, 15 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
How Twitter stole the mantle of being one of the most harmful tech companies in the world today. Thread:
1/ Twitter has been hungrily picking up the scraps of outrage-attention that Facebook left on the table when they changed the news feed algorithm last year.
2/ Internally Twitter decided to increase time-on-site using the same methods Facebook used in the lead-up to 2016. You can see it in your notifications, and in your feed with the amplification of out-of-network viral content.
3/ At the same time Facebook has been trying to *turn-down* the volume on news feed by reducing misinformation and the inherently viral garbage that was dominant on the platform during that period. This is one reason you might be on Twitter more than FB these days.
4/ But Twitter is arguably worse than FB for the world right now, because *every* journalist uses it. Twitter is the lens through which News looks at the world. Even if you’re off Twitter, your news is influenced by it. This is a problem.
5/ Why? Because the game-mechanics of Twitter are demonstrably skewed towards outrage: moral & emotional language is naturally a boost to virality. Tweets that include words like #disgust or #shame will organically travel farther/generate more engagement.
6/ Twitter is also *especially* vulnerable to disinformation and misinformation. Bots still drive conversations and incite outrage. If you can generate fake outrage about something – doesn’t matter – it’s still a story.
7/ This is the game we play whenever we post: If people are angry and clicking, Twitter wins. This applies to news headlines, commentary, opinion, and advertisements. But who loses?

Answer: We all do.
8/ These are new journalistic norms driven by economic realities. A trending story is guaranteed revenue. Media pile-ons are more profitable than nuanced or diverse coverage.
9/ The best strategy for writing a story to get traction on Twitter is to use these hidden rules:

1⃣ Make it moral. (can it be used as a partisan weapon?)
2⃣ Make it emotional. (does it evoke feelings?)
3⃣ Make it matter. (can you editorialize it?)
10/ Best are stories that evoke strong feelings of certainty, but are inherently ambiguous: #bluedressgold, is a harmless example. But #CovingtonCatholic, and the #Gillette ad are arguably less so. The more extreme disagreement the better for the social media news cycle.
11/ I hesitate to post anything about these types of stories because every time I do, I contribute to the dumpster fire adding attention-fuel to the blaze. This is the participation-paradox of social media today. We are automatically complicit.
12/ So what are the solutions? I believe these tools can be fixed, but they need better design patterns. I wrote about this: 4 ways we can fix dehumanization and outrage of social media.
13/ As individuals, take this pledge from @jonhaidt:

I will give less offense
(i.e., be more polite)
I will take less offense
(i.e., give others the benefit of the doubt)
I will pass on less offense
(i.e., not be the sort of retweeter Russian trolls want me to be)
14/ And to make life better:

- Aggressively unfollow accounts that evoke/share outrage.
- Limit your time on Twitter, and limit your time with news in general (use Screen Time in IOS or Stayfocusd in Chrome).
- Remember your attention it is oxygen that fuels the dumpster fire.
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