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"If Twitter is a public square, it’s a squalid one."


Under pressure following the company’s lackluster stock performance, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has announced that he will be stepping down. To mark his departure, we offer a scathing critique of Twitter from Jacob Silverman at The Baffler. An excerpt is below, and the full piece can be read here.

Twitter’s culture—and by that I mean the trends, breaking news, and viral phenomena that sustain its latent communal feeling—seems to arrive pre-chewed. Every joke, meme, or scandal resembles a poor facsimile of one that came before. Occasionally a traumatic event—the Boston Marathon bombing, police violence in Baltimore—rips through, and some Twitter users cite the platform as a key means by which they organized community action. But Twitter’s design forecloses more possibilities than it opens, pushing would-be witnesses to become voyeurs and turning information gluttons into crowdsourced ambulance chasers. The rest of the time, many of us are just hoping to be favorited and retweeted by enough people, or the right people, so that our utterances seem worthwhile. If Twitter is a public square of any kind, it’s a squalid one.

Image: Dick Costolo, via the NY Times.