I still despise Twitter as a platform, principally because it refuses to do anything about its infestation of Nazi shitheels. Twitter has, through its inaction, become an inadvertent hotbed of white supremacist recruitment in the North American context. I imagine similar extreme views have gained traction as a result elsewhere in the world, for the same reason.
The only way I’m even able to use the problem at all is by subscribing to a user-made function called block lists, which are exactly what they say on the tin–a list of users defined by certain parameters who can be added to your personal block list. I have a “Deplorable Blocker” and a “TERF Blocker” active. Of course, the administrators of these lists are human, and therefore imperfect, so in order to access this platform at all, I have to contend with the possibility of false positives on my block list, and most of them seem to be minorities who were added because the block lists’ code can’t account for context. Slurs, for example, take on a very different meaning depend on how they’re used and who they’re used by, but if you’re coding a spider to pick up user handles of everyone with a slur in it, you’ll sweep up everyone without that context.
It’s very frustrating. Even as I make a few concessions, I am still pretty pissed at Twitter’s lethal incompetence.
However, there are two benefits I’m now willing to admit, even with these problems:
- Last time I had work published, the paper’s platform combined with FTB gave me a respectable view count in the 1000s within a week or so. Since my average FTB post attracts about 600 pairs of eyeballs, many of which share the material, I considered this a smashing success. Now with my most recent published paper shared on Twitter, it got 25,000 views in under eight hours. As a promotional tool, it’s extremely effective.
- Lots of minorities use Twitter to self-promote, and as a result I’ve widened my reading material to include a lot of perspectives & data that I would otherwise miss.
I still desperately want Twitter to recognise abuse and do something–literally anything–about it. The blocklists are an imperfect solution, because abusive shitheels tend to run astroturfing campaigns under new handles that can weasel around them, but I now see Twitter’s utility in promoting material. I’ve only used it for a few months and it’s become the biggest source of new and, more importantly, consistent readers.
Then again some of them might be Nazis, so. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯