If you hadn’t nailed its tweets to the perch

I stopped using Twitter a while back, before it was an X website. The ongoing meltdown at that steaming crater in the connectivity graph where Twitter used to be illustrates why putting power in the hands of the super-rich is not a recipe for harmony. Contra economists’ assumptions, it’s not even a recipe for profit and economic progress.

I originally joined Twitter in 2014 so I could get code for a widget to echo department news on our website. Even before I finished writing a post about how much I disliked it, I realized that there was something to like about it after all. Back then, Twitter was accessible to third-party apps. So it was no more a walled garden than having a website hosted at someone else’s domain.

Twitter made lots of more-or-less random connections, allowing me to interact with people I never would have interacted with otherwise. For me, that’s what the internet is all about— for a while, that’s how Twitter worked.

A striking example of this is the time I got to edit the prose of John Rogers, writer and co-creater of Leverage. I admire his work, and it was a fun moment of interaction that wouldn’t have been possible without Twitter. It’s a bit meta, too, because the prose I touched up was about the instability and unsatisfying nature of Twitter.

Twitter exchange from May 2020 between @jonrog1 and @news4wombats

What follows is the text that’s in the image above. A Twitter exchange from May 29, 2020.

John Rogers @jnrog1 writes:

TRUMP: I will shut down Twitter!

ME: This is authoritarianism —

TRUMP: We will got back to the days of blogs and Google Reader!

ME: … go on.

John Rogers @jnrog1 writes:

It’s amusing (to me at least) that while “This is fascism” scans better in the joke, I’m too much of a pedant about the word’s misuse and so I went with “authoritarianism”.

P.D. Magnus @news4wombats writes:

“Tyranny” would have scanned as well, while also satisfying the demands of pedantry.

John Rogers @jnrog1 writes:

Goddamit, yes.

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