Twitter Has Gone Completely Insane
Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Remember how the YouTube algorithm used to guide you from one video to the next as soon as you watched something related to politics until you ended up watching the dumbest person alive rant about how Obama was a clone? The current situation with the blue checkmarks has evolved into something kind of like that.
Let’s get this out of the way first. I know I’m a hypocrite. I’m still using Twitter, and that makes me part of the problem here. Everyone that I follow for news or for their commentary on military affairs is there. Elon bought a monopoly, and considering the alternatives are basically just ghost towns, I’m gonna be there until the place finally implodes.
I’m also not going to pretend that batshit insane people are new to the internet. The human penchant for believing in nonsensical conspiracies is hardly new. I still remember the phase of stupid videos making the rounds where people thought snow was made of plastic because a lighter didn’t turn it into water.
The problem here though is that Elon has created a set of structural incentives to irrecoverably poison the well of discourse on Twitter.
Buying a blue check works to incentivize the worst possible behavior by the absolute worst people you’ve ever met. First off, you spend money for the (illusion) of credibility—which tends to primarily appeal to people whose views would preclude them from ever being widely noticed in the first place.
Paying for a blue check also has the effect of promoting everything you tweet to the front of the line. There’s no discernment. No judgment of content. Twitter doesn’t care if you’re a Qanon cultist, a Nazi, or a Wagner recruiter. It doesn't matter; your post is granted prime visibility.
Nowadays, you can possess an account with over 100,000 followers and display a swastika, yet Twitter seems to lack any mechanism preventing you from obtaining a blue checkmark. It's not that these individuals haven't always existed on Twitter; it's just that now they are being bestowed with what amounts to an official endorsement and a structural enhancement of their reach.
As a result, the most "popular" content (i.e. what Twitter forces me to see against my will) has devolved into the most trivial and senseless shit imaginable. People with millions of followers endlessly go on about how space lasers are setting Hawaii on fire, some conservatives talking about how the War in Ukraine is made up by the media, or a guy with a statue pfp that’s ranting about seed oils.
I don’t doubt some of these people actually just believe this stuff, but it’s pretty beside the point. It’s grifting on steroids. There's essentially no incentive to post anything in good faith anymore. Why would you bother?
All this engagement translates to earnings. If thousands of people start berating you, telling you how dumb you are, great job! You've just earned even more money! Catturd telling 2 million people that the war in Ukraine is actually made up? Free money!
Every single day at this point there’s a post to the effect that “Look! Ukrainians are in a club! It’s money laundering!” It’s a casual form of misinformation that just endlessly eats away at the ability of the public to discern what’s real about the world.
A lot of this obviously began under Trump in an institutionalized sense in the right, but Elon has cemented Twitter as the foremost platform for breaking down a sense of intelligibility in the world.
Does any of this actually matter in the real world? Probably in a vague sense. People get their news from these idiots. Charlie Kirk might be a complete idiot, but he runs arguably the most influential conservative organization in the United States and he routinely makes up complete lies for his audience like Silicon Valley Bank being a front for laundering money to Ukraine.
Is that a ridiculous stupid claim? Of course, it is. But it eats away slowly at people’s ability to say something concrete about the world. There are 1,000 different narratives about the war, so who really knows what’s true?
It’s just going to be like this from now on. With every single political issue that ever emerges. Even the concept of news is a PSYOP to most of these people now. And it’ll be like this every single day from now until the day Twitter hopefully goes bankrupt.
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