Today, November 12th, 2022, the people of Kherson, Ukraine are celebrating because the Russian forces have retreated. People think this is a reason to celebrate because it means “that” the particular city is safe. And it is, hundreds of people are safe and will sleep in their beds safely tonight.
But then what happens tomorrow? I hate to be one of those people that needs you to consider the options for social media giants, but we really need to talk, and we’ve needed to speak for a while, about how we use social media, but I haven’t had the mental bandwidth to say what I’m about to say.
First, let’s talk about the level of community building through social media. From activists to Mental Health Patients, and Scientists, people have gathered in social media spaces to discuss mutual interests, in ways we’ve never been able to before.
The way that we’re experiencing the fear of losing a platform like Twitter, is no different than when we lost AOL or AIM as children.
It was our first forey into adulthood these platforms. They allowed us to communicate about big emotions, and big feelings and taught us about sex, let’s be honest, we were all perverts in the 90s.
Everything and anything was available to us through the wild wild west of the initial days of the internet, and yet it still took 30 years for food delivery services to catch up.
Now here we are with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, and Tik Tok and anyone. of the loss of those platforms can mean the difference between eating for some folks, or not eating at all. A lot of people are making money online today, billions of us in fact.
Now many of you think social media has nothing to do with war, but when Anonymous went to war with the world, they took to the internet to declare their various plights against the world. They used the internet to live-stream action so that people could see what was really happening, in real-time.
In Ukraine and in Russia, activists were using the internet, to show people what was really happening, beyond what our western news sources were saying. The internet is the largest library in the universe, and we are only in as much control as the server owners allow us to be.
So when someone like Elon Musk wants to turn Twitter into a private company, I worry. It shouldn’t be a private company. Not given the amount of information and the number of users who use the platform.
The evolution of a platform like Twitter, with its ability to transcend space and time, and swallow mass amounts of information in seconds, is a terrifying thing. Especially when you don’t necessarily trust the guy at the top. When Trump won I said “give him a chance,” I was fair to Trump. I won’t be with Musk.
It’s not just because it’s the most widely used platform, it’s because trillions of terabytes of information are held on those servers, and that information is to me at least, sacred. It remarks the history of our planet in ways no library truly could.
Twitter saves every ounce of data that goes through those servers. There is nothing you can do to truly delete something because even if you delete it, it’s saved somewhere, that’s just a fact. So when Elon Musk, a man known neither for his subtly nor restraint, has access to that much power alone, I worry.
On a whim he can decide to ban all non-paying users, making it an exclusive party for those who can afford it, which means that we lose one more way to have our say. “Oh but Congress”, will do what?
Fine him?? He’s one of the richest men in the world, which means he has more money than the US Government has free access to, it means y’all. He can do whatever the fuck he wants, and there’s very little anyone can do about it, and the worst part is that he knows it.
So whether it’s a joke to you, understand the effect Twitter has had on the world, and ask yourself if you’re comfortable with him having that much power?!
Just some food for thought.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall
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