alfred e neuman in a magic 8-ball

It’s nice to not have to think like an IT person while Twitter decides whether or not to collapse into a singularity under the mass of fury and scorn the new owner is cultivating. It’s not even like my job to have to wonder “what comes next,” “can it scale,” “how will we manage this change,” or “did we think of all the ways people are using this thing.”

I am not saying I needed to think about those things with regard to Twitter when I was an IT person. I’m just saying work has a way of flavoring the way your brain works and how you frame things. I’m glad to be able to witness this moment as “just me.”

In other words, it’s just my “job” — loosely defined as “whatever the hell we are supposed to be up to on this planet when there’s nobody in a position to tell us otherwise” — to decide whether to pay attention or not, to care or not, and decide whether to fiddle around with whatever people seem to be interested in or not.

I do like fiddling with new things, so I’m doing that.

I am interested in “online stuff” and have been since my first 300 baud modem in 1988, so I’m definitely paying attention. It was weird, however, to have someone ask me to expand on a metaphor I dashed off as if I might have a coherent theory of What Should Be Next. All I really have, despite 34 years of constant online life, is a vague aesthetic. The revolution, whatever it is, will not be hiring me for its product team.

I honestly do not like scolding, cajoling, or wishing people would do what I think they should do, but found myself doing a little of that and will stop. I’d need to be good at Twitter to change anybody’s mind about Twitter. Since I’m not good at Twitter, the best I’d be aspiring to is to be an awesome nuisance who, if anything, is goading people into doubling down on their position, whatever it is.

I like a good catastrophe in the abstract, so I’m weirdly spending more time on Twitter to have a front-row seat, but the internal vibe is very “Mike in the Multiverse of Madness.” Like, I walk through some shimmering light and suddenly I’m on the planet ruled by sentient Magic Eight Balls who have developed a rich language based on octets of balls whose limited range of expression combine into a richer vocabulary, where gravity has stopped working, cheese is currency and there’s a moon, but it is cracked in half and also everything is color-graded a deep violet hue. When I’ve had enough I open a portal and retreat to the idyll that is micro.blog, where I am content to sit in the corner.

Anyhow, this is part post-Puppet journal, part declaration of intent, and (hidden very deeply) part expression of empathy for those of you who are experiencing this time as unwelcome uncertainty or even traumatic dislocation. It’s not my place to tell you “it’ll be fine,” but I think it will be.