shocked pikachu dot jpeg
i should have fired off a post when elon musk bought twitter because this would now be a "well, i pretty much called it" type of post. but i didn't and besides, it's been even worse than i imagined in some ways.
it's hard to talk about because it's fucking twitter so what's the actual issue here, right? but man, i dunno. there's something interesting about twitter. a combination of reach, audience, and longevity that no other platform really has.
the latter quality - its longevity - is the most important factor. everything else aside, the mere fact that it has been around since the birth of "web 2.0" 1 imparts a significant historical value to its data. even if the actual content was irrelevant, its backend and engineering history will make for some rich studying.
but the thing is, the content is far from irrelevant. in terms of variety, twitter might have the most relevant content - used routinely by regular individuals, celebrities, journalists, politicians... it might be easier to try to think of niche groups that don't have a presence on twitter.
it's also important to note how much twitter is used outside the West. it's important for me at least, because i think it really serves to torpedo the notion that twitter is run by a certain political bloc. let me put it another way: there's a reason Fox News viewership falls off sharply outside of the united states.
i'm seeing people post about some twitter functions breaking, claims about shadow bans, that sort of thing. i don't take it all at face value2, but i have seen changes in my own twitter UI.
i'm not sure why i'm seeing some pretty gross transphobia being piped directly into my notifications feed from accounts i do not follow, but that is certainly not the sort of thing i saw on allegedly 'politicized' pre-elon twitter.
but hey, maybe i simply ignored this stuff when it was "my side in control" or whatever. i do remember these things popping up, mostly advertising for spaces? or something? but some covid related ones as well, which i guess counts as "political" but i dont even want to get started on that whole dumb thing.3
i guess if i had to stick a conclusion here to justify the writing effort, i guess it would be that this ought to be a pretty quick and obvious speedrun example of why billionaires are kind of crappy and you should never trust them as a general rule.
or maybe even just that one should set a higher standard for their heroes. i've really never come across a quote from elon musk that seemed particularly inspired or even original, and if you pressed me to prove an effort at objectivity, i could definitely think of a few billionaires who happened to drop some genuine insight on the world, in spite of however else i might feel about their actual impact or life.4
i'm just really let down that twitter risks becoming another voat, gab, parler or whatever. because somehow each of these failures escaped being labeled 'conservative' as far as the mainstream perception goes, probably mostly by being such awful places that they could never truly penetrate mainstream audiences.
in many ways, twitter itself was one of the websites that made folks stop and realize it was less a website and more of a platform, which was fundamental in ushering in the "Web 2.0" shift. ↩
i tend to think people are finding evidence of broken software and, being lay consumers, instead see it as some sort of targeted intent. designing a good search engine is hard, and outside of literally google/bing/etc, it's not usually the main product being sold. ↩
if you must know "where i stand" it's that as far as historic pandemics go, this one seemed pretty par for the course. ↩