Living in Society

Twitter Take Two

One day after Elon Musk acquired Twitter I protected my tweets. For the uninitiated, that means only people who follow me can see them. I cut back on posting as well.

Two days afterward, I opened this can of coffee and chicory to make a pot. The coffee reminds me of a trip to New Orleans where I had some with beignets at the French Market Cafe du Monde. After Katrina, it reminds me of the peril of living close to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Happy times a plenty, yet the brass band is always on standby for a funeral procession. Today is a Saturday tinged with sadness for more important reasons than who owns Twitter.

I began blogging in 2007 and created a writing process that includes blogging and social media. Twitter has become an important medium for my writing as 12 percent of my blog views this year came from their website. The 63,000 tweets I’ve written since joining in 2008 have taken time and thoughtful consideration. The years have been a process of learning how to write in public. I summarized it in a note to Donald Kaul’s last publisher after he had a heart attack.

How oligarchs and big money impact social media was in the background until now. After Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the process to which I referred in this note needs re-engineering. It needs distancing from social media. My writing needs protection from the vicissitudes of oligarchs. It means breaking the comfort of patterns developed over many years. That period began specifically on Nov. 10, 2007 with my first blog post. The new period has arrived as I take up my autobiography again this fall. Let’s say it began on Oct. 27, 2022.

What about the friendships developed on Twitter? A few in my circle are unique to Twitter. I know and have had social relationships outside the platform with more than half of the 177 people I follow. I would miss those interactions, even if from time to time they make me mad. They are the strongest case for preserving my Twitter account. I may yet do that, but not before the post-acquisition period plays out.

There are complications. I’m reading Alice Wong’s memoir Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life. Wong has muscular dystrophy and despite being disabled by it has written an eye-opening book, which I recommend. In it she writes how Twitter enables disabled persons to participate in social activism in a way they couldn’t if it didn’t exist. We should be building people up, not tearing them down. If Musk and his investors are unsuccessful in producing the amount of revenue he wants from the platform through ownership, that could lead to something terrible regarding the disabled community. The complications are complex when we consider how many users exist and the many things it means in their lives.

I’ve been encouraged to wait the transition out. I’m in no hurry to go dark on Twitter yet accept that as a possible outcome. In the meanwhile, I’ll post less and lurk, waiting to see what happens. I have plenty of writing and reading to do offline.

One reply on “Twitter Take Two”

Another one here with great memories of reading Donald Kaul every morning. Of course, he was wrong about girls’ basketball, but I forgave him.
Given that I have fewer predicable blocks of time and energy these days to devote to longer reading much less composition and recording, I’ve fallen into the Twitter rabbit hole. It’s still inefficient more than evil, but like you, I don’t control it and so will wait and see.

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