Michael Crichton’s Twitter
There are so many ways to "be online." At one point, you might have dialed into a major service or dialed into a service provider. This would have been about the same time I was hauling Token Ring cables out of office buildings the way you'd pull out the roots and vines of an invasive species.
The Internet then was like an island chain, discrete heaps of data you traveled to. It was an idea as much as it was a technology, and the idea was informed by the implications of its topology. It was all just kinda out there. The way it works now is that "the Internet" is primarily the mechanism we use to gain access to a series of gated communities, any one of which might as well be "the internet" for the purposes of that user. YouTube and Reddit are the Internet for my son; Ronia's Internet is essentially YouTube and Facetime, and Brenna's Internet is Twitter. Twitter - so we're all clear - is a place where people hate each other while scrolling past utterly wasted ad buys.
I follow sixty-three people on there. That's it, that's the whole service. And I just went in and got rid of a bunch of those after I typed the previous sentence, so now there's thirty-six. I'm quick with the mute; there's something about the messages arriving on a device i'm physically holding that makes me even less accommodating than I normally am. It feels like someone shitting into your cupped hands, and I'm not obligated to provide this service for people. Like... for free.
I understand that Twitter is a kind of FOMO pump, but it really has a single use for me, which is to be available on some axis for people who want access to me. I make no special effort to build an audience there, and I am thoroughly myself, which profoundly limits my appeal. But it can be used safely, so long as you take the necessary precautions.