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Did I make a video called "is twitter redeemable" last month? Yes I did. Do I think about Twitter a lot? Yes. Too much? Probably.

Ultimately, the moments when I feel like I can't control myself on social media are the ones when I most shouldn't be using social media. Right now, I feel relatively in control. Whenever I'm not able to control myself, I need to not be there.

I also try not to communicate with anyone else in my life in moments when I am not in control. It seems like a fairly basic rule, and yet often people seem to prefer messages from those who are out of control, or from those who cause others to lose control. Seems bad!

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Good morning John.

Sometimes I worry a little bit about how central social media has become in my life. Like, you watch Bo Burnham's Inside, and you think to yourself, "Well that doesn't all seem great."

And then you look over at loneliness and isolation and mental health problems and it does seem a little bit correlated if not causative. And then over there you have the erosion of shared truth and discourse. And it does seem like the radical decentralization of information sharing and gathering has played a part in that.

But then like also I do like it, and I am good at it, and I've been doing it for a long time, and it is fun. On an average day I'm really grateful to have the job that I have: creating things on the internet. Basically what I'm saying is that I would hate to hate it 'cause I do like it.

Now there are things that I hate to hate but I should hate, like eating hamburgers. Like I hate to hate a hamburger because ultimately I do love them, but they are bad for pretty much everyone involved.

Now the question is: Is the internet like a cow? And I don't think it is. I think that not having cows anymore, if it just happened, would probably be for the best, whereas I think if the internet just vanished one day that would be worse.

Here's what I've been thinking about: like, I'm on Twitter, and there are times when Twitter does not make me happy. But there are also times when it does make me happy, so here are the choices that are generally presented to me: you can stay on Twitter or you can leave Twitter. I don't like that choice. I think there is a third choice, which is to use Twitter the way you wish other people used it, and never don't do that. It's hard! It's hard, but it's possible.

Since, you know, I don't know, like around January of this year, I have started to be able to use Twitter in a way that I actually quite enjoy. Just trying to make jokes, talking about things I love, talk about my life a little bit, and maybe maybe inspire and participate in discussion that is productive around things that are not as hot as the center of the Sun.

Which is hard because it seems like either the culture or structure of Twitter does... want to draw you into whatever the hottest thing is that day. Two days ago, Lindsey Graham tweeted that he would go to war for the values that Chick-fil-A stands for? Which is a tweet that like, couldn't be more well designed to create screaming, so much so, that it becomes clear upon reflection that that's the goal.

And I did. I began to compose a tweet about the absurdity of a US Senator proposing that he would go to war for a fast food restaurant during a global pandemic. And then I snapped back into my brain, and I deleted it because this is the exact thing that Twitter is worst at.

And the only thing that paying attention to a controversy like that does is lend power to the divisive politician who's trying to chip different parts of humanity into pieces, so that he can create more engaged anger stans.

I think that it's very easy to look at any large complicated system and notice only the problems and say, "We should throw that away." But that's not what happens because usually one, you can't. Like, it's not possible.

But what it ignores is that the intellectually simple things is just to like carve that out and say, " (?~2:52) that shouldn't exist." Whereas the complicated, hard thing, that we're not going to have great answers to—it's going to take a long time—is to say what actions make this better? Not, "How do we stop doing this?" but "How do we do it differently?" Not "How do I not eat hamburgers?" [but] "How do I make a hamburger without a cow?"

Massive scale many-to-many communication is brand new. It did not exist when I was born. We are bad at it. Because we are new to it.

I think it causes a lot of disruption and division and confusion and suffering. But, problems don't get fixed by ignoring them, and I love the internet. And I still believe in the promise of the internet, even if it is more delayed that I assumed that it would be.

In short, I just think that that promise is something we should continue to think about and fight for. John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

And speaking of thinking about the internet too much, I have written two novels that tell one story: the first one, to me, is a story within the frame of like, what the internet is like right now, whereas the second one is more about what the internet might be like in the future. And as of this week they are both available in paperback, so if you've been biding your time, the prices are now right, and they are available wherever books are sold.