Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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So you want Twitter to stop undermining democracy

Meanwhile, politicians themselves must assign Twitter a proper place in our cyberspace community. This is real life, but it’s not science polls. It represents a specific community of users whose importance is exaggerated by the presence of fashionistas, media influencers, politicians and academics.

Having good judgment is never easy, but every time you find yourself getting excited about Twitter drama, by asking not It’s worth double-checking when a terminal online colleague or loved one asks about this. If your rant about Bean Dad is causing a blank slate, it’s a sign you’re talking about the political equivalent your World of Warcraft Moonkin Druid has built in the hybrid company, and should probably back off. Larger political forces like Black Lives Matter or the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, because they are deeply rooted in the real world and belong to a completely different class, must be taken more seriously. It’s a useful heuristic for politicians and their aides: Are today’s hot topics the result of on-the-ground organization in the real world, or are they discussed entirely online?

The Potemkin Public Square

Twitter, often hyped by everyone for “Public Square” from academics and decent people to people like Elon Musk, not that kind of people.

This is a field of hyper-individualism masquerading as a collective that subtly promotes a similar attitude of responsibility to oneself. Brand building and catharsis are individual businesses that require others to be reluctant to participate. When you bemoan the impending doomsday on Twitter, whether it’s from Covid-19, monkeypox, climate change, the rise of neo-fascism in the West, or the new imperialism of China or Russia, you’re expressing the feelings of many— — and for good reason. But you’re also mostly venting. You do it to feel better because it feels good to say it and experience the picosecond-verified value you get from other people who agree with you. At the end of the day, that’s what the platform is all about.

Twitter does not induce any sense of responsibility towards others. Yelling at the end of the world might make you feel better, even if it adds to the noise that’s ruining someone else’s day.

Intellectual elites need to stay away from malicious influences like this. for all of us. Or at least just take a step back and give Twitter its proper place in our lives as one of many windows into the larger world. Waivers are irrational for many, but harm reduction is. Replacing the urge to scroll with something else is a small but important first step, like checking your intuition about popular opinions with your not-so-online friends.

Taking Twitter as a microcosm of human beings is threatening us all , whether we are on the platform or not, its toxicity. And, as someone who used to liken the internet to old-time bazaars, I think we do need to seriously reconsider our desire to see every virtual space as a “public square,” and take a look at what we really want and need from those spaces. What to get in to ask serious questions.

To borrow the platform’s vernacular, it’s time we all scratched the surface.



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