Why I left Twitter, and you should too.Thoughts ·
November, 2022. The threat of the covid pandemic has been forgotten, the climate crisis continues unabated, and Elon Musk succeeds in his acquisition of Twitter, one of the largest social media platforms on the internet.
I knew going into this acquisition that Musk was a megalomaniac with a large base of white supremacist and tech nerd support. I knew he would use the platform to find ways to benefit himself and quash dissident opinions against him. I was prepared for him to bankrupt the platform and for it to slowly fade away to insignificance and I would have been content to stay onboard until the end listening to the band perform their last farewell as we all drowned beneath the weight of one man’s ego.
At least that’s what I thought. Then Musk did something I couldn’t abide. In a post created on his personal twitter account, Musk held a poll with the statement “Reinstate former President Trump”. This poll at the time it ended had over 15 million votes, a fraction of the 134 million Musk claimed to have seen it. In an attempt to engage with a democractically lead decision making process for twitter, Musk engaged with a crowd that predominantly favours him and his ideals, many who would disagree with him would have blocked him, departed from the platform already or refused to engage by principle. A mass exodus had already begun with invidiuals evacuating to Tumblr, Mastadon, Cohost and other social media alternatives.
Now I recognise as a private entity, Musk as CEO can direct the platform however he wishes, and if Musk were to reinstate Trump without the poll I would’ve continued my consentual passage to nowhere, but in this performance Musk has done something far worse. Musk has given his supporters, and Trumps supporters, validation. He has said that their voices, and their opinions have power over the direction of the platform. As a transgender non-american, this sets a precedent that starkly combats my views on equality, fairness and cooperation. Enabling this crowd of individuals, who in the past year have been responsible for mass shootings, insurrection and criminal level over-reach of state power; Musk has declared his new twitter to be a bastion for bigotry disguised as “Free Speech”, despite the constant attrition he is facing and constantly combatting.
I didn’t leave Twitter with a farewell or let people know where to find me. As a former web programmer myself I’ve been at war internally with the idea of web 2.0 services acting as monopolistic entities and yearn for a return to slapdash IRCs and Geocities blogs. That’s why I picked this blog back up. I felt, following this most recent move by Musk, that encouraging any further participation with Twitter at all was morally and objectively the wrong thing to do, and I would hope that anyone who shares my views would do the same.
As a platform that was previously a publicly traded entity, and whos private acquisition has been supported by federal loans, I expect to see mass outcry over mismanagement in the following weeks, if the swathes of lay-offs doesn’t terminate the platform prematurely.
I expect this to be a pivotal moment in Internet History, still a technology as vibrantly young as myself, there will be some mistakes, and in it’s naivety there will be continued attempts to exploit it. I am confident however, in time, we will strike a balance. I’m looking forward to seeing how the internet evolves in response to this transparent hostile takeover, though I am equally afraid of the damage that will be done in the interim.
Please, if you value fair representation, if you want to see a free internet where all opinions are shared and challenged equally, leave Twitter. Don’t engage with the controversy, as all attention is good attention as Musk is frequently reminding us. Though I’ve linked some tweets here for demonstration purposes, I have done so only to support my claims and I hope they will be the last I interact with.
Good luck to you all, wherever you may land. For now I’ll be on cohost rebuilding my stream of art engagement as I had done on Twitter, so if you’re looking for introductions to new artists follow me over there. Until next time, farewell.