Activism Learning Society The Internet

Destroying a public good

Replied to Twitter is dying by Natasha LomasNatasha Lomas (

However if the point is simply pure destruction โ€” building a chaos machine by removing a source of valuable information from our connected world, where groups of all stripes could communicate and organize, and replacing that with a place of parody that rewards insincerity, time-wasting and the worst forms of communication in order to degrade the better half โ€” then heโ€™s done a remarkable job in very short order. Truly itโ€™s an amazing act of demolition. But, well, $44 billion can buy you a lot of wrecking balls.

That our system allows wealth to be turned into a weapon to nuke things of broad societal value is one hard lesson we should take away from the wreckage of downed turquoise feathers.

Society isn’t equipped to prevent the willful destruction of things that give power to the masses by the elites who wish to uphold the status quo.

Musk buying Twitter (with Saudi financing ๐Ÿ˜’) to drive out the libs and boost the incels is like LJ when it was taken over by the Russians to drive out the gays. The site may continue to exist, but any value it once had to society has been destroyed. Twitter will surely use the vestiges of its former power to do harm too.

Authoritarians and the wealthy will always use every tool at their disposal to suppress free speech by the masses, because it benefits us far more than it does them.

I have serious qualms about the US government banning TikTok, especially in light of Twitter’s functional collapse. I don’t have an account, but I’m referred there more and more often instead of Twitter, as people use video to communicate critiques and news that I would have gotten on Twitter in the past.

I don’t read news in the traditional sense of going to a paper’s website and reading the headlines, but instead in recent years have relied on following a large pool of pro-labor, queer, academic and expert and artistic and techy folks. Through them I’ve gotten excellent commentary and context around the kinds of stories I care about, which are often not covered by mainstream news or lacking the underlying info that makes it fit into the world. This way, I hear about things like protests and labor movements and attacks on personal liberties and the environment, and only hear about the worst mass shootings so I can have some emotional space to recover between incidents. I might not hear about everything instantly, but I feel I get a better source of information.

Mastodon is not (yet?) a viable replacement for Twitter or TokTok’s cultural commentary and awareness of advocacy. I find Mastodon threads overwhelming since they don’t have threading and you can’t tell who / what someone’s replying to, and sometimes replies appear to be missing. It’s basically useless to engage in an existing long conversation that you weren’t following from the start because unravelling it is too complicated. I followed some interesting folks on Mastodon via but might unfollow them given the opacity of conversations. Mastodon may well be a better place for people to form community, but it is not substituting as an information, news, and commentary source for me.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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