Since Elon Musk has bought Twitter, I have decided (probably like a lot of other people) to reinvigorate my blog. It’s amazing to think that it’s been almost 20 years since I’ve been publishing my blog. Though of late (oh… say about ten years) it’s been much neglected.
Internet communications technology has marched merrily past blogging and with it the expectations of those who surf the internet for news, opinion and cat pictures, which, now — compared to 2003 when I first started blogging — means pretty much everyone.
But I’m speculating that old tech may still be a way to squelch the bilious signal that will beam out of Twitter when Elon starts making his presence felt.
Like most popular social media, Twitter has been hacked. Bots and troll farms dominate discourse. Ads saturate actual real human Twitter users streams, as part of an opaque algorithm that has precious little to do with users’ preferences. Twitter won’t do anything about it because — bot, human or paid poster — all of that activity counts for advertiser billing purposes and bolsters claims of preeminence. And the more outrageous, salacious and rage-inducing the better because, well, that gets clicks and clicks are money.
I can’t just leave Twitter. It’s become too central to how I learn about what’s going on in the world. A well-curated Twitter feed with actual-journalist-verification has become the main way I learn about breaking news. Then, following people with honestly-held and researched, if challenging, opinions is how I try to make sense of it.
I expect this will get harder, if not impossible under Twitesla or TwitElon or whatever it starts getting called. Some of what he’s promised for the service — open source algorithms, transparency, etc etc — I like. But I don’t imagine for a minute any of that will happen. Because he’s never delivered on any of his other ‘save the world’ promises. And now he’s got $44 billion in loans to repay. So anything that doesn’t pay (exposing troll farms, letting people hack the algorithm etc etc) will be sidelined. By contrast anything that does pay — fraudulent advertisers, white supremacists bots, cyber warfare etc etc — will get the green light as ‘freedom’ takes the wheel and goes for a spin.
So putting more thoughts ‘out there’ but not on Twitter would seem to be the only antidote available to me. I like it because the content will continue to be my own and nominally under my control. I see folks talking about creating alternative Twitters and social media spaces. I hope something like that takes hold, though I don’t hold out much hope.
Meantime, I will use the tool available to me to make my insignificant, opinionated, yet not overly-informed voice available to any and all. No algorithms, no ads, and comments that adhere to my standards. Of course, I’ll still promote my posts on Twitter. A fella’s gotta feel like he’s got a shot at having a few readers.