I’m glad Twitter exists and I find it fascinating, even though I don’t use it. Even though it has a small user base compared to things like Facebook, because many high profile people are there, and actually using it to have public conversations, it does matter. I follow politics and listen to various podcasts, and they are all on Twitter. Journalists are all on Twitter. A lot of academics are on Twitter, as well as a lot of cultural figures. There is a lot of discourse that happens there that advances the conversation around politics and culture. A lot of news is directly informed by or about what happens on Twitter. Even with all the noise and BS and misinformation that is also there, it matters. Black Lives Matter and #MeToo would not have taken off without Twitter. There are so many cultural moments that originate there.
It really does function as a public square, for all its flaws. I think it advances the collective self-awareness of the interconnectedness of the human species. In other words, it allows humanity to know itself, which is crucial to our development and maturation as a species.
I am not temperamentally suited to using it myself. But I can see the significance and impact of it, and I’m sad that Elon bought it because I don’t think he has any idea what he is doing.
Update June 2023: It seems like Elon knows exactly what he is doing, and it’s terrible.