As I’m sure you’re all reading every word on this blog 😉, you may be aware of the concerns and frustration I’ve found as Twitter has devolved over the last year or so. The List has made friends, gleaned news, cheered for projects and built relationships there, and benefits have been reaped.
But the atmosphere has changed, even for classical musicians. Where we used to share bits of our lives and careers and wonder about every facet of what we do (do we ALL need to know about your passion for kale?), that discourse now takes place amidst a sea of hate that is only getting worse.
So @laurislist is leaving Twitter as of today, for many reasons — just a few examples appear below. This has been a difficult decision, and we’ll be reaching out to our followers in the hope that we can continue those relationships elsewhere. Under the hatchet-wielding, nonsensical oversight of The Elon, Twitter is being remolded into “something dark, something unnatural” (thank you Alice Hoffman!) that no longer has much to do with our core mission. There are specific signs of this that increase in strength nearly every day:
- While I applaud the addition of the “Automated” label to bot accounts, the Verified blue checkmarks have lost real meaning, and those accounts are being bumped up in the algorithms, so that their posts and comments seem to be increasingly prioritized. Moreover, the vast majority of the hateful comments and posts we’ve seen in the last few weeks (on any topic) come from Verified accounts, which means Twitter is giving those folks a stronger platform than ever.
- Ads are inserted in bizarre places, e.g. the vapid gaming ad that popped up without warning into a string of heartfelt comments about the devastating death of composer Kaija Saariaho last week. (We will miss that genius woman!)
- Twitter’s formerly robust moderation team, and indeed any customer service staff, are apparently no more. This is a deliberate choice by a leader who claims to care about truth, but clearly doesn’t care about the real people using or guiding his platform.
- Real news has been shut out: Journalist’s email requests for information and comment are now answered by an automated poop emoji, which seems the best possible manifestation of the puerile mind leading the org. Previously verified journalists are no longer identified as such unless they pay, and their publications must pay thousands of dollars to appear Twit legit.
- The onslaught of account suspensions (including one of my inactive accounts) means that legitimate account owners are left with no access, no explanation, no response to appeals, no chance to deactivate or download content from those accounts, and the very real danger that the handle you thought was safe will be granted to an impersonator at any time.
- While most genuine classical music discussions seem to have less of the comment chaos, any Twitter user must still wade through the swamp to get to things they really care about, and it seems that our followers deserve better.
Basic social sense
But finally, it is simply no longer deemed wise or necessary to maintain a presence on more than two or three social media platforms that meet your needs. There are many alternative sites that are in development now, and we’ll be watching that trend closely. But for now, as long as they’re fitting the bill, we’ll be focusing efforts on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn (which we use for fairly specific purposes). So please follow us there:
We’re also on Post.news, with an account that hasn’t found its feet yet — but there seems to be potential there, and they’re building additional features as fast as they can: https://post.news/@/laurislist
If someone has a Bluesky invite to share, that would be worth checking out. If you have recommendations for other sites, I’ll happily take a look. We’ve already vetted more than a dozen sites that have been deemed a bad fit, and those accounts have been discarded. There is a Wild West feeling to the social climate right now, reminiscent of the early days of bulletin boards and DOS-based chat rooms. But that got better, and so will this.
I encourage you all to take a good look at the efforts you’re putting into your social media life, and make sure that effort is creating something you’re happy to be a part of. For many of us, there are decisions to be made. But we’ll figure it out.
Wherever you choose to post, please drop me a line and let me know where to find you, and Listers, DO keep us posted about your projects, so we can help spread the news.
All the best,