Text don’t tweet

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.

Web 2.0 lasted from 2002 to 2008 and it will be remembered as the peak of the fun times on the Web. It was killed when Twitter and Facebook became popular in 2008. But it wasn’t till 2016 that we began to see how awful things could get. This is part of our learning process:

And maybe the things you don’t even need to whisper should be whispered. I’ve been slowly trying, as much as one can who works on the internet at all time, to detach myself from sharing online. And suddenly my group chats with friends, through Slack or iMessage or email threads, which were reserved for jokes or petty conversations about people we all mutually hated, had become an underground bunker from the rest of the internet this year. As Katie McDonough wrote, text don’t tweet.

This move comes with the increasing feeling that the internet is suffocating. The seemingly small internet of my teen years, a time when Twitter was in infancy, your racist grandparents didn’t use Facebook, and having Wifi in your back pocket was not yet the norm, has given way to something consuming and infinitely more hostile. Why should we expect to bare ourselves on platforms that let white supremacists run wild? Platforms that do little to ensure your safety? When you’re subjected to the infinite scroll of misogyny, where not even a group of women can get themselves together for a list like Donegan’s, it makes sense to retreat into a tiny, private oasis.

It feels obvious to point this out, that perhaps chats between friends and people you trust could be more fulfilling and protective than, say, tweeting about how exhausted you are all the time. But the catharsis women are expected to feel in sharing those secrets with the public is hard to find on an internet that feels more surveilled than ever and ready to turn that catharsis into content.

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