(Put on Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence" while reading this one).
I have similar thoughts on this: https://www.denverpost.com/2022/12/29/why-leave-twitter-seth-masket-rip-twitter/
Basically Twitter had an intellectual community and it's kind of been killed, even if a number of people are still there.
To be fair, you said very loudly that you had essentially quit Twitter and I was very sorry for that during the speaker vote because you would have had the best jokes.
I am not seeing very much political commentary on Twitter these days either but that may be just a function of what I am engaging with. Adam Tooze seems to be finding good tweets to put in his "Top Links" posts on a regular basis.
I can only speak intuitively, informed somewhat by what I see and a bit of a background in strategic communications: I think the fragmentation will continue for a while--long enough that, if there is a move to come back "together," relatively speaking, we'll be beyond the current SM landscape already--it will be another vehicle. I think most of us will continue to gravitate toward reading/hearing what we WANT to, finding comfort to ratify what we already think over the seeking of truth (relatively speaking). I wish I was wrong, but that's how I see the next 8-10 years, at least.
For what it's worth, I'm on Twitter for three things: the poetry/writer community I'm part of, the NATSEC/geopol sector I used to be part of, and to connect with some genuine personalities (more of them women, but also some sports personalities) who make the world interesting. I refuse to leave Twitter for exactly the reasons people are leaving Twitter. And yes, I frequently comment on Musk's tweets, mostly critically, but sometimes in partial-but-qualified agreement.
"Fragmentation" is a bit loaded. As this process would be seen from the Fediverse, we have lots more circles, which overlap to a greater or lesser extent. We might not have talking points going viral, but ideas still percolate, with many more potential contributors, and concomitantly longer paths between them.
The idea of the premium bond (not sure who came up with it originally) seems like an example of this process to me.
Twitter is quieter, but Mastodon is an empty shell. . We’re between elections, the war in Ukraine is essentially a stalemate, as will be Congress. So we need to look for highlights, and Twitter isn’t helping. In fact, ironically, it is TV news (locally) and the NYT and WaPo that are my impetus to go searching on Twitter for those highlights ... often they are here, just not as visible as the network effect erodes. [E.g., for me, there’s much less climate and public health engagement, even though there are still some stars of both fields tweeting.
And here I am, your first comment.
What I think I'm noticing is that the folks I follow on Twitter, Substack, blogs, & MSM columns (I don't watch TV) are becoming stale. Ideas I'm seeing in MSM today were in Twitter last week and developed more thoroughly in Substack two days ago. I think that's because at the moment everything's pretty stable & calm. Inflation's quieting down, the war's on pause, etc. I like it this way.
Twitter proves that intellectual elites are not really elites. Twitter is probably the worst platform ever invented for in depth intellectual dialog, that which intellectual elites should be doing. Online discussion forums are the best platform for this purpose, which elites have completely abandoned.
Imagine this. All the intellectual elites abandon social media and come together on a single invitation only online discussion forum. No ads, no trolls and twerps, no endless pile of tiny little bits of nothing, no wacko billionaires, no algos deciding what you should see, and no nonsense.
That's where real intellectual elites would meet.
Social media is the very sophisticated manipulation of our minds by profit driven global corporations. It's amazing how good at that they are.
Yup, I'm on Twitter this month, even though I hate it, after having come and gone many times. This is SO EMBARRASSING! Please don't tell anyone!!
I believe it’s difficult to maintain the level engagement that occurred in the past because this was driven by fear, eg, doom scrolling. We can only be fearful of the same thing for so long before it’s meaningless. This is occurring with mass shootings.
But, it is a double edged sword; Autocratic regimes have difficulty holding onto power unless they continually increase the penalties for disobedience.