What should we make of the fact that X, formerly known as Twitter, is now owned by a guy who seems to relish the idea that social media should be a communications device open to the verbal hectoring of every crackpot, asshole, racist, Fascist and shithead with the physical ability to push a few buttons on a computer or droid and form a couple of words?
And let’s not buy into Musk’s nonsense about how he’s a ‘free speech absolutist’ because the only free speech he seems concerned about promoting is the speech of fear-mongering assholes like Alex Jones who claims he’s on the Deep State’s hit list because he told the ‘truth’ about the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Believe it or not, I’m glad that Musk has restored the formerly absent accounts of people like Alex Jones and Donald Trump, because this strategy represents what social media has become and how we should consider our options for using it going forward.
And when I use the word ‘our’ in the context of this spiel, I am obviously referring to those of us who know ‘for a fact’ that the alt-right are nothing but a bunch of fools.
First and most important about social media channels like X is that nobody is forcing anyone else to open or maintain a user account. I have an account, but I only use it from time to time to promote my stories and I never open it to read what anyone else puts online.
When Hitler became head of the German government in 1933, one of the first things he did (according to William Shirer in The Nightmare Years) was to install loudspeakers on every corner in Berlin so that his speeches and almost daily tirades could be heard throughout the capital city, whether Berliners wanted to listen to him or not.
Not only is X, Facebook, and all those other social media channels completely optional to use or not use, but I am convinced that increasingly the folks who access those venues are either kids who just look at pics of other kids or adults who want to know whether it’s going to rain any time over the next couple of days.
I remember when Rush used to brag about how his daily radio broadcasts had millions of listeners, and Rush was the forerunner of social media in many respects, what he never mentioned was that you could only catch…