Storypost | 2023.08.02

AI generated image of a cruise ship in a storm

Jes watched Barbie while I watched Oppenheimer while Mom watched Dani. Also some state-of-the-internet snark I found worth quoting.

Soundgarden Black Hole Sun Barbie doll on fire
From Black Hole Sun.

It's probably a sign that Hollywood is struggling when their marketing campaign is to portmanteau the two premiers, specifically Barbie + Oppenheimer = Barbenheimer. The term is already on the tail end of its popularity already but I'll preserve its memory here.

Since Mom was in town this past weekend, Jes and I snuck away to get the Barbenheimer experience - well, I didn't follow the hype close enough to know if the phenomenon stipulates that couples part ways at the lobby, but that's what we did. And since Oppenheimer is a bit longer than Barbie, Jes had time to make pink-clad friends at the theater bar.

Barbenheimer pink mushroom cloud

Quick review of Oppenheimer:
Playing with kinetic sand
Xechat and Instatext

Twitter X flashing sign

I wrote at length about recent developments in the battle for the internet. The latest news:
BBC Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg says its new social media platform, Threads, has lost more than half its users.

The Twitter rival rocketed to more than 100 million users within five days of its launch earlier this month.

But Mr Zuckerberg has acknowledged those numbers have now tumbled.

"If you have more than 100 million people sign up, ideally it would be awesome if all of them or even half of them stuck around. We're not there yet," he said.

Mr Zuckerberg - who made the comments in a call to employees, heard by the Reuters news agency - described the situation as "normal" and said he anticipated retention to improve as new features were added to the app.

I don't know much about Meta sites, so this helped:

dahwolf It's pretty common that after a peak of new signups, most do not convert to long term active users. This doesn't even take into account that most "active users" tend to never post anything, they just leech. They still count as MAU. I'm sure that Meta has plenty of ways to boost that number in the long term but overall I find the entire thing underwhelming.

Threads is text-based Instagram. But not even that as you can very well include photos. It has exactly the same shallow culture as Instagram: commercial, flat, vain.

Meta has openly expressed that it's disinterested or even hostile to news/journalism making their way to the platform (which comes with a lot of political flame-wars), instead to focus on making it a "fun" platform. Quite obviously because advertisers prefer networks without controversy.

Users may self-censor as on Threads the link to your real name is not very far away. Many users may have a real name Insta account linked up which in turn is linked to your Facebook account. Even if not visibility linked to your real name, internally you should assume it's there. So who knows what happens to all those accounts when you step over the line in Threads?

Hence, it's not Twitter which is defined by the culture war taking the main stage. Twitter is raw, edgy and toxic. It's also known for its real-time coverage of events, which Threads so far lacks. It also produces quite a lot of original content, whether they be memes or otherwise. You'll find none of that originating on Meta networks.

As Twitter seems on its way down, especially high follower users (such as journalists) are lost. There is no longer a "cultural network" where you push a message and get reach. None of the alternatives work for this purpose either.

I have no idea what will become of Twitter, but I do know to keep an open mind as we live in wild times. Just because Musk is a chaos monkey does not mean that it will not eventually rebound or even surpass old Twitter.

Red sky

catinator9000 catinator9000 Telling my kid about the story of the social media will be kind of wild now that I think of it. First there were these niche cozy forums where you talked about anime and occasionally met IRL. Then it all consolidated into FB, Twitter, Reddit and it was really cool for a bit. We even came up with a name for it, Web 2.0, like it's some new era. Then it all got dark and we thought social media will end us. But then it suddenly just disappeared - Reddit was set on fire by the owner, Twitter was bought by a rich dude and set on fire, and FB became a reservation for nutjobs that nobody you know uses (aside from that weird one-off family member from Florida).

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