Twitter Was Shit Long Before Elon’s Boot Treads Smeared It

Chris Ferrie
3 min readApr 3, 2023

Attention Conservation Notice: This is another rant. It may provoke excessive eye-rolling or outrage. If you value your time, sanity, or faith in social media, consider this your only warning.

In a world where social media platforms dominate our lives, Twitter has managed to stand out as a particularly insidious culprit of late. It’s not that Twitter’s content curation algorithm is like a digital puppet master, controlling our every move and keeping us addicted to an endless stream of mindless content — they are all like that. The problem is that Twitter wants you to now pay a subscription fee to be mentally abused — and many of us are apparently considering it as a good option.

Content curation algorithms are the technological equivalent of nicotine-laced cigarettes. They’re engineered to exploit our human weaknesses, preying on our desire for novelty, dopamine rushes, and masking the fear of missing out. The “For You” pages are presented as a thoughtful gift from the algorithm, a personalized selection of content just for us. In reality, though, they’re designed to keep us hooked by constantly feeding us content that appeals to our baser instincts, like gossip, drama, and outrage. It’s a never-ending cycle of content that will always leave us wanting more, no matter how much we consume.

These algorithms have turned Twitter into a 21st-century Skinner box. Like rats in a laboratory experiment, we’re conditioned to press the little buttons on our screens, eager for our next microdose. And just like those rats, we’re blissfully unaware of the digital overlords, manipulating our every move, guiding our precious attention to stoke the flames of this dumpster fire fueled entirely by advertisements for shit we don’t need.

Step one. Click the “Following” tab and never visit the “For You” page. It’s a trap.

It wasn’t always like this. To “follow” someone on Twitter used to mean you’re interested in what they have to say and you’d like to see their content on your feed. But no, the almighty algorithm has other plans now. It decides what you really want to see, like a condescending parent who thinks they know better. Because obviously, you’re too dimwitted to make such decisions for yourself. “Following” someone has become a mere formality.

Not only should you forget about seeing content from the people you follow, but you can also forget about people following you actually seeing what you have to share. The algorithm would rather serve up a smorgasbord of outrage, clickbait, and drama, because that’s what keeps them coming back for more. Do you want people to see your content? You better become the social media equivalent of a drug dealer, peddling the addictive wares of shitposts.

Step two. Delete all social media apps from your phone and turn off all notifications.

Look, it’s not just Twitter — every social media platform is guilty of this. Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn are all conspiring to create an army of mindless scrolling zombies. What’s worse is that your news feeds — assuming, god willing, you don’t get your news from Facebook — are also curated solely to keep you hooked long enough to see that ad for the thing you mentioned out loud five minutes ago.

The worst part is that, in order to achieve their end goal, these algorithms are not feeding us content that merely addicts us — they also actively shape and distort our view of reality. We become trapped in echo chambers that expose us to content that confirms our preexisting beliefs while dissenting opinions are filtered out. This insidious manipulation divides us and breeds intolerance, as we’re robbed of the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with others who might challenge our views.

Step three. Disconnect. Find a reputable newspaper, subscribe, and let an expert — they’re called editors, by the way — curate a daily read of probably relevant news.

That’s it. End rant. You’re fucking welcome. Feel free to send me $7. I won’t even ask for more next month.



Chris Ferrie

Quantum theorist by day, father by night. Occasionally moonlighting as a author.