Final Reflections at a Funeral for a Bird
To paraphrase the great Boots Riley, can anyone else hear the sound of limitations exploding? Our limitations as a system, as a society, as a species, and as a planet.
I'm not just talking about Twitter. I'm talking about [gestures wildly] all of this. The state of the world – and ourselves.
Patterns repeat themselves and, if true, can be tested across realities.
We've reached that point in the pattern where disruption must happen whether we like it or not.
What comes next depends on us. Whether we're ready or not.
Twitter has been many different things over the years, some good and some bad. It's been an important part of our lives, and it hurts to lose important things.
But Twitter itself isn't actually what mattered. The community – us – is why we kept returning every day.
The patterns created on Twitter are the same patterns we build, test, and repeat across many realities, good and bad.
And because our world is a colonial capitalist hellscape, patterns of greed, egotism, and supremacy are repeated there, too.
But here's the thing: it doesn't have to be this way.
We've reached a moment of disruption, and we have the opportunity to do things differently. We've seen the dangers of entrusting our digital lives, communities, and communications to large, centralized entities.
And I don't think we ever enjoyed being commodities on a for-profit website. No one likes being bombarded 24/7 with ads and algorithms of rage.
We stuck around – despite it all – because of the community. Was it perfect and harmonious? Fuck no. Being in community is rarely easy and conflict-free. But the patterns of community created on Twitter, especially by Black, Brown, Indigenous, queer, trans, disabled, and neurodivergent people, are repetitions of the same joyful, fulfilling patterns that have always enriched societies across generations.
So, where do we go from here? We recreate the patterns we've collectively tested and found true: community, mutual aid, creativity, and joy.
We rebuild without the patterns that caused us harm: venture capital, xenophobia, and complacency with violence against the most vulnerable members of our communities.
I've been learning a lot about the internet these past few months. Did you know we don't actually need to be walled off into separate platforms? That the internet can exist without tracking our every digital move? Turns out, we don't have to sacrifice our dignity and mental health just so some billionaire can fly around in a private jet.
Venture capitalists, Big Tech, the endless barrage of targeted ads, privacy invasions, and senate hearings. Hatred, disinformation, and abuse allowed to flourish unchallenged. We were sold the lie that this hellscape was a necessary evil, but it isn't.
We don't need to sell our lives to mediocre billionaires. We can build our own social networks and movements! Thanks to the efforts and creativity of some very cool people, we now have the open-source technology to build resilient, democratic digital communities ourselves.
Is it going to take work? Yes. Community building is hard.
But what comes next if we fail to make this change will be much harder, especially for those living at the margins of privilege. Remember that part about patterns repeating themselves across multiple realities?
The answer to the death of Twitter isn't yet another venture capitalist-funded social media platform. It isn't micropayments for news, trendy branding, or an 'innovative' approach to targeted ads.
Those patterns are poisoning our minds, spirit, and planet.
The answer lies in the same places it always has:
Diverse, creative, people-powered movements.
Small, decentralized communities instead of large, centralized entities.
Economic and social maturity > growth.
Tested patterns, proven to be true across many different realities.
If we can create resilient and joyful patterns in our digital lives, we can also create and sustain them in the material world. Indeed, these worlds are so deeply intertwined that what happens in one will inevitably play out in the other.
So, are you tired of doom-scrolling toxicity? Of the never-ending assault of uninspiring ads? Feeling like you're on a collision course with limitations and powerless to pull the breaks?
Come join me in the #Fediverse. If we accomplished all that we did on Twitter despite the venture capitalists, just imagine what we'll do without them.
Let's be creative, joyous, and rebellious again. Let's see what happens when we seize the means of social media production. The internet is ready for the revolution.
Joan Mastodon, out! 🎤