Everyone knows about the trolls and nazis, but The New Yorker's David Zweig wrestles with the other strange pallor that descends on Twitter: the feeling that every moment is a self-conscious baring of oneself in pursuit of the metrics and measurements it applies, "a shameful interest in all those prominently displayed numbers." He installed Ben Grosser's Twitter Demetricator, which hides all that from Twitter (from yourself, if not from others.)
Twitter, perhaps even more than Facebook, runs on its users’ obsession—witting or not—with metrics. ... After three weeks of using the Demetricator, the nature of Twitter, for me, changed completely. In some ways, it became lonelier. Part of the fun had been feeling like part of a crowd, seeing a joke or an idea or an observation become something that fifty people, or fifty thousand, could share. But I’m willing to accept the loss of this superficial sense of community for all the gains. Not seeing any numbers at all made content itself the king. I came to appreciate, disconcertingly, that knowing what was popular before had not only often distorted but also sometimes completely overtaken my experience.
This was part of why I made txt.fyi, to make it easy to post things without the "ersatz quantifiers" of social capital, and is presumably why I wake up every day to requests to add user accounts and other features to it. Read the rest