the design of twitter & other follow-boost services like tumblr or mastodon is fundamentally untenable and will always create conflict on such scales that people will feel like their only response is violence

in community spaces, we moderate what we say to meet the needs of our peers. this is a real responsibility & pressure and is critical to community health. it's also hard! with each new member, that's an additional strain on us to be fully conscious of their humanity.


In a space like twitter, you don't know who is in the room with you. You have your "regulars", and those are who you keep in mind when avoiding inflicting harm, but retweets and quote tweets and screencaps mean that your words could reach literally anybody.

In healthy communities conflict is inevitable & essential, but when a someone removed from your social spheres by 3+ degrees is hurt by your actions, how do you mediate that? Mediation without an established relationship is something that people take classes on, it's so hard.

When we don't feel like our harms can be mediated, we turn to violence out of necessity. "Callouts" are violence. Quote-RT-dunking and screencapping are violence. We learned to use these on corporations first, bc it's the only recourse they left us, but now we use them on people.

(When is say "____ is violence", I mean that it is a form of conflict "mediation" that works thru force rather than thru communication & consent. Violence is often necessary in this hell world but it always inflicts trauma on both parties.)

So how do we fix this? I personally don't participate in any callouts or QRTs or whatever directed at anybody who doesn't have the backing of substantial capital. Being a microfamous trans woman doesn't count as having capital.

But this is a structural issue, not a personal one!

We need alternative structures. Where when we decide to make dumb jokes with our friends, we don't have to ask ourselves "well what if this hurts a person who I've never met".

Discord can sometimes meet this need, and if it's possible for you I really suggest that you make a habit of building more & new community spaces of 10-50 or so people, spaces where the things you might put on twitter could instead wind up.

@darius also has a Mastodon fork which adds the concept of "local-only" posts which can't be boosted outside the community. This blurs the line between chatroom and microblog in an interesting way!

What neither of these solve is the fact that a lot of us depend on an accessible & human-seeming twitter presence to make money. The only solution to that I know of is the end of capitalism. If anyone has ideas to remediate this in the short term hit me up please, I'm curious.

I'm tired. That's all I've got for now. Thanks for listening, friends.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!