Way back in the olden thymes, I would come back from the mammoth hunt and relax by dialing into a BBS and mixing it up with others about sports. Back then, you had to know how a modem worked, in addition to knowing how to write a bit of code. My first “home computer” was a VT220 terminal and Hayes smart modem that “fell off a truck.” A friend set up an account at his university and provided a POP.
Back in those days, “internet culture” provided no moderation and little in the way of restraint. The social justice warriors of today would have all committed suicide if exposed to the culture of 1980’s internet content. It was almost all smart dudes with more confidence than good sense so the arguments quickly got nasty and personal. If you could not handle it, no one cared. You were probably a pussy anyway.
Eventually, the BBS moved to NNTP servers and mail lists. Then the GUI revolution brought the masses into computing and onto the internet. Message boards evolved as the social media tool for the mouse wielding internet warriors. Now, comment systems for articles, Facebook, Twitter and other apps have made social media ubiquitous. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me why I am not on Facebook, I’d have a lot of nickels.
The point of this trip down memory lane is two-fold. One is to establish my bona fides as an original internet gangster. I’ve been at this a very long time. Second, and more important, is that social media is not new or even close to new. Things like Twitter and Facebook are just continuations of other platforms. The same group dynamics that gave us Godwin’s Law 25 years ago exist on modern platforms. Here’s a 20-year old guide to UseNet users that applies just as well today.
Social media has always struggled with the tragedy of the commons. An active community is almost always free in order to invite a large number of people to participate. The Pareto Principle applies everywhere in social media, which means some small fraction of the users do the bulk of the posting. There are, however, some portion of users who take pleasure in ruining the fun for everyone. These are the people at the beach, who “accidentally” walk on your kid’s sandcastle.
In the old days, boards were self-regulated. The trolls and idiots were eventually ignored by everyone so they went away on their own. Then technology put a premium on access so the idiots would have to sign up and maybe be approved. Private boards and lists are still around today for this reason. Pay-to-play schemes have been tried, with limited success. People just don’t want to pay to argue with other people.
The most common solution to this dilemma, one that never seems to work, is to moderate the debate. This is always associated with a set of nebulous rules of conduct that can be interpreted anyway you like. The mods remove posts that violate the rules and maybe suspend users who refuse to comply. It’s one of those things that works in theory, but never works in practice. In fact, it tends to make things worse, blowing up whole communities.
This is what is happening with Twitter. They created a “trust and safety council” to police the platform and get rid of the bad people. The creepy name is an artifact of our feminized age. Only women and homosexual males fret about trust and safety on-line. It also signals that it is more than just an attempt to ban ISIS terrorists and criminal gangs from the platform. The words “trust” and “safety” are now dog whistles for the maniacs on the Left.
That’s the reason moderation of message platforms fails. There are two types of people doing the moderation. There are those forced into it because they own the site or the hosting company requires it. It’s a terrible job for them so they quickly ban anyone that causes trouble. It is the old line about killing some chickens to scare the monkeys. The trouble is, they usually end up banning too many people and the community collapses.
The other type of person moderating content is the social justice warrior. They sign up for this job so they can chase off everyone that disagrees with them. Look down the list of people on this Twitter committee and it reads like roll call at the local asylum. These are people who think North Korea is a hippy colony of free speech. Giving these crackpots power is the sort of mistake a dying company makes as a last gasp to win support.
This led to the banning of Robert Stacy McCain by deranged fanatic Anita Sarkeesian, the mentally unbalanced grifter behind FeministFrequency and member of the Twitter thought police. She has had disputes with McCain for years so as soon as she was given authority to abuse, she abused it by banning her critics, starting with McCain. This has set off a revolt among Twitter users and a quest for an alternative to Twitter.
The fact is the technology behind Twitter is no great shakes. It’s not much of a value proposition to users so it has to be free with minimum ads. That’s fine as long as the owners are not dreaming of becoming the next Bill Gates. But that’s the problem. They built out a huge infrastructure with loads of debt thinking they will become billionaires. Instead, the stock is tanking and they are not long for the world.
What comes next is predictable. Rival services will spring up as Twitter, the brand, is increasingly associated with the sort of deranged fanaticism associated with nut-jobs like Anita Sarkeesian. Quitter.de is already up and running as an un-moderated, distributed platform. I just setup an account, but I’m not much for this type of platform so don’t expect a lot of action. Tumblr is another alternative. There are others.
There was never a great argument for Twitter as a company but seeing them follow the well-worn path of previous social media operations says they are doomed. The SJW’s will chase off everyone remotely interesting and then start feeding one another. It’s the two women in a kitchen problem. It always ends the same. Once Twitter stops being cool for media types, it stops having a reason to exist.
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“Only women and homosexual males fret about trust and safety on-line.”
Harumph, THAT, and standard transmissions with clutches.
“Only women and homosexual males fret about trust and safety on-line…”
Actually, only SOME women… My view is, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
To be honest I don’t use Twitter. In fact, I don’t even own a smart-phone. I had to look it up to fully appreciate what Twitter is all about. But this statement from Wikipedia about Twitter is a prophetic description of the entire concept:
“…we came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds’. And that’s exactly what the product was.”
Seems the product, and most of the content are exactly that…inconsequential. Sort of like Pet Rocks.
Pet rocks were far more profitable than Twitter. But I get your point 🙂
Pfft…so was “How to Pick up Girls”
Ha! Only thing I remember from that gem was “don’t wear those little Italian boots with the zipper up the side”
Still, we did have a teacher who let us read aloud to the class, “Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid To Ask)
Now that you are on a blogroll update frenzy
i nominate James LaFond to be added as well:
He is a blogger/book author/boxer living in Baltimore and reporting from the ghetto front lines.
While you Z are reporting from the edges, LaFond is in the belly of the beast…
His site is updated daily with gems like “The grim fate of the wise shaman is the very reason why I have elected to remain a fool!”, “A society on the incline emulates the upper class, a society on the decline emulates the lower class.” or “It is a brutal thing; the suffering of the man who has been denied a test of his merits or a rite of passage; the suffering that no primitive society—no matter how cruel and dedicated to the torture, and even the eating, of its enemies—would ever consider inflicting on one of its own.” or “As a reluctant slave, myself, I rue our now comprehensive form of enslavement to the system. It occurs to me, that our massive slave society—so loved and promoted with rabid eagerness by most women and blacks—is, in fact, a form of mean-spirited vengeance, a way of the natural slave—never better exemplified then by a feminist woman—to make sure that the would-be Aristotle’s among us are chained right beside them.”
Even historical bits of wisdom, i didn’t know about the Powhatan Uprising “In which white runaways banded together with Indians to wipe out the plantations in 1622-23, coming close to success. The war that crowns this period, Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, in which white renegades, white slaves, and black slaves, allied against colonial officials, the plantation owners, Indian tribes and even pirates, in a knock down drag out fight which resulted in the burning of Jamestown, also came close to victory for the rebels.”
Or fun facts about slavery, such as “Black slaves would be sought directly from Africa, so that there lack of English language ability—and ability to understand one another’s tribal languages—might prevent their conspiring with each other and white slaves to turn on their mutual oppressors.”
That’s pure gold, well worth linking to.
I always read The Z Blog and LaFond in tandem…
What a downer of a site.
Ahhhh, back in the early days of the internet with the “Flamers & bashers !!”
What’s Twitter and should I care???
One of the issues is speed of download, and therefore speed of upload. The more you give people swift access (in olden times, one had to go home, close the door and fire up one’s computer: now the serf can do it on the move from some handheld device) the more you want them to do it faster in their oh so busy lives. The 140 character limit in Twatter is essentially to allow people to sound off quickly, and therefore without much forethought.
Now if tinterwebz had a a built in treacle pit to slow down the urge to immediately respond, then there might be a lot more careful consideration of responses and examination of thoughts, but everyone wants it fast now. Fast is quick and angry and stupid.
On the other hand, when I taught I had ‘students’ who, sat next to each other in class, would be texting each other. When asked, one of them said how else was he going to use his 600 free minutes of texting each month?
Anyone that owned a 300 baud manual modem raise their hand.
I’ve often wondered what percentage of my life I’ve wasted staring at a video monitor (green monochrome of course).
I’m trying to remember the speed of the first modem I encountered. It all sort of runs together after all these years. I remember the Hayes smartmodem because it was like someone handing me a ray gun or a warp drive. It felt like a huge leap forward. You and I probably in the same age range so saw the birth and death of the modem as a home appliance. Similarly, we saw the birth and death of the Fax machine.
As a Telecom Engineer I HAD a working dial-up modem in the house (and two landlines) until I was laid off. Most of the big systems still had land lines connected for maintenance access.
I had to have a library of modem programming manuals for the different variants of smartmodem commands. And somewhere in the basement there is a standalone fax machine.
I may be a bit older, my first modem was a 300 baud acoustic coupler, remember that? At school the ‘computer lab’ sole piece of hardware was a 110 baud printing terminal on a time share line. We were learning FORTRAN, Now, I remember about as much of that as I do French.
CB too. It started to show up in newspaper articles in the late ’40s, but I don’t recall it amounting to much until the ’60s or ’70s. Never hear of it now.
Driving cross country in the 70’s and 80’s there was constant talk on the CB. When I drove truck for 10 years in the 2000’s all I used the CB for was to talk to the load out operator at the grain elevator to spot my trailers, drive 400 hundred miles of US 395 and I 84 never here a thing on the CB.
First modem was a Hayes 300, bought from a guy up the street who was upgrading to 1200 baud. Ran it off an AT clone, which had replaced a Televideo TS1603 that had set me back 2 or 3 grand, I can’t remember exactly.
Commodore 64 and 300 baud modem, cost more in 1983 dollars than the Windows laptop I’m typing on today cost in 2015 dollars..
I remember 1200 baud, and thinking it was wicked fast. 🙂
I somehow doubt it’s ‘the end of twitter’ because a lot of the stuff on twitter has nothing to do with right wing politics.
Still, it’s interesting to ponder how someone like Anita Sarkeesian was able to get this job. She’s one of the chief troublemakers, accusing people of not being devout enough to the Cause. It’s precisely because she’s a lunatic from the fringe that she got this job. When we ask how it is that cuckoo jihadist-mongers get to dictate Muslim society’s views, it’s for the same reason that Miss Sarkeesian was able to get this new job of hers.
That’s worth thinking about.
The joke is that Sarkeesian may or may not actually give a rats ass about the political stuff. Before she became a professional feminist, she was working with some pick up artist guy — the rip-off artist type. The Feminist Frequency videos were all written by some male feminist dude who got her onboard as a mouthpiece. He was the brains of the operation.
She’s a more or less sociopathic self promoter, I think. She may or may not believe much of anything at all, though I’m quite sure she’s sincerely vindictive towards anybody who points out what a piece of crap she is.
That’s the kind of personality that leftism promotes.
Well, (ie) her “new job” has already lasted longer than Ms. Marcott’s job with the Edward’s campaign.
But so far, Less time than Crystal Magnum ultimately has spent in jail.
Just because something is huge and seemingly ubiquitous on the internet, doesn’t mean it can’t go away within a year. Remember when Yahoo was “THE” way to find things on the internet? For a long time, it wasn’t even a search engine, it was a centrally-managed directory! Then google appeared in 1998 and within a year blew yahoo’s directory and search engine off the map. Similarly, anyone remember MySpace? Facebook was the same idea, but far better implemented and six months after it was launched, MySpace took a dirt nap.
Twitter will be huge unless someone else comes along with something similar, but better. Then, it will vanish as if it never even existed.
Anybody remember Prodigy from the 80s? That system had pretty much all the basic functions of today’s social networking offerings delivered over 1200 baud modems and a character screen interface.
Yep. CompuServe was another. AOL, if you recall, used to offer mail list features so groups could form.
CompuServe…I remember having a CompuServe account for a few years, only used it for internet email though. But one day our internal company email was connected to the internet, and that was that. You couldn’t pick your own username, instead you were assigned an eight-digit numerical username…making it annoying for you and impossible for your friends to remember. Good times.
“TheZman” is the result of those early days when the system assigned a user name. I kept getting that username and it became a bit of joke with friends. I was always zman123 or thezman123 and so on. I registered the domain twenty years ago as a gag and here it is, a world wide brand!
Yep, remember Prodigy very well.
Twitter is over, but it will be awhile before they realize it. The echo chamber of their fellow travelers will hide the evidence of their totalitarianism until a viable competitor usurps them.
I am unfamiliar with the “two women in a kitchen” thing. Throughout my life there have been countless occasions where I’ve been working in the kitchen with at least one other woman and sometimes more, with no problems. Are you confusing this with “there can only be one Queen to a castle”? Which is completely true.
My mother and her sisters had fierce battles over who controlled the kitchen. The outcome was always that one backed down, but it was hairy for a while. The food was always good. This goes back a while, so maybe it’s not a reference that means much anymore. Or maybe it was specific to my Italian-American family.
It all depends on the women and the kitchen. In my experience this is often true.