tweets and memes just worth more than my normal life. Even StackOverflow once said that greatest artists like me copy, then paste.

That’s the spirit, the same strategy to increase my engagement, and the same strategy to solve my actual programming problems.

Big tech sucks. So I created my own React business.

You know, the truth is, big tech recruiters sucks so bad that Facebook didn’t let me in despite my astounding React (and Twitter) success. Why should a React developer like me understand the concept of Interface in Polymorphism?

Come on, JS classes and flippin’ binary trees? Does that even matter to me who’s just love to use React hooks at all?

Can you stop this nonsense?

Of course… not! I’m not kidding. Now I’m currently writing a book about Introduction to React which I took it from another great YouTube video from Fireship and let me paraphrase it a little bit so it looks more like original!

Let’s sell it to 99.99% of React developers who don’t use React properly so they can learn React the correct way! 🤑🤑🤑”

And speaking about React, now I’m extending my wings by writing recycled React tips to Hashnode, DEV.to, CodeNewbie, and especially Medium. Hopefully one day the folks behind Medium will award me an invite to Medium Partner Program… And get more sums of cash without being frustrated with my actual software engineering projects!

Don’t worry, folks, I am a real guru, and remember that the Rule #1 said “Gurus are always correct”, followed if “If you feel that the guru’s not correct, see Rule #1”.

Don’t be fooled and mislead by other gurus who recommend the greatest extensions and hidden gems for Visual Studio Code. Because my selection of the top 10 VS Code Extensions is the best amongst any other top 10 VS Code Extensions threads in the Twitter-verse!

📲 Reading this post on mobile? Click here to skip this tech Twitter madness.

Oh yeah, and finally…

Now here’s a random question I hope Twitter will get this tweet algorithmed. Which one do you prefer: Vim or Emacs?


What the heck is this all about.

It’s no longer a secret that many software developers and engineers today start to hate the current state of “Tech Twitter”. And as a software developer who loves Twitter in general, I personally fed up with the same issue, too.

Currently we own two main accounts on Twitter: @reinhart1010 and @alterine0101. At @reinhart1010, we prefer to share our articles from this site which is definitely not about the top 10 extensions for Visual Studio Code. Meanwhile, at @alterine0101 we try to solve people’s programming problems and fight some great online scams.

After reading tens of recycled content rants, many people tend to think that Twitter’s algorithm rewards these posts more than others (e.g. experienced developers). And sure, the distinction between these types of developers seems to be clear, in terms of what they’re interested in and why they care.

The beginner experience.

I understand that many of you, the readers, are experienced developers and also fed up with this situation. However, it’s important to revisit the days when you tried to understand what coding, programming, and software engineering is all about.

Now, let’s consider an ordinary person who really wants to learn programming. And of course, this person needs motivation to do so. It could be another Hacktoberfest event, another Hour of Code, or even the infamous #100DaysOfCode hashtag which those beginners would like to try.

Okay then. What’s next? Since many of them, myself included, came from a background where almost no one understood anything about the world of programming, these newbies need a place to talk and chat. Sure, one might try to find another beginners through Twitter hashtags and posts. Oh, yeah, those programming retweet bots also exist for this reason.

These “fake tech Twitter influencers” today actually did one right thing to promote software development to these beginners: tweeting things which are not complex to understand. Forget about MVP vs MVC vs MVVM, or SSG vs SSR vs CSR, it’s better for these beginners to learn the simplest things first so these weird acronyms won’t let them down in the middle of… yeah… .

Since then, many influencers have done insane ways to convert these beginners into Twitter followers. Just like in the Instagram world of “influencers”, where “influencers” finally influence, the way people think about influencers, aka. themselves.

The rise of developer influencers.

“It’s better for beginners to learn the simplest things first so these weird acronyms won’t let them down.”

Both social and networking skills still hold important roles in the world of software development. Without that, you can’t succeed in any software engineering projects, proprietary and open-source.

In fact, DevRel (Developer Relations) exist as a way to encourage and influence software developers around the world to use libraries, frameworks, and services the “influencer” wants people to use. Let’s say, to use AWS. or Cloudflare. or to adopt Next.js in the midst of React madness.

I personally tried to develop myself as a developer-influencer for everyone, and the concept here is a bit sophisticated. However, the simplest way to describe is all about building developer-customer relationships. Just like Kent C. Dodds who’s not just creating tutorials for React, but also care with people who bought the actual courses created by himself:

Now, back to the original topic. Did you read the second last Twitter post mentioned before this point of the article?

Isn’t this the same case with those Instagram influencers who pretend to have luxury things, despite don’t actually having the real, original version of it?

In my opinion, they’re technically the same. Many of them are profit-oriented as well. But when it comes what these people want to achieve, classic endorsement stuff won’t just work for tech Twitter unless if you’re trusted by the majority of developer communities which that product is designed for.

Why? Just why?

So, straight to the two main problems:

  1. Why many people still do that?
  2. What are the main motivations behind that?

After further researching on these Twitter threads, suspected accounts, StackOverflow, as well as #TechTwitterIndonesia – the Indonesian version of tech Twitter community, I’ve gathered out interesting reasons and motivations behind these. Yeah, right. StackOverflow also helped me to solve these problems. More on that later.

Please also note that I’ll mention a bunch of usernames, accounts, and websites here to give you clear examples, even though I don’t intend to blame and shame these accounts to do that influencer thing. It is also important that we ourselves should not generalize and make a stereotype of these developers, and it’s Twitter’s and our responsibility to keep tech Twitter to be positive and welcoming towards people with diverse skills. Yes, including those who are advanced enough and tired with recycled content.

1. To hustle on more projects.

Imagine a recruiter from a restaurant or an insurance company contacted you, “Hey, would you like to work on us to improve our website?” via a Twitter DM?

While many tech companies today exactly know how to recruit the right developer for their job, those who don’t understand IT well will simply try to recruit any developer out there. And this is unfortunately true even in Indonesia.

In August 2021, a state-owned industrial area management corporation announced a new job listing shown below. You don’t have to be proficient with Indonesian language to understand this, except the fact that the recruiter wants them to work outside normal hours. Yes, outside normal work hours. Also men are prioritized here.

CDC Unsyiah

Now, if you’re a recruiter from these types of companies, how would you find these candidates? Or how to validate their skills against the company’s requirements (e.g. React and Next.js)? If your answer is to find the credibility of these people, especially outside of LinkedIn, you’re very likely to be correct.

Here, I visited a website mentioned on an account with ~1K followers, which in turn to be a portfolio website for a web developer freelancer. The author claimed to be specialized in creating immersive, accessible and performative websites.

Sure. It works great if you open that from the freshly-baked Microsoft Edge for Windows 11, except when you decide to peek the webpage from your (very expensive) mobile phone.

Some of you might also be interested to see the Lighthouse score for this, especially when the author claims to build sites which are performant.

Ah, that’s great. At least that the developer in question is honest on his skills. Or perhaps because of some React tricks pulled from his sleeves? I don’t know for sure, but remember that mobile phones have taken the majority of Internet traffic today. Maybe that should be your next Twitter thread topic, Akash?

However, the developer clearly states that he is a freelance web developer, have built websites for a local property and jewellery company. With this website and Twitter facts in mind, there’s still a high chance for the recruiter to think he is proficient enough in his skills. Except if the recruiter placed him further into a set of coding interviews and exams, just like the folks at FAANG did.

2. To gain and benefit themselves from beginners.

Now, back to the roots of software developer beginners, or “code newbies” in other terms.

I’ve also discovered another Twitter account (~800 followers) with a noble mission: reducing the complexity of learning JavaScript down to 2 percent. It might sound similar to Kent C. Dodds’ main motto, “I help people make the world better through quality software.”

An old version of kentcdodds.com website

And as expected, the real irony goes when the developer in question replied to someone else’s Tweet. And it’s hilarious to read this from a perspective of a developer who has learnt and worked with web development since 2014 and Node.js since 2016 – which is me, by the way.

https://twitter.com/JSAyushThakur/status/1492570390920527874

So yeah, two months of actual JavaScript experience!? How can you even measure the complexity of JavaScript, anyway? Have you tried reading MDN instead of W3Schools? Actual W3C spec proposals? Contributing on things like Webcompat.com? Benchmarking the performance of An…

I bet that the developer in question doesn’t even know how to answer these questions. By the way, the developer in question linked his GitHub profile here.


Now, let’s fantasize that developers like these have grown up with more programming experience and of course, Twitter followers. What’s next? Publishing a course on Udemy and promote it to thousands of your followers which are still struggling in programming? Oh great, what a true master of social media marketing.

After all, they have become the same as other social media influencers out there.

3. Because I’m tired with the game. Or because the game provides me O(log n) instead of O(n²).

There are still some valid reasons here, even for experienced developers, to continue to post trending and follower-making recycled tweets and threads. Perhaps most of your time have been spent on fixing bugs and the curse of Friday deployments. Or make meetings and podcasts. Or simply because you believe that recycled contents are the most efficient way to gain engagement in the shortest amount of time.

At the end of the day, you decided to play the game in order to win the game. If you think that recycled JavaScript or Python tips are boring enough, then start with memes, right?

So, is this Twitter’s fault after all?

In my opinion, yes. This could because Twitter’s algorithm tend to generalize their topics when it comes to promoting and recommending tweets for everyone. Recycled content might not even be considered problems when it comes to news, beauty, travel, gadget, video games, and memes. Yes, people will still love memes despite that the account who posted it stole from other sites, e.g. Reddit.

Recycled content also appears in news. Each time a new iPhone launches into the public, many news outlets are, and will, write another headline for the exact topic. This is also true for new releases of programming languages, SDKs, IDEs, and frameworks. Like Flutter 2.0, Visual Studio 2022, WebAssembly, or even the already-infamous Firefox and Chrome 100.

After all, recycled news does not seem to be an actual point of problem here. But recycled recommendations and tips could considered the tech Twitter’s problem. However, I also see that recycled “top 10 places to visit in Tokyo” thread does not seem to be the problem for many people, especially when spiced with personal views and opinions.

Now, congratulations! This is not the end of the article, but you’re 2/3 there! Sure, we already answered so many questions regarding tech Twitter’s recycled content, but after comparing them with other, non-tech topics, apparently we have found the main issue behind devs’ dissatisfaction with tech Twitter today:

Recommendations without experience.

Here, it is okay to write another thread or a blog post recommending the top 10 extensions for Visual Studio Code. But if you’re missing the two main points here:

  1. Have you actually tried them one by one? If not, why would you say it’s the top? (Except when backed with a research, such as the number of stars on GitHub)
  2. Would you be willing to help someone who wants to set up that, especially when the person replied to your thread?

… then you are NOT A REAL DEVELOPER.

Based on a real Twitter reply. The thread author never replied to this tweet in less than 7 days after the tweet was published.

Just kidding. You are still a real developer, except that you won’t be able to ask anything on StackOverflow. Because these two points are based from one of StackOverflow’s official Q&A guidelines:

When asking a question, people will be better able to provide help if you provide code that they can easily understand and use to reproduce the problem. This is referred to by community members as creating a minimal, reproducible example (reprex), a minimal, complete and verifiable example (mcve), or a minimal, workable example (mwe).

https://stackoverflow.com/help/minimal-reproducible-example

Sure, your “Top 10 VS Code Extensions” thing could be the exact same as someone else’s “Top 10 VS Code Extensions”. But here, “why” makes the big difference. If we change these topics to “Top 10 places to visit in Tokyo”, I bet people will reference similar places for different reasons, e.g. the Akihabara district for AKB48 shows, electronic stores, video game arcades, or just because how futuristic are those streets.


And this is another real problem with tech Twitter. Alongside Twitter’s recommendation algorithm which favors these types of content, we’ve seeing many “developer influencers” sharing things without experience. After all, an Instagram influencer endorsing a chocolate bar does not need to know how much sugar and cocoa were put into the bar, right?

But the world of software development, or technology in general, is different from others. Here, we know about something named technical meritocracy. To gain more merit, you need to gain more experience. In the world of research, this might include how many people cited your reports over the course of the time. Or in the world of tech, if we exclude your Twitter followers, it could be your GitHub contribution graph or StackOverflow reputation.

But as explained on this video from LiveOverflow, skills are turned to be not super important in career. But networking does. And after all, Twitter is just a humble tool for social networking, not sharing your programming and hacking skills.

So if you are purely interested in this industry for the money, then it’s not really that difficult. You probably need to spent 50% of your time on learning, which you can easily cover with a few basic certificates, and the other 50% of your time you spend socializing and building “your personal brand” and you should be fine. I hate that.

“Hacker Culture Meritocracy?” by LiveOverflow

Congratulations, everyone! We found the secret formula! This seems to support my first 2 reasons on why people did this until today: benefiting from tech beginners (and recruiters who don’t understand tech at all) to hustle on more jobs and projects. Think that lessons learnt from IT security can’t be applied to software engineering? With waves of AWS-certified cool kids and those Twitter accounts coming toward us, this should be a point of concern.

After all, human moderation is king.

Look at the CodeNewbie Community website today. It’s a community blog website dedicated to those beginners. You can still see recycled content being shared here and there (and on the sister website DEV Community). However, if you subscribed to their newsletter, or look up at the Writers of the Month posts, you’ll instead see a list of blog posts recommended by humans, not algorithms.

This also applies to other blogging platforms, such as Medium and Hashnode. Also on some news reader apps like daily.dev. This site (reinhart1010.id) has been rejected by the team behind daily.dev for failing their content guidelines. But the point is, there’s always a group of humans to monitor interesting articles to be shown on their app’s home page.

But unlike these sites, we don’t know whether things like human moderators or “community members” publicly exist on Twitter, and I bet Twitter still heavily rely on algorithms to moderate a substantial amount of tweets from people.

The solution.

There are no easy solution to the problem here. Unless if the software developer community decided to move from Twitter into something more moderated, think about Discord servers or Hashnode for example.

I jokingly recommend converting Twitter to a place like StackOverflow, where duplicate tweets should be closed, downvoted, and deleted. One good news is that Twitter is currently testing a downvote feature on more countries. Well, until Twitter shuts it down for the same reasons as what YouTube did.

Also, that means you can’t tweet “gm” anymore without losing your reputation.

Another great solution here is by introducing public human moderators for specific topics on Twitter, This solution still doesn’t prevent more accounts to tweet recycled content, but moderators may cherry-pick the next list of post recommendations to be shown to developers. Just like Reddit, DEV, CodeNewbie, Medium, and more.

“Why should I follow you?”

Another important question to ask here is based on my experience on interviewing college students to apply as an activist of HIMTI, the Computer Science Student Association of BINUS University, Indonesia. Two of these important questions are:

  1. Why would you want to join HIMTI (as an activist)? and
  2. Why should HIMTI choose you?

If we rephrase these questions into following accounts on tech Twitter, it would be:

  1. Why would you want to follow an account?
  2. Why should I follow you?

The second question here can be used to filter out people who just want to gain social media engagement. Let see how will those accounts respond if we replied their follow requests this way.

Conclusion

Twitter is again, a tool for social networking powered with recommendation algorithms. And people who can crack down the algorithm can use it to gain their engagement, which is true for many influencers as well as these types of accounts.

Is is unfortunate that many software developers today primarily aim to grow their network for the sake of their careers, instead of showing their true skills, thoughts, and opinions on social media. Just like other social media, people will play to win the game of engagements and followers. This will last forever, unless if we decided to change the system.

OH WAIT A MINUTE

Why they bother to post recycled content to gain organic follower count, if they can just buy followers for their Twitter account?

By Shift

I'm Shift, the one who runs this site. People might already recognize me as Reinhart (https://reinhart1010.id/reinhart) before, but the ⬆️ on my chest prevented me to go back. That said I'm a software developer shifted into life and reality developer. I've also run a universe where my shifty shirt shifts me up to the shifty skies. It's the universe where I can't simply walk on the ground anymore, like Creative Mode full of steroids. That's why, I'm Skyborne.

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