Twitter is Dead, Long Live Twitter

The ridiculousness transpiring over the past couple of weeks cements the notion the world is run by idiots with more money than sense. Billionaires control the media, which includes social media platforms. Who else could afford the capital investment and stomach riding the wave of uncertainty?

Capitalism and morality are generally mutually exclusive. Believing otherwise is magical thinking. If you are on the internet, you are being tracked every second you’re still breathing – ever after, really, since nothing on the internet ever truly goes away. Every keystroke is monitored, bought and paid for in ways beyond the average person’s understanding. We rail at it and berate it, but it abides as surely and powerfully as any natural force.

Heard of Stockholm Syndrome? Yeah, that.

The internet is built on the backs of the wealthy, and when men like Elon Musk take over social media platforms it’s like a toddler with unrestrained access to sugar. He’s been giddily crashing into walls, alternately laughing maniacally and crying about all the mean people trying to wipe the chocolate off his hands to stop him dirtying the good furniture. Musk is completely, one-hundred percent bonkers – out of his mind and wreaking havoc. We’d hoped for better but hedged our bets setting up accounts elsewhere. What’s happened should not be shocking. Dismaying, but not shocking.

Twitter isn’t going away anytime soon, in my opinion. It’s too big and there’s too much invested in it. But it is growing more hostile by the day as Musk continues making one morally bankrupt decision after another. It’s hate speech that’s definining Twitter, those who spew it and those cringing in defensive posture against it. Friends already on Twitter have been rolling with it, for the most part. Few have actually left the platform.

Maybe we’ve become immune. In the 2020s there’s nothing left to shock us; all the seats are rink-side. This is our circus and these are our monkeys.

I feel a little unclean staying but I’ve cultivated a quiet corner there, following mostly writers and creative thinkers, unfollowing political figures and blocking the usual unsavory suspects. Is it an echo chamber, sure. But what’s wrong with an echo chamber filled with decent, politically-aware people? My level of stress leading up to the 2020 election was unsustainable; after Biden’s inauguration I unclenched with the return of sanity, freeing up head-space for the enjoyable things I care about.

Social media’s the perfect outlet for communicating with interesting, mostly bookish people – including access to writers, publishing professionals, podcasters, etc., public figures I couldn’t otherwise get near. I’m able to keep up with what’s new in the literary world and explore interests more widely through specialized accounts I follow and links others share. Friends not on Twitter regard it with suspicion, put off by its earned reputation for drama, sinister bots, and vindictive trolls. While these are valid concerns, it’s possible to side-step all that by closely controlling which Tweets you see. It takes energy but I’ve invested that already, maintaining my safe space by smiting mean-spirited people and no longer engaging in political discourse. I haven’t been on Twitter thirteen years for the drama. If that’s all it was I’d have been gone a very long time ago.

Until it collapses completely, or I change my mind, I’ll stick with Twitter. Tolerating Musk and the other twats is really no more condoning them than living on the same planet endorses hateful people in general. If the opportunity arises to abandon Earth for a kinder, gentler planet with wi-fi, I’ll consider leaving it, too.

Just not on an Elon Musk rocket.

Take heart and band together with the good people. It’s what they do in disaster films, so it’s as valid an extrapolation as any. The alternative is going feral and living off-grid in Montana with the crazy preppers. Keep your bags packed and just stay here. That’s my advice, which is worth every bit of what you’d paid for it.