Twitter, in my limited usage, has a completely different problem. It actively encourages you, by rule of the 280 character limit, to strip away all nuance and conversational tone. You can avoid this of course, but the UI ensures that you then suffer the consequences of having to
split up your posts into multiple tweets, which is bad by design in every single way for the user. Replies become distributed to different tweets, and thus inaccessible without a series of 2*(# of tweets) clicks. Everything about the design is just begging you to
box in the entirety of your thoughts to 280 character blocks, which I think is the single largest issue the platform has when it comes to encouraging thoughtful engagement. Twitter actives fights nuance and explanation, and so the platforms users follow the bad behavior
patterns Twitter encourages.
Completely agree, it is a bit of a feedback loop. You do have to say though that even the fact it's no longer at the original 140 characters is a concession to the fact that the kind of discourse that now happens on there rather than what it was intended for. I imagine designing something to handle both types of usage well while maintaining the platform's identity can't be easy.
(Okay, this one was said by @culturedleftfoot.)
It's certainly not an easy problem to solve, it may even be impossible. That said though, maybe a 280 character mass social media platform is just destined to be a net negative for society.
And it reminded me of this comment I wrote a while ago:
To be fair it the term 'social media' is pretty useless when it comes to describing a site's purpose. In twitter, for example, you have celebrities rambling about random aspects of their lives, politicians delivering serious to obviously canned responses to serious or made-up problems, anime artists sharing their work, YouTubers sharing sneak peeks for future videos or shilling out, all in the same platform, which is disponible in 33 languages across every continent except Sub-Saharan Africa. (which was started specifically as a SMS & microblogging site, hence the word limit). Not many 'social media platforms' actually have their intended purpose be their sole purpose, which can backfire intensely. Social media platforms might have decided to recommend people with similar opinions to you as an unintended consequence in order to find people with similar hobbies to you, rather than to create an echo chamber of radicals and stifle communication between different political beliefs.
(Not that the fact that's a real possibility excuses them from not doing anything to combat it once they realized that was one of the side effects of their decision for most or all of my lifetime.)
One of the IMO most underrated problems with the state of social media today is that social media platforms are used in far too many ways for any one site to be designed around.
YouTube for example is used as a meme-consumption feed, source of education, video-game feed, ASMR feed, news feed, music feed, child cartoon feed and more.
And since YouTube was designed mostly for video sharing, things like the comment section were of secondary importance and areas like educational or political content are greatly harmed by that since the YouTube comment section is basically impervious to serious discussion. The algorithm also appears to be basically universal for all these vastly different types of content. This also hurts educational and political channels (unless they somehow accommodate to that, usually by lying ala PragerU) but also animation channels.
Another example would be Facebook which originally (supposedly?) started off as a platform for connecting with people, apparently limited to universities initially. Now it's used for sharing memes, news, personal life updates and more, things which are fundamentally quite different from one another and probably shouldn't be under the same site, since the things important when it comes to spreading a news article are wildly different from those when spreading a meme (format?). (Or management, obviously.)
IMO, decentralizing social media along these lines into say news sharing platforms, meme-sharing platforms, image-sharing platforms, educational platforms, social platforms (where you go to make friends, which is what social media billed itself as early on IIRC) is IMO one of the more interesting but underlooked options and in some senses is looked on into with places like Instagram and pinterest (although obviously if these sites aren't regulated to provide privacy it's all smoke and mirrors and given this requires government action I don't blame people for ignoring this all that much).
So does anyone else have any more thoughts?