Bookmark: "God Did the World a Favor by Destroying Twitter"

Sebastian Greger


How will these smaller groups of happier people be monetized? This is a tough question for the billionaires. Happy people, the kind who eat sandwiches together, are boring. They don’t buy much. Their smartphones are six versions behind and have badly cracked screens. They fix bicycles, then they talk about fixing bicycles, then they show their friend, who just came over for no reason, how they fixed their bicycle, and their friend says, “Wow, good job,” and they make tea. That doesn’t seem like enough to build a town square on.

What makes this text most noteworthy for me is neither the critique of surveillance capitalism alone nor the specific discussion of what is going to follow after Twitter and/or the pros and cons of distributed social networks.

It’s the very quote above.

It aligns precisely with my own perspective on humans and technology (cue #nonuse): the parts of social reality covered in personas created to develop a particular product or making their way into use cases for a design team only ever cover a small fraction of the variety out there. The author provokingly asks “How will these smaller groups of happier people be monetized?” and illustrates the argument with some of the “edge cases” (as many like to downplay them): people with outdated devices, people who do things without an apparent rationale, people who are happy with how things are or how they can make things be for themselves.

Is any “social networking platform” ever going to be able to replicate that wonderful messiness of human life and social diversity? I don’t think so, and I strongly believe that’s a good thing. It’s just a beauty invisible to anyone who believes that lives can be reliably squeezed into algorithms, databases and interfaces.