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Just know, going into this, that I do not have a good answer for this question. I know everyone's experience of Twitter is very different, and I also know that there are reasons to be pretty damn pissed off right now.

I think there are better ways to use these platforms, but it's going to take a long time for us to find them.

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Good morning, John.

So I know that you aren’t super active on Twitter, though also you are a little more active on Twitter than you used to be, so welcome back. I do appreciate seeing you every once in a while- John Green, actor.

This is a button by the way where you can follow a topic. So you are a topic on Twitter, John. You’re just an inaccurate one.

And no, I do not follow the John Green topic. It’s just a little too much to follow my brother as a topic. But Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter.

So there is an active discussion going on about whether or not the right thing to do is to abandon the platform. Which I understand, it does not bring a ton of joy into my life, it’s a stressful place. And I think that it heightens my emotions and it does that to everyone else. And at the moment I don’t know that heightened emotions seem to be helping. Maybe they are. It’s not clear.

I get told sometimes by people, like we are going to fix Twitter without leaving Twitter. I hear your argument, I don’t think that it works.

Because I think that Twitter remains a tremendously important cultural force, with or without me. And it is possible, though unfortunate, for a place to be both apocalyptically bad and vital and necessary. And unavoidable, because I think that I can be on Twitter, and I know that you may disagree with me on this John, I think I can be on Twitter and be bringing some perspective to the platform about how to use it better.

The norms of Twitter have changed. And I think that they will continue to change and maybe they will change in ways that will make us better at this. I haven’t seen any real evidence of this, for clarity. We’re still bad at it, every day there are a bunch of trending topics and they seem to be the most hot thing possible portrayed in the hottest possible light. And if there isn’t something to get hot about, someone will manufacture it. They’ll find it. They’ll find something from 4 years ago.

Or, this was one last week: "Spare a thought for the billions of people who will never exist as world population growth slows. The never conceived are the ultimate forgotten ones." This article, at least if you click on it from Twitter, is behind a pay wall. If I google it I can read it. So that’s.

So all you get if you’re on Twitter is the headline and the subhead. "As world population growth slows, the never conceived are the ultimate..." [laughs]. Of course, like your thought that you are having right now is the thought that everyone had: I think maybe the ultimate forgotten ones are the ones who exist but are forgotten. It feels like you forgot about them.

The article is about an almost 40 year old philosophical idea that if a person would rather be alive than dead, then the highest possible utility would be to have a population as high as possible. And then the creator of that idea said what a terrible and repugnant idea, and this is a good way of proving that pure utilitarianism isn’t perfect.

That is an interesting idea, but it’s not the idea in the headline or the subhead. And they manufactured a discourse that was nothing like the discourse that the article intended to manufacture. And that manufactured discourse became a big hot thing on Twitter. We can’t be surprised that these things happen when they work. But maybe they will work less if we are more aware of them. And we do get more aware of these things as we spend more time on the platform.

So the reality is that as new communication platforms happen, whether that’s radio or books or plays, over time we develop cultural structures to help us handle them without them tearing society apart. And eventually they end up being net goods, like nobody wants to live in a world without books. And so a majority of my being believes that that’s possible for the internet, but no piece of me understands how we’re gonna get there. Which is not a comfortable feeling.

John, I’ll see you on Tuesday.