Twitter, Atlantic Magazine, Tim Wong discussed on Radio Atlantic
Well, let's pause and come back to explore that new line of thinking after this message. Want to support the Atlantic and keep up with their journalism throughout the year thin consider becoming a subscriber to the Atlantic magazine available in both digital and print formats, plus radio Atlantic listeners. Get a special fifteen percent discount to learn more go to the Atlantic dot com slash radio. Subscribe. What is continue with the completely unoriginal insertion of advertising before this next phase of our conversation Alexis, I want to make a straight up argument about technology and the way that it's interacting with society at this moment, and I wanted to law Laba premise at your way. So can we stipulate that the making of any tool is actually collaborative exercise between the people who design that tool the people who pay for that tool and the people who primarily use it that fair? So like Twitter is made in part by the company writer incorporated in part by the companies that advertise on Twitter and the market the Twitter's embedded in and also, of course, the scads and scads of people who use Twitter, and the thing that I really wanted to ask you Alexis was who do you think actually has the most power in this equation and? And before you answer, I want to confess that have got a side in this argument. And I think my answer is that users that users might have the most power in this equation that both collectively on that scale and individually. I think that we users might have more power to shape the platforms that we the us then we give ourselves credit for. But I want to leave that argument there and ask your just first thoughts to that. Well, I think that there's a question of sort of like Layton in actual power. I think that the there's probably more latent power in the user's like if all the users started to do a certain thing than that could work. I think that when we think about this though, when you think about kind of question of organization, and whether there is meaningful organization between Twitter users to act on their own behalf or not. And I think the answer to that is no. And that. That there isn't. There aren't really means. There's no mechanisms for for Twitter users to really exert power. And you know, we left out another group, which shareholders, and if people who own the company who are also different from the management. I, and I would say in some ways that would be the group that I tend to think is could exert the most power both in the sense that they have large amounts of late power. And they actually have a means for doing it on the other hand, they don't wouldn't know what to do. I mean, I think the main problem that we have here. Matt is that no one knows what to do to fix these problems? And I actually think that includes the companies and the users now what you've described to me sounds like a basic. Almost geopolitical governance problem. And it sounds not at all dissimilar from the problems that we talk about every day about America and its design and some of the places where it's designed might be actually democratically deeply dissatisfying to many of its shall we say users that the government of the platforms feels deeply highly imperfect. And there's no unlike the American government, there are fewer, or at least there are less democratic institutions through which users might change that governance in government structure, but -solutely I mean, like this guy put one more thing, you know, their conversation with a gun in Tim Wong, and the guy who's the former head of SEI, you this service employees union, and your when that Tim said was that you know, because. Guy was basically like it's amazing like Uber, and lift and all of these companies have actually concentrate done half, the work of organizing force by getting all these people onto these platforms as workers, right? Like were talking lift drivers or drivers whatever they are. And he's like this is like what like a union organisers? The best target ever you organize this one shop, and you got two million people, you know. And I and I take that as an interesting point. Tim's point though, was that in order for that to happen. People have to conceive of themselves as a public, or as in this case, you they have to conceive themselves as a as a as a unit as having some form of solidarity or cohesion or just like to an identity as workers, and I've done a lot of work around the ports and dockworkers, and like the culture of dock working. Over many decades lent itself to this incredibly dense social network that was very remains a very powerful organizing tool, and I think what you look at with something like Twitter is like there's just nothing like that, you know, and they're never has been on any platform. There have been little pushes here. And there, you know, like, oh, let's not formalize retrieve. I mean, if I was part of, you know, some of these like organizing efforts, but they all came to nothing more or less, and I think we need to recognize that, you know. Well, so I wanted to actually narrow down from this collective we that we've been speaking in this collectively of users and speak on that personal skill. You were talking about before because I've been trying this experiment on Twitter, and it has been fascinating to me. And I wanted to ask you about it. And what it meant have you heard about this experiment that I've been doing I've been calling break the ratio. So you know, there's this. Dominant twitter. I don't know who I invented the term to get ratio. But the term generally refers to a moment when a Twitter mob has descended upon someone who has tweeted something that the Twitter mob. Does not like so the way that you can identify a tweet that has been deemed bad by the NRP of Twitter is you count the number of replies to the tweet. And if the number of replies to the tweet exceed I believe the collective number of lakes and re tweets to the tweet, then the tweet has gotten quote unquote ratio that means that the quasi.