Essays on Technology and Culture

Why Twitter’s Dying

Here’s my tiny theory, in a word. Abuse. And further, I’m going to suggest in this short essay that abuse — not making money — is the great problem tech and media have. The problem of abuse is the greatest challenge the web faces today. It is greater than censorship, regulation, or (ugh) monetization. It is a problem of staggering magnitude and epic scale, and worse still, it is expensive: it is a problem that can’t be fixed with the cheap, simple fixes beloved by tech: patching up code, pushing out updates.

To explain, let me be clear what I mean by abuse. I don’t just mean the obvious: violent threats. I also mean the endless bickering, the predictable snark, the general atmosphere of little violences that permeate the social web…and the fact that the average person can’t do anything about it.

— Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It) — Bad Words

This rings so, painfully true. I have a decent Twitter experience because I aggressively curated follow list paired with massive mute filters and blocklists. Most people aren’t going to put that much work into a service, nor will they want to. What good is a global agora where nobody listens, but everyone yells? Or throws fists?