Internet Friends

38: Whac-A-Mole

March 4th, 2020  •  54 mins 41 secs  •  Download (38 MB)  •  Link with Timestamp

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Seems like as good a time as any — okay, maybe good is a strong word — to revisit the topic of Twitter. Between the worldwide plague of grotesque elections and the worldwide plague of COVID-19, the Twitter vibes right now are the worst since at least the 2016 U.S. election, if not ever. Jon and Drew discuss why Twitter offers such a harmful attraction in times like this. Jon figures it’s time for his first big following purge in a long time, and he and Drew consider what it takes to shape your social media experience to be as close to what you want, given the way the platforms militate against it. What perplexes us is, it should be in social media companies’ interests to make their algorithms compassionate to their users, not merely stimulating. This status quo is so shortsighted. What precious few of the entities supporting the internet we live on seem to wonder is, what are people going to remember about them in 10 years? Will they remember their results from the March quarter 2020? Or will they remember whether they succeeded or failed to help people weather crises we lived out on their platforms? Bonus: A preview of Drew’s exciting experiments with ephemeral posts!