About staying and ‘fighting’ on Twitter



Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[1] fair use.

There is a new blog post entitled, “About Elon Musk’s Twitter poll and about Twitter polls generally.”

In that post, I mention that I have two Twitter accounts, one private and one public. I need to surface into the public account when I want to interact with someone who doesn’t follow me.[2] And so I did recently, and met with a torrent of toxic responses. Twitter has temporarily blocked my public account from Julia Ioffe’s account because—I really don’t know how this works—apparently she invoked a safety mode (which I guess is available to verified users but not to me). I doubt Ioffe meant anything against me and I certainly don’t blame her for invoking that mode; I simply got swept up with a bunch of anti-Semites because Twitter’s artificial idiot is incapable of telling the difference. (But hey, let’s all worship the artificial idiot![3])

Twitter is becoming dramatically more toxic. And I am considering my continued presence on the platform because I certainly don’t want to be involved with this toxicity.

I see a number of people urging folks to stay and “fight.” But it remains unclear to me how we “fight” when Elon Musk can dummy up an utterly bogus Twitter poll any way he likes[4] and claim a popular mandate for whatever he wants to do. We have no power whatsoever to compel, nor even means to influence Musk to do anything.

So what is this “fight?” A bunch of people confusing online activism for real activism?

At the very least, I will likely be using that public account much more sparingly.

Ron Kampeas, “Welcome to the new Twitter: Kanye West returns with ‘shalom’ and Elon Musk trolls the ADL,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, November 20, 2022, https://www.jta.org/2022/11/20/united-states/welcome-to-the-new-twitter-kanye-west-is-back-and-elon-musk-trolls-the-adl

Faiz Siddiqui and Jeremy B. Merrill, “Musk issues ultimatum to staff: Commit to ‘hardcore’ Twitter or take severance,” Washington Post, November 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/16/musk-twitter-email-ultimatum-termination/

Joseph Menn, Nitasha Tiku, and Faiz Siddiqui, “Hundreds said to have opted to leave Twitter over Musk ultimatum,” Washington Post, November 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/17/twitter-musk-easing-rto-order/

Johana Bhuiyan, “Elon Musk summons Twitter engineers amid mass resignations and puts up poll on Trump ban,” Guardian, November 18, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/nov/18/elon-musk-twitter-engineers-workers-mass-resignation

James Clayton and Peter Hoskins, “Twitter locks staff out of offices until next week,” British Broadcasting Corporation, November 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-63672307

Annie Gaus, “Twitter Teeters as Offices Shut Down, Employees Flee,” San Francisco Standard, November 18, 2022, https://sfstandard.com/business/twitter-teeters-on-collapse-as-offices-shut-down/

Elon Musk, “How do you make a small fortune in social media? . . .” Twitter, November 18, 2022, https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1593415171149791232

Sky News, “World Cup risks knocking out Twitter after staff exodus, industry expert warns,” November 18, 2022, https://news.sky.com/story/twitter-reportedly-closes-offices-over-sabotage-fears-as-more-employees-resign-12749959

Faiz Siddiqui, Drew Harwell and Isaac Arnsdorf , “Elon Musk restores Trump’s Twitter account,” Washington Post, November 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/19/trump-musk-twitter/

Liz Moyer, “Elon Musk Reinstates Trump on Twitter. Trump Shrugs,” Barron’s, November 20, 2022, https://www.barrons.com/articles/elon-musk-reinstates-trump-on-twitter-trump-shrugs-51668964354

Kelly Rissman, “Donald Trump’s Twitter Account Has Been Reactivated But Will He Return?” Vanity Fair, November 20, 2022, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/11/donald-trump-twitter-account-has-been-reactivated

Vlad Savov, “Musk Welcomes Ye Back to Twitter After Inviting Trump’s Return,” Bloomberg, November 20, 2022, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-21/musk-welcomes-ye-back-to-twitter-after-inviting-trump-s-return

Duty To Warn, “Elon Musk tweeted this meme. . . .” Twitter, November 21, 2022, https://twitter.com/duty2warn/status/1594655174852755460

  1. [1]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “About Elon Musk’s Twitter poll and about Twitter polls generally,” Not Housebroken, November 21, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/11/21/about-elon-musks-twitter-poll-and-about-twitter-polls-generally/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Our new Satan: artificial idiocy and big data mining,” Not Housebroken, April 5, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/01/13/our-new-satan-artificial-idiocy-and-big-data-mining/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “About Elon Musk’s Twitter poll and about Twitter polls generally,” Not Housebroken, November 21, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/11/21/about-elon-musks-twitter-poll-and-about-twitter-polls-generally/

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