Twitter is becoming 4chan

Like a lot of people, I’ve been following the gradual decline/devolution of Twitter, and in this post from his Garbage Day newsletter, Ryan Broderick — one of the sharpest anthropologists of the modern internet, in my opinion — breaks down what he thinks is happening:

My best guess is that what’s happening to Twitter right now is similar, in a sense, to what happened to 4chan around 2011-2012. Like Twitter, 4chan was never a place for mentally healthy people, but it began to lean into its worst impulses as it became increasingly fixated on what supposedly “normal” people were doing on sites like Twitter, Tumblr, and eventually Instagram. And one theory I’ve always had is that that initial anger and resentment was actually a quality of life thing. 4chan users could see that the site they were using was broken, janky, unpleasant, and quickly racing to the bottom culturally and it created a radicalization loop that set the groundwork for the full far-right takeover a year or so later. So, in that same way, maybe Twitter users are obsessed with TikTok right now because it’s, at least from the outside, a nicer app full of seemingly happier users. Or, at the very least, users that are more earnest, which is the worst possible thing a Twitter user can be.

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