by Shelton Bumgarner
Something really needs to be done about Twitter. Twitter is horrible. What makes it so bad is seems to aid and abet the most extreme voices being heard at the cost of more moderate ones. It’s all very sad. And, at least in the near term, there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it.
America suffered a terrorist attack of sorts last year during the 2016 election cycle and we’ve done, in real terms, to address it. This is so because of a complex assortment of problems in the American political system which in historical context can leave one aghast.
The key take away is that in the short term we’re screwed. Because of gerrymandering and a continuing meme war on the part of Russian trolls and bots, not to mention Donald Trump’s unhinged yet oddly effective divide and conquer government style there simply is nothing we can do for the next few years. It could be a decade before anything is done, in real terms, to fix these systemic problems.
Really, if we wanted to fix one of the problems associated with our bizarre political system right now, we would get Google — or the US Government for that matter — to buy Twitter. Have the Federal government buy Twitter and implement some basic, much needed reforms to the service. Or, really, shut it down. Maybe if we shut Twitter down something much better would pop up to replace it.
It’s obvious that we need something like Twitter. It’s just that Twitter does such a bad job of service it’s technological and media space that it’s doing real damage to our politics and civil society. Given the stakes, I don’t think it would be too much to ask for it to be a lot harder to make a Twitter account. Maybe everyone on Twitter should have to be verified?
I still like the idea I’ve long proposed where you might have “Groups” in a hypothetical replacement service that could only be created by verified accounts. Within these Groups you’d have threaded “Discussions” that anyone could participate in. It would be kind like a mish-mash Reddit and Twitter, but really simply an update of the old Usenet concept. But, really, the point is to make it more difficult for bots and paid trolls to attack the United States political system during a campaign cycle.
But there just doesn’t seem to be anything, in the short term, that we can do about the problem. Nothing at all. We’re screwed. Nothing is going to happen because no one wants to do anything about it. If we don’t do something about it, however, we run a real risk irrevocable damaging being inflicted on the American Republic. Now that it’s been established that the Russians can screw around with our election system, what’s to stop some other nation from following in their footsteps?
Really, at this point, nothing. The American Right is so callow, Vichy and power hungry while the American Left is so busy imploding that in real terms there is nothing that can or will happen in the short term. We’re stuck with what we got for two, four, even eight more years at the least. We need some leadership and I don’t see that happening anytime soon, sorry to say.