You know when you have an argument swimming around the back of your head but it's not fully articulated yet so you can't talk about it and then BAM! You find someone else on the internet who has fleshed it the heck out for you?
Charlie Warzel's Substack article It's Not Cancel Culture--It's Platform Failure did that for me.
One of the issues I've had whenever people talk about cancel culture is how they make it sound like the Council of Cancelling meets and agrees that someone's tweets from 15 years ago are Bad and now we must destroy their life. Or, more often, that it's an Angry Mob that has Gathered with Pitchforks to Yell and Set Fires and Do Violence.
But that's never it, is it?
Really, what people call the Angry Mob of Cancel Culture is a whole lot of individuals seeing something, getting angry, and expressing their anger.
The only thing that's new about this behaviour is the platform. Humans have been seeing things and reacting since the dawn of emotions, we just never used to be able to see that many things, nor did we have the ability to broadcast our opinions about them.
We have now reached the limit of my past arguments on the issue. ENTER THIS ARTICLE, pointing out that the issue isn't that people are having feelings on the internet, but that the platform (in this case, Twitter, but really, anything with an algorithm that plucks out content to feature) makes sure as many people see that anger as possible while completely collapsing the original context or audience:
"The point of Twitter’s Trending Topics is ostensibly to surface significant news and Twitter commentary and invite others to ‘join the conversation.’ Left unsaid, of course, is that ‘the conversation’ at scale is complete garbage — an incomprehensible number of voices lecturing past each other... Twitter is hellbent on the notion that this chaos can be harnessed in a safe, PG-13 kind of way. But that’s wishful thinking. Instead, it dredges up items meant for one audience and throws them into another."
The algorithm sees a small wave forming and goes, "yeah, you know what? Let's make this a tsunami!", pushing as many people as possible towards it as possible.
Thank you to Mr. Warzel for taking my argument and fleshing it out. And my apologies to anyone in my life who brings up cancel culture again because my counter-lecture just got longer.
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