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X is Elon Musk’s lonely get together now


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As we shut out the yr, it’s official: The Twitter we as soon as knew is lengthy gone. Elon Musk’s reinvention of the platform, from its title right down to its core options, has rendered it almost unrecognizable to customers. The lead writers of this text, Tom Nichols and Lora Kelley, have every hung out pondering and writing about X, in addition to posting and lurking on the platform. I chatted with them lately about Musk’s murky logic and the brand new web period he’s by chance ushered in.

First, listed here are three new tales from The Atlantic:


‘It Nonetheless Has a Kitchen’

Isabel Fattal: Do both of you name it X? Does anyone name it X?

Tom Nichols: No person I do know calls it X. What silly branding, to go on the web with one thing referred to as X. It’s like Musk simply doesn’t perceive the positioning that he purchased—I feel that’s been an issue from day one. Musk needed the brand new Twitter to be similar to the previous Twitter, besides it could be a spot the place he and all of his mates are cool.

Lots of people use the metaphor of a playground, but it surely’s like strolling into a celebration in an residence constructing, and other people aren’t laughing at your jokes, so you purchase the entire constructing and say, That is my residence now, and I personal the constructing, and it’s important to like me and giggle at my jokes.

Lora Kelley: Musk made adjustments to the algorithm to assist his personal posts get extra engagement, in response to reporting earlier this yr. He desires it to be the place the place he’s the funniest man.

One thing I’ve heard comic mates say prior to now is: In the event you’re doing a stand-up set and the viewers isn’t laughing, it’s not that there’s one thing incorrect with the viewers. There’s one thing incorrect with the jokes that you simply’re telling. I feel Elon Musk is making an attempt to make use of his billions of {dollars} to reorient that logic, and it’s not likely working.

Isabel: Inform me the way you every use Twitter (uh, X) proper now.

Tom: I don’t use Twitter professionally as a lot as I do to publish cat footage and speak about classic tv and swap nerdy tips on gaming. I do publish tales from The Atlantic, and I do push my books each likelihood I get. However I first got here to Twitter years in the past, after I was a professor, and, as an educational, I had many different sources for substantive conversations—so Twitter was largely about political arguments whereas posting little life bits right here and there.

As of late, my political engagement with the platform has dropped considerably, as a result of it’s too tiring to need to wade by means of all of the crap.

Isabel: Have you ever had a productive political debate on Twitter prior to now six months?

Tom: No. In the event you had requested in regards to the previous six years, I’d have stated sure.

Lora: I’m largely a lurker at this level. I used to be by no means the largest Twitter person; I’ve at all times used it to share article hyperlinks and do some reporting. I do have this thread of anthropomorphic tooth, my most interesting expression of Twitter use.

Tom: I’ve not seen this. Is that this one thing I want?

Lora: Sure!

Isabel: At this level, Twitter isn’t a lot use for dependable information, however there was a time when customers had been counting on the platform for information updates—possibly an excessive amount of. Do you assume that an overreliance on Twitter for information was a mistake even within the pre-Musk period?

Tom: It was at all times a mistake to rely solely on Twitter for information. Nevertheless it was actually helpful. I’ll really say a benefit of Twitter being much less helpful for information, which is that it doesn’t enable individuals to reside within the second of a nationwide disaster all day. They really need to unplug.

Lora: I agree with Tom that relying solely on Twitter for information, to the extent that individuals had been doing that, was a mistake. However I did discover it helpful to listen to immediately from individuals who had been dwelling by means of information occasions—the day-to-day experiences of dwelling on this nation throughout occasions of change. I used to search out sources for articles on Twitter, but it surely’s gotten much less helpful since Musk made adjustments to options resembling search and DM.

It’s a disgrace that that’s gone. However the web site has gotten so dangerous recently that it’s simple to idealize what it was like earlier than Musk took over. Individuals had been being harassed and sharing all types of bizarre, funky info again then, even when the proprietor of the positioning wasn’t personally pointing customers to this info.

Isabel: We all know that the platform has misplaced a few of its customers beneath Musk. Do you assume we might see a mass exodus within the coming months?

Tom: All good events find yourself within the kitchen, with a small group of individuals which are having a variety of enjoyable as a result of they’ve moved away from the whole lot. Twitter nonetheless has a kitchen; you’re nonetheless linked to the individuals you had been linked to 5 years in the past or three years in the past. Every so often, some uninvited doofuses drunkenly stumble by means of. However by and huge, we’re nonetheless having enjoyable, simply with a smaller group.

We haven’t hit the purpose the place everyone leaves, however there at the moment are a number of locations to go in the identical constructing: Bluesky, Threads. It was once that Twitter was just about the one place within the constructing the place there was get together. Now the get together’s dispersed. That’s all Musk actually achieved: reminding those that there are different choices, and making it conceivable for different platforms to select up the slack.

Lora: I do assume that this has been a present to Meta and Mark Zuckerberg. It’s ironic: Lots of people are flocking to Threads, however a number of years in the past, lots of people within the media and normally wouldn’t have flooded to a Zuckerberg-operated product.

Tom: Elon Musk has achieved the unattainable: He’s made individuals assume effectively of Mark Zuckerberg.

Isabel: How do you every method the concept of leaving X? Is there one line the platform might cross that will make it unattainable to remain?

Tom: The individuals who go away annoy me, as a result of they’re just like the individuals who say, “If Trump’s reelected, I’m transferring to Canada.” You don’t resolve something by going anyplace. You keep and also you voice your objections, and also you talk with the individuals that you simply wish to talk with.

The one factor that would kill off Twitter is that if Musk removes the block perform. Then I feel everybody must go away, as a result of it could change into unmanageable.

Lora: For me, it could be much less of a dramatic “I’m quitting and by no means coming again” and extra of a decline in my utilization, which has already been occurring. As somebody who writes about these subjects, it’s fascinating for me to keep watch over issues, however I’m already discovering the positioning much less helpful.

Tom: We’re by no means going to get to the top of Twitter, however we’re on the finish of Twitter as probably the most influential social-media web site. I additionally assume that would change. If Musk had been to depart and grown-ups had been again in command of Twitter, Twitter might really come again.

Lora: I additionally marvel if the period of those huge, dominant social-media corporations is winding down, particularly for youthful customers who’re coming of age on the web. For a number of years now, a variety of youthful individuals have been transferring towards direct messages, group messages, and smaller-format social-media experiences slightly than posting to the world on a feed.

Tom: In that sense, Musk broke the spell. He taught those that they will reside with out deep engagement on social media.

Associated:


Night Learn

An illustration of a sheet hanging over a painting
Illustration by Matteo Giuseppe Pani. Supply: Getty.

Why Black Jesus Made My Grandmother Uncomfortable

By A.J. Verdelle

Once I was a tween, and simply starting to be acutely aware in regards to the giving of presents, my sisters and I had been Christmas procuring at one of many festive pop-up markets in our nook of the town. We discovered a stellar present for one in every of our grandmothers, which we knew for certain she would love …

By her personal cautious design, Ma Jones was the personification of Black matriarchy: loving, hovering, caring, devoted nearly to the purpose of martyrdom. She labored three jobs not for herself, however for the household; not for herself, however for our future. Not one in every of us doubted that she modeled herself after Jesus—his behaviors, his beliefs …

We discovered a portray of Jesus who was as chocolate brown as Ma Jones. I can nonetheless see her—darkish pores and skin ringed with knowledge strains, exhibiting age in the identical method as timber …

When gift-giving time got here, my sisters and I labored as a workforce to ceremonially reveal our studiously chosen current. Our grandmother seemed on, smiling. We fastidiously unsheeted our Jesus, and we watched our grandmother as recognition slowly dawned … Our grandmother turned and left the room, holding her hand over her mouth. Sacrilege!

Learn the total article.

Extra From The Atlantic


Tradition Break

A still from "The Color Purple," showing Fantasia Barrino wearing a red dress and red lipstick
Warner Bros. Photos

Watch. The Shade Purple (in theaters) finds its personal rhythm in a tear-jerking and exultant epic.

Learn. Condolence, a brand new poem by L. A. Johnson:

“After the store-bought Christmas / dinner was ordered     bought / picked up by me     and offered on / ceramic dinner plates as a result of / it’s Christmas     in spite of everything.

Play our each day crossword.


Katherine Hu contributed to this text.

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