Updated: Jul 2
Something I have been pondering a lot this week with the meltdown of Twitter and the exodus to new platforms is our beliefs about how we curate our online space.
I have seen people talking about how they want to interact with "their" space, how other people should or should not behave on their territory and though this all seems fair enough, we jut up against the problem that everyone has their own rule book and we are all assuming ours is the right one.
When you post something on "your" wall it appears in "my" feed. Building these invisible walls around the content you put out there only serves to not have be accountable for the impact that your words or posts have. Posting on social media does not happen in vacuum. Each digital missive reaches the net you connect with and will be received by them in the life state and headspace they are in. Does that mean how it is received is your responsibility? Absolutely not. But to lay claim to some false idea of your posts exist in isolation and are a pure representation of your intent, is at best, a bit naive.
I think this is one of the under acknowledged aspects of what went wrong with Twitter. It was not "shouting in the void", it has often become more like flinging shit on a frisbee and then screaming that you have every right to throw things.
Our words are powerful, and so is that news article you didn't read before you reposted, or that meme which made you smirk because you know more than other people or that random statistic your mate Brian quoted from Questionable Science Dot Com.
If social media has taught us anything, it is the importance of discernment and critical thinking. What COULD the impact of this thing I am about to share be? How COULD it be read? Have I checked my sources? How funded that piece of research I am quoting? What is the history or the politics of that page I am sharing the oh so funny (yet uncredited) tik tok video from?
I've loved Twitter, truly. I gave me friends for life, connected me to the world when my Mum was dying, enabled me to believe I could be a photographer, and taught me about humanity and politics around the world. And a lot of the things I first loved about it, I am now finding over at https://mstdn.social/@HeardinLondon
I believe we are moving into a time that is going to be extremely tough for a lot of people, tensions are going to be high, and people are going to be struggling in ways we have no idea about. I believe now, more than ever, we need to keep keep checking in with ourselves about whether the stuff we public on public platforms represents our values and what we want there to be more of in the world. Because like it or not, we are sharing this space, and our online actions and inactions have real life consequences.