Compare and Contrast: The Twitter Problem
As much as I like screen captures, I will dispense with showing them in this post, I think. Quoting @firstname.lastname@example.org: https://mstdn.social/@kissane/110153372803611489 #retoot:
Post by Erin Kissane. “Right now, a lot of fedi advocates are asking authors and artists to leave the social media sites that have allowed them to get by, but without doing much/anything to support those newcomers once they arrive here—even leaving aside the old-guard pushback against “self promotion.” And idk, “staying on twitter for your work makes you the object of my disgust,” is maybe not the persuasive tool a lot of people here seem to believe it is. 🤷🏻” Posted on Apr 6, 2023 at 14:51
We must contrast that with another post though. Quoting @email@example.com: https://journa.host/@w7voa/110155351634818818 #retoot:
Post by Steve Herman. “Since being labeled “US state-affiliated media” by #Twitter, NPR has not tweeted. npr.org/2023/04/06/1168455846/…” The post contains an image with no description. Posted on Apr 6, 2023 at 23:14
The post Steve Herman linked to can be found at https://www.npr.org/2023/04/06/1168455846/elon-musk-says-nprs-state-affiliated-media-label-might-not-have-been-accurate. The picture in the post shows NPR’s account page on Twitter bearing the label “US state-affiliated media” which is akin to the labels generally applied to government propaganda outlets like RT and Sputnik out of Russia. Oddly enough, this label was applied to the private non-profit NPR but it was not applied to Voice of America which is actually owned by the United States Agency for Global Media and has employees that are federal civil servants.
And then there was this, I guess. Quoting @firstname.lastname@example.org: https://mastodon.social/@dangillmor/110157692641473447 #retoot:
Post by Dan Gillmor. “So NPR has given its answer to the Musk regime’s loud contempt for the news outlet: To no one’s surprise, NPR utterly capitulated. The NPRPolitics account – and, apparently, other sub-accounts – is posting as usual on Twitter. This supports Musk’s business. Again, remember some relevant history. NPR was one of the most ardent purveyors of false balance, and normalizers of extremism, after the 2016 election. Anyone who imagined the organization to find a spine now was just naive.” Posted on Apr 7, 2023 at 09:09
My feelings on Twitter are very mixed. Erin Kissane is right that the old-guard pushback is very much still there and is not likely to leave. There aren’t counterparts yet in the fediverse to the economic structures creators possess on Twitter. Twitter is having problems with an arbitrary leader, though. Mediaite reports its headquarters signage has been modified to now say Titter. Semafor reports that Twitter is letting propaganda content from the Russian Federation and People’s Republic of China apparently run wild. The Verge reports that Twitter cuts off content creators on Substack from embedding tweets.
I’m not sure Twitter should still be functioning. We’re in a “Weekend At Bernie’s” situation. It is dead. We’re parading the carcass around while trying to act like everything is okay. People are trying to keep on keeping on but the site has become a den of misinformation and disinformation. It is now effectively a battlefield for information warfare/psychological warfare rather than a communications platform.
In the end, stay if you have to in the bad neighborhood. After all, the fellow who is now The Owner of Twitter is degenerating into a bumbling Boss Hogg sort of character before our eyes and is not taking very good care of the place. We must all work together to build a better world if we want a transition to succeed. Sticking with the status quo is going to lead to compromises that we can’t afford in the future.