Americans decrying “concentration camps in Australia” while simultaneously abusing Australians who try to share corrective information has to be one of the most surreal episodes of epistemic failure I’ve ever witnessed on this website.
My hypothesis is that Twitter is becoming the new Facebook—the smart weirdos you used to come and hang out with in ~2013 are now being washed out by an influx of politically active boomers.
Any new tech is going to be taken up by young people first, oldies second.

Because social media was taken up by young people first, it skewed left, & gave us left-wing cancel culture, which in many ways just a product of the deranging effects of the platforms.
But the platforms have a deranging effect on the oldies as well.

They don’t go around cancelling people, but they sure aren’t rational. Like crack addicts waiting for the next EXCLUSIVE in ALL CAPS they’ve been reduced to outrage junkies, slaves to their own paranoia.

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More from @clairlemon

25 Nov
Six years ago this month, I started Quillette, after having dropped out of my post-graduate studies in psychology. “Quillette” is an old French word for a wicker off-cutting that is planted into the ground and grows into a tree.
The word Quillette is a metaphor for what can happen when you put an original idea out into the world. Something as small as an off-cutting can grow into something strong and majestic, like the wizened old trunk of an ancient tree.
Six years ago I was disillusioned with the conformity of academia, as well as the groupthink that was stifling legacy media. Universities are supposed to provide a space where people can think freely & find truth. Journalism is also about finding truth, without fear or favour.
Read 16 tweets
23 Nov
It’s hard not to be dismissive on Twitter when one’s interlocutors aren’t open-minded but are instead fishing for something to beat you with. The overwhelming mindset on here is that of a “soldier” - not of a “scout”. It’s rare breed who seeks out disconfirming information.
I’ve had international friends reach out via DM asking for trustworthy information about what is happening in Australia. This allows me to also provide context that they may not be familiar with. But I feel no need to provide lengthy contextualisations to those…
Who have already made up their mind, who are addicted to the cheap hit of outrage, who have zero charity towards me, and a lack of real interest in my country, and very little self-awareness or epistemological humility.
Read 6 tweets
4 Nov
Will wokeness contribute to the unwinding of globalisation? The rest of the world does not want these bizarre sectarian mind viruses exported to them
In the 90s people used to admire the US, but now its society serves as a cautionary tale…
For example, this declaration of immutable traits is bizarre & unnecessary. Inside the US, this might be seen as progressive—the rest of the world sees a cult
Read 4 tweets
30 Oct
The best social media conversations that I have now occur on the @Quillette Circle ($US5 per month for members). Smart people, diverse in their political views, w/ no ads & no space limits = context & nuance
It's a small community, so don't want to oversell the achievement, but I definitely think that having a price point increases quality in social interactions. Group members value each others time & are respectful & collegiate. (This may erode as the group grows larger of course)
One thing I've noticed in communities which are free to join is that they inexorably progress to the point where bullies & fanatics dominate the moderates. The key to building online communities is to have incentives which prevent this natural progression.
Read 4 tweets
26 Oct
I'm pro-tech & think a lot of reflexive tech criticism is stupid & regressive. But if it turns out that social media companies play a pivotal role in civil wars & genocides in fragile countries, I just don't know how Americans can shrug & say "meh. whatever"
Exporting Facebook to a country like Myanmar or Ethiopia & expecting it to work out well is akin to the fantasy that removing the Taliban in a place like Afghanistan was going to lead to democracy.

Why are Americans so delusional about the rest of the world?
The notion that its just Democratic operatives & corporate media hacks who are concerned about FB's impact on the world seems to be a dissonance reduction strategy (to me). It's clearly a larger issue than domestic US politics & clearly a larger issue than the media vs tech war
Read 4 tweets
25 Oct
Social media is a monomania machine.

The most effective activists / influencers only focus on one thing -- they only have hammers & so everything becomes a nail.

The process is both stupefying + illiberal, esp when adopted by groups.

See @jonhaidt:…
Another way of describing the process is that the most intolerant activists / influencers in any online group come to dominate that group by imposing increasingly costly purity standards…
If you're part of an online group or tribe, and you are a moderate, your beliefs will come to resemble that of the extreme minority of your group over time. (Unless, of course, you are willing to speak up & risk ostracism)…
Read 5 tweets

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