It's even worse than it appears..
Wednesday October 4, 2023; 12:44 PM EDT
  • Today's debate is whether Elon Musk is out to strangle journalism by algorithmically downplaying links somehow. But that isn't what he said. What he actually said is that in Twitter people don't click on links. This is observable. I've known this for years as I tried to arrange it so people could read my blog posts where ever they wanted, and finally in 2017 gave up because it was impossible. Even if Twitter had completely dropped the character limit then, it still wouldn't have been possible.#
  • Why don't people click on links? Probably because the user experience is a nightmare. First you have to turn off your add blocker to even see the article, and then you have to subscribe to the pub to read this one article. So you hit the back button and if you're like me you remember never again to click on links in Twitter. That happened long before Musk arrived. #
  • Also what Twitter does is not linking because: #
    • I can't hot-up some text.#
    • I can only link to one thing.#
  • It's a very limited form of linking, I guess. But not like I do linking in a story like the one you're reading now. #
  • The best thing one of these services could do to distinguish itself is to support Markdown, allow enclosures for podcasting, have outbound RSS feeds to start, and inbound feeds soon after, and optional titles. That's about it. Basic features of blogging software circa 1999 or so. But they don't want to do it. #
  • The first one that did so would be loved by writers, and if writers love it, it can't be long before readers love it too. #
  • But the feature that Twitter added in February, while it isn't the panacea that would allow Twitter to let me post my writing there, it is a big step forward. 4000 characters is a pretty useful possible length. And they did exactly what I said they should a decade or so ago with what I called Fat Tweets. If you don't want to read the rest, after 280, don't click the freaking button. But when you do, you'll know:#
    • No delay, the text is already there.#
    • No request to turn off ad blockers.#
    • No paywall.#
  • Sounds a little like podcasting, you know Adam's Last Yard idea. #
  • In other words you will be able to read what's there. #
  • It's a start. It's better than what was there before. An improvement.#
  • For me it totally justifies the $8 a month fee. #
  • More features like that please.#
  • PS: And yes Musk's politics are horrible, as are the politics of people who run a lot of companies whose products you use. But Musk's horribleness is in our faces. At some point Tesla and Starlink are going to suffer for it, as Twitter is now. #
  • PPS: This is the piece I wrote in May 2017 when I decided finally to give up on trying to peer with social networks. #

© copyright 1994-2023 Dave Winer.

Last update: Wednesday October 4, 2023; 9:17 PM EDT.

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