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Xeet: The Fall of the House of Twitter

Posted on October 12th, 2023

Dave!I can't really comment on "The Fall of Twitter" because I've rarely ever used that platform. On the contrary, I've actively avoided it when at all possible. Finding a way to condense my thoughts into 280 characters or less was a hassle that was rarely rewarded with any meaningful dialogue (but I did get plenty of public hate, whether from my content or the misunderstanding of truncated content). Eventually Twitter allowed you to become "verified" by paying for it, and those users were allowed to blow past 280 characters to 1,000 or 2,500 or some more respectable number. I never wanted to pay for the privilege, so I took a hard pass. Again. Regardless of my personal experience (or lack thereof) using Twitter, I've been reading an increasing number of articles which have proclaimed it dead. Or, in the case of The New Yorker, "no longer fun."

What I can comment on is the disastrous rebranding of one of the most valuable brands in the known universe. Elon Musk renamed "Twitter" to "X" which was a bizarre strategy that could only be dreamed up by a billionaire who doesn't give a shit about the irreplaceable power of brand recognition. "Tweets" have been embedded into world culture (and the world's lexicons) in a way that companies fantasize about. But Musk has an obsession over the name "X" for some reason, so now instead of tweets we have xeets or what-the-fuck-ever. Musk does a lot of crazy shit (but likely no more crazy than the things I would do if I were a billionaire) but this one takes the absolute cake. The guy paid FORTY-FOUR BILLION DOLLARS for something he proceeded to utterly decimate.

And don't think that I am just making an observation over something I refuse to investigate. I read numerous stories and watched interviews where Elon Musk attempted to explain it all. And it goes something like this...

“The Twitter name made sense when it was just 140 character messages going back and forth – like birds tweeting – but now you can post almost anything, including several hours of video. In the months to come, we will add comprehensive communications and the ability to conduct your entire financial world. The Twitter name does not make sense in that context, so we must bid adieu to the bird.”

On the surface, this is not at all illogical. Chinese society runs on an app called WeChat (微信).

If you are unaware of the sheer insanity of just how critical WeChat has become to the Chinese people, I've got a mindblowing video for you. It's quite a long video because they address a number of controversies surrounding the app, but it's a fascinating watch...

   
Now, if you didn't watch the above video (and who could blame you), this is a frame from it that's the critical bit...

The many apps that make up WeChat.

WeChat combines the shopping of Amazon, the videos of YouTube, the dating of Tinder, the music of Spotify, the search of Google, the financial transactions of PayPal, the social media of Facebook, the telephone connectivity of WhatsApp, the movie studio of Netflix, the ride-sharing of Über, the reviews of Yelp, the videoconferencing of Zoom, and the food delivery of Deliveroo (the American equivalent being InstaCart and ÜberEats)... all in one app!

And this is what Elon Musk is wanting for his "X" platform (a concept he tried once before but never got off the ground). It is, apparently, the main reason behind him wanting to buy Twitter in the first place (along with his ego, I'm sure).

Now, I have serious doubts that a WeChat-type service conglomerate could ever emerge in the USA. We have anti-monopoly laws, sure, but they get ignored or enforced seemingly at random, so that's not my reasoning. My thinking is that there is no unifying government mandate which encourages this to happen. Of course there are politicians who want to keep us from having access to things they don't like (or, more accurately, things that they are fucking PAID to not like, such as TikTok), but apparently nobody has paid them to work on app consolidation yet. Somebody should just tell Musk that he needs to start buying off politicians to make it happen! Heaven only knows that there are enough of them up for sale, so it's really only a matter of money. Of which Musk has plenty.

But anyway...

I am watching the fall of Twitter, er, "X"... with disinterest. Why would I care that a platform is either "dying" or "no fun" when I don't use it?

Okay... I'm watching with a little bit of interest since Twitter is part of the reason that blogging died (ah, those were the days!).

Ultimately to me this is just like the death of FAX machines and pagers. It seems to actually be happening, but we won't know for sure until it's really gone. I take no joy in it, especially because of those who rely on it, but don't expect me to care. And if Twitter weathers the storm and roars back as the "X Everything App" that Musk always dreamed of? Well... I wouldn't want all the apps I use to be consolidated under Elon Musk any more than I would a government... so I wouldn't be thrilled about it (that's why my primary "social media platform" is Blogography!), but I guess I'd have little choice but to install it.

It's either that or retreat to a cave and commune with nature.

Something that is getting more appealing by the day.

   

Pulling On Threads in Times of Turmoil

Posted on July 6th, 2023

Dave!I've been on a number of boats over the years. Everything from canoes and rowboats to sailboats and cruise ships. I'm comfortable on the water and always have been. I'm especially comfortable on sailboats, possibly because I have fairly good balance and it's easily for me to walk around on them even when the water's choppy.

That being said...

I don't go looking for choppy water to sail on.

Well, mostly I don't.

I did sail over the most treacherous waters on earth in order to go on an expedition to Antarctica. But I was told to stay in bed the entire time, so this is all I saw of it...

The ship didn't roll completely on its side... but it was surely over 45°. It was brutal. There were times I couldn't see sky out the porthole.

But this whole "rough seas" setup is just a metaphor.

The point is that nobody seeks out choppy water unless it's required to get to your destination... and even then you do the best you can to find the calmest path possible.

Which brings us to the latest from Facebook, their Twitter competitor called Threads.

Because I have an Instagram account, I automatically had a Threads account, so I was on it pretty quick to see what's what. Basically, it's a carbon copy of Twitter, which is why I likely won't be using it much. Facebook allows me to hand-select an audience, and that's what I want for my social media. For everything else I have this blog. Threads is not that friendly yet... you can't look at only the people you follow and there's no way to lock anything down... but at least it hasn't degenerated into a toxic cesspool like Twitter.

Yet.

So while I'm happy to check in on my Threads from time to time just to make sure I'm not missing anything, I won't be jumping into Zuckerberg's choppy waters any time soon.

That's a lesson I learned when a fellow passenger on my Antarctica expedition had to be air-lifted to Peru because he was thrown down a stairwell and ended up with multiple compound fractures.

   

Pride Saves Lives

Posted on June 16th, 2023

Dave!"I don't want my kid to be gay or trans!" is echoed over and over again as the underlying excuse for the renewed resurgence of LGBTQ+ hate that's infiltrating our laws and society. And I get it. I wouldn't want my kid to be "gay or trans" either. Not because I think there's anything wrong with it... you are who you are... but because this unrelenting toxic bigotry is incredibly dangerous for LGBTQ+ youth.

Except...

Seeing LGBTQ+ representation and diversity doesn't encourage kids to "become gay" or "become trans" any more than seeing somebody who's left-handed encourages them to "become left-handed."

All it does is let them know that it's okay for them to BE gay or trans, if that's who they are, and that they are not alone in the world. That they are accepted.

But entirely too many parents would rather their kids grow up to be miserable adults by denying who they are... assuming they don't unalive themselves first... than to embrace who they are and live their truth. This was made overtly clear to me when I saw the backlash after Pride-inclusive gamer icons were released for the Disney Speedstorm racing game...

Pride, Intersectional Pride, Nonbinary Pride, Pansexual Pride, and Inclusive Pride icons.

Transgender Pride icon.

The very first response I saw on social media was along the lines of "I don't have anything against the gays but I am sick and tired of Disney cramming this LGBT stuff down my kid's throat." As if seeing a rainbow Speedstorm logo is somehow an assault on kids?

And it's like... hey, if you're kid is straight and doesn't want to acknowledge Pride, then they can ignore the new icon options and pick something else. But if they are a part of the LGBTQ+ community? Then thank God for Disney and Gameloft, because your kid obviously isn't going to get any support from you. They may be too afraid of you to select a Pride icon for themselves, but at least they get to login and play the game where a bunch of other people are sporting the icons and showing their support for who they are.

It's little things that like that can be the difference between life and death for some people. Literally.

Pride is important because some kid somewhere is being raised to believe that they're better off dead than gay.

So good on you, Disney. Keep cramming that "gay agenda" down our throats.

   

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