I don't use Twitter like Gorb or Brenna do. I follow 31 people, so scrolling to the top of The Entire Service for me is a very straightforward proposition. And when I'm using the app, I don't have any idea what's trending or what I should be mad at. Gorb and Brenna "play" Twitter like a videogame. They play block-a-mole. They report a motherfucker. They go to people's personal feeds and have their biases confirmed. And when they completely bore out a keyword, they go find another keyword. If Twitter had a foil lid, like a yogurt cup, they would lick the inside of it. My usage pattern having been thus established, and then compared, I have to wonder if I'm a "Twitter user" at all.
The only time I see what the service is actually for - algorithmic stimulation of the fight or flight response - is when I think it'll be easier to post a link from the computer I'm at rather than do all this shit with my thumbs via my phone. Then, panels I would usually have to actively reveal are listed over on the right side - trending stuff. A lot of times I'll see a name over there, and I'll be like, shit! What are they trending for? And then I'll click on it, and it's a bunch of people wondering why that person is trending. I only had to do that a couple of times before I realized that wasn't a high ROI time investment. It also really wants me to know when somebody in BTS is having a birthday. But the Bangtan Boys have over eight hundred members; the idea that multiple Bangtan Boys might have been born every day of the year isn't a tremendous surprise.
One thing I always see over there on the right is WotC. It is always WotC o'clock. There is now an established pathway to clout going after Wizards of the Coast, and in a kind of Jobs Program, WotC never fails to deliver chewy gristle to be endlessly picked from teeth. They had some kind of creator summit, and that was a whole thing for a while; people were bad for going, or being chosen to go, or for not speaking out once they got there. When all your attempts to communicate invariably seem to result in Ragnarok, there's probably something worth looking at there. I don't know. I always gotta say it: the difference between the people I know who work there and the company I'm always reading about is beyond mysterious.
The new story is about how an M:TG creator with less than five thousand subscribers was sent cards from an unreleased set by mistake. I don't know this guy - clearly, most people don't - but he's like a superfan megacoot, the kind who makes no face havin' videos where you only see their hands. The background of his clips is a stack of unopened booster boxes. So, he started cracking packs and making videos. The story ends with literal Pinkertons trying to force their way into his house to get the "stolen cards" he paid for and legally owns. I understand that the primary signal here is to their distribution network, a calling to heel, but this is just some fucking guy. He's been worshiping their cards every couple days on his channel for years. I would say that he's essentially working for free, except it's the opposite - he pays them.
You can call it a PR issue, but they don't need more or better PR. They need much, much less PR. They need more human beings with the capacity to recognize that their livelihoods rest at the nexus between their products and the people who honor those products. It is a very, very fragile thing.