Memo to Muskmelons: YOU ARE DUMB.
Coming out of retirement because, frankly, the possibly fatal wounding of Twitter gives me some stuff to say that I’m not necessarily seeing said a lot of other places, so I might as well say it myself.
And one thing Elon Musk has accomplished, for a sufficiently loose definition of the term, is to have a group of followers with worse arguments than Trump’s. It’s hard to believe, but hear me out. It’s a lot like the arguments of Trump supporters, but with less variety. It’s a small, shitty subset of the Trump arguments, which makes it even more repetitive.
But my “favorite”, that we’ll be discussing today, is “And yet here you are, USING TWITTER!” to anyone complaining about how Musk is treating Twitter’s rules, policies, pricing, or employees. Oooh, you sneaky Musckvite, you’ve caught me, a Twitter user, using Twitter to complain about Twitter, which I use. Clearly, you’ve won the day.
Twitter, you see, is a social media site. And every single social media site is a Faustian deal with the forces of evil. Facebook’s litany of evil is well documented, but if that’s where your family posts its news, you shake hands with Zuckerberg and count your fingers after.
You use Reddit? Welcome to a lifetime of explaining to people you don’t spend any time on That Part Of It. Instagram? You’re shaking hands with Zuck again so that’s more finger-counting. Plus I think everything has to have a photo? I don’t know. I don’t fuck with Instagram.
Mastodon? Guess what, you’re now the Carob Person. Using Mastodon is constantly insisting to everyone who loves chocolate that once you get used to the weird taste and texture, it really is superior to chocolate in every way.
Twitter’s Faustian bargain, pre-Musk, was fairly standard. Twitter is an aggregation of the comments section every news article used to have before they decided that was too much work and they could just post the article on Twitter and let it happen there. Inadequate and inconsistent moderation meant a constant stream of harassment if your account or your tweet saw enough eyeballs.
It’s Twitter behavior that led to the coining of “reply guy”. You’re welcome.
The point is, there isn’t some magical non-Twitter place to go to interact with people the way you do on Twitter, which is why Twitter still even fucking existed for Musk to buy. This is how all social media companies of any size retain their position - by creating a web of connections that makes it very difficult to leave no matter how bad the experience gets or how toxic the ownership becomes.
That paradigm stops applying, of course, when some dipshit takes over and fires everyone who keeps it running properly because they refuse to be hardcore serfs in his dudebro fiefdom. Which is another reason to dust off the ol’ URL and point it somewhere moderately functional.