The Downfall of Twitter Could Be Great for Democracy

There is a lot of noise about the future of Twitter and I have been tuning most of it out. One thing I have seen though is the potential danger to democracy if Twitter was to go away. This may be a controversial take but personally I think the fall of Twitter could be a step forward for our republic.

I will certainly acknowledge that many grassroots efforts have been able to get attention because of the virality of social media. But we also have stories of democratic uprisings being muted and suppressed by social media companies.

The advantages that come from these platforms are available via other means on the internet. The fact that things may spread a little slower could be good in some cases.

Some of the dangers I see on Twitter and other large social media platforms are:

  • People are expected to react immediately to things when in many cases we need to wait to get the full story.
  • Conversations are being driven by so called "influencers" who have may have no expertise or real knowledge in the area. They don't present information as ideas or opinions but as absolute truths.
  • What was supposed to be an open platform became a tiered system with some voices being given higher status to others based on arbitrary criteria.
  • It is how conspiracy theorists, across the political spectrum, have been able to push their ideas and get them into the mainstream.
  • It conditions people for immediate gratification which in our political and justice system isn't how things work.
  • People don't act as individuals, they function by herd mentality. I will be expanding on this idea much more in future posts but on social media people think they are acting as individuals but in reality it is group psychology at play.
  • The rage culture and the rapid pace that people are labeled doesn't help human growth. When someone misunderstands something and gets labeled a racist they will only dig in further to their current beliefs.
  • Negative behaviors get normalized and reinforced due to the echo chamber and the lack of context.

I think forms of communication that aren't driven by algorithms and reach are a better way forward for our country.

You'll only receive email when they publish something new.

More from Rob Williger
All posts