In the wake of Elon Musk’s purchase, I just realized something about twitter and why a lot of my friends have been chased off it.
I asked a cosplayer I follow how harassers find her and she said “when my tweets leave my circle, bad things happen.”
And I realized, of course! The Twitter algorithm looks for engagement and shows users posts that they are more likely to engage with. The algorithm sees harassment as engagement, so if you hate women or marginalized people who like your thing, it’s going to show you exactly that to put those engagement numbers up.
It’s a cliche to call twitter a hellsite, but I’ve never laid this out in my head before. Your reward for creating intelligent, engaging words is that they get shown to worst people in the world.
We were all so worried about social media becoming an echo chamber that we failed to consider the alternative we went with. The software is going to find people who want to murder you and say “you know who was talking sh*t about you?”
And now that this deal has gone through and the top executives have been unceremoniously given the boot, we are left to wonder, why are we even bothering with places like this?
I’ll be honest and a little pretentious, I’m here to find community and knowledge. Interesting people who will expand my perspective. The discoverability of those things on twitter is pretty good actually.
I have no doubts that this site will become less useable as time goes on, because it has to make money and the needs of communities often conflict with the profit motive. What’s the point of having a marketplace of ideas if you can just buy your way into being right?
We’ve seen this happen before time and again with social networks in the past. I think the lesson we should learn from all this is if you value the truth, if you value ideas, we should all keep looking for our people.
When it comes to any change, especially in this day and age, We should keep coming back to acting according to our values. I want to learn new things, make friends, and make the world the better place. I want to be more outspoken and catch myself on the little lies I tell myself and others every day. If I do it on here, fine. If I find a different place where I can do that better, even better!