I’m not planning to leave Twitter any time soon, at least in part because, while I don’t fully buy the position, I do see the point of the arguments about white people (women in particular) fleeing because we have an unearned expectation of safety.
[The part I don’t buy is: Why should I voluntarily stay on a completely optional platform and subject myself to abuse, just because some other people are subject to abuse there or in other places in life? That seems like an ask folks aren’t qualified to make. Fortunately, my account is small enough and anonymous enough that online abuse hasn’t become an issue for me. Yet.]
Still, it is growing far less useful, as the Nazis come back and get free reign to, you know, be Nazis, and the interesting voices I’ve found there begin disengaging. (I know I certainly am, although I’m not sure I can rightfully claim to be an “interesting voice” on Twitter.)
[Twitter has been of limited use for a while, frankly, as I watch tiresome repeated bouts of middle school drama unfold between bigger accounts I follow and a LOT of terrifically unproductive and alienating generalizing go down pretty much daily. And that’s all from liberals and progressives. I don’t even want to know what RWNJ are up to on the platform.]
Plus, the wheels are likely to come entirely off the bus any second now, seeing as Elon fired all the people who actually know how to make the platform, long held together with baling wire, duct tape, and fairy dust, RUN. (For a detailed look at exactly what that’s likely to mean, check this recent piece from MIT’s Technology Review.)
So what’s next?
I REFUSE to go back to Facebook – and it seems like a lot of folks who’ve, like me, gone the full-on #DeleteFacebook route or at least only keep a profile to prevent squatters and keep up with pictures of their cousins’ kids agree. Facebook is dead.
Mastadon seems to operate on a complexity level similar to running a Linux mail server, which I did back in the day, and don’t intend to do ever again, so help me Goddess.
Folks are slowly being let off the queue and into Post.news, but not a critical mass of my mutuals (yet) so I can find out if it’s worth it.
A friend set up a Discord instance, and it’s a wasteland so far. Same with the Slack channel another friend set up. I was invited to join a Rantt community, but honestly, I’m not willing to pay a monthly subscription fee for an unknown quantity.
Let’s be real – I’m too old for SnapChat and TikTok. And I’m insufficiently appearance-obsessed for Instagram.
OTOH, maybe it’s time (past time) for the whole thing to just go poof. As a recent article in The Atlantic argues:
Social media turned you, me, and everyone into broadcasters (if aspirational ones). The results have been disastrous but also highly pleasurable, not to mention massively profitable—a catastrophic combination.
In short, what originated as networks of real people who mostly knew each other in real life or formed real friendships as a result of connecting online around shared interests (or both) turned into a “pay attention to MEEEE” cult of would-be celebrity, where the goal is to create “content” that goes “viral” so one can get attention which could potentially turn into cash if you can sustain it – aka, becoming an “influencer.”
As the author points out, this has led to people both believing they deserve a large audience and believing that anyone they have access to (which is everyone) owes them attention. Or as the author puts it: “People aren’t meant to talk to each other this much.”
social media produced a positively unhinged, sociopathic rendition of human sociality.
And it’s a feature, not a bug.
The author’s prescription is to return to actually talking to people, real people you know personally, so fewer people, and probably less frequently. In other words, go see your friends.
Sounds like good advice to me.
Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter (at least for now) @MrsWhatsit1.