The Rise and Demise of Twitter 2
This is written to memorize the discord channel Twitter 2.
Some Random Ranting
Not for everyone, but people recently are getting increasingly prone to anger, and cancel culture and exclusionism are prevailing. The world is going into pieces.
Yet the Internet itself is just a system which was invented decades ago for connecting computers. It’s always the human that is the problem. Originally to obtain social interaction, a person must blend into a group that they share little similarity with. This is getting less and less true with the introduction of social media, where people can find those who share great interests with them, share the same political stance with them, and share the same worldview with them. The same applies to receiving information, people now can easily find news that they love to see, views that they are supporting, or videos that they enjoy watching. “Why bother to watch things that I dislike? Why bother to talk to people that I dislike?” And they push themselves into a comfort zone, surrounded by only things they like. I’m doing it, for sure, and many people are doing it.
Also, tech companies behind social media are pushing this further in the name of “personalization”, because they know that this is the best way to make people stick with them, hence the best way to make money. As a result of this push from both sides, a person is more likely to only get to know a group of people like them, watch news that only say things they want to hear. Everyone lives in their own tiny world now.
Ridiculous it is, that the Internet was designed to connect people, but now it is segregating people.
Let me now imagine an extreme scenario, where Ant runs into Bat on the Internet. The problem is that Ant likes a film called Eekum, but Bat doesn’t, and thinks another film called Bokum is better. Tech companies are good at separating people due to their tastes, but they are not perfect, so understandable. It’s not like Ant doesn’t try to get along, Ant tries, to tell Bat how good Eekum is, and Bat does the same: tell Ant why Bokum is better. After some futile attempts, Ant can’t make Bat agree what Ant thinks. Because Ant hasn’t have a friend that loves Bokum, Ant thinks “maybe I just cannot get along with this type of people”, and by “this type of people” Ant means people who like Bokum. So, Ant just gives up. Later, Ant runs into Cat who also like Bokum as well, instead of talking with Cat, Ant thinks — “I can’t get along with someone like Bat”, so Ant walks away and never talked.
And sometimes I feel like I’m Ant, constantly under the influence of bias. Bias is the assumption of something we don’t know. We may assume the best or the worst of someone before even getting to know them. I understand that bias naturally happens, but oftentimes still falls into its hands, and make judgment based on bias. Why bother to learn more about someone I may hate, if I have plenty of people that I know I’m more probably to love? In such a way, people divide themselves into smaller and smaller groups. The segregation, in return, may fuel the bias, and mob mentality, to make people offensive against disagreements, in desperate attempt to defend their belief.
The Inception of Internet 2
Above is just my personal view, and Nyarla also feels tired of wars in the Internet. He comes up with the idea of Internet 2 in the book with the same title in 2019. In Internet 2, Nyarla imagines the outrage in Internet being overwhelmed by kindness, sympathy, and harmony.
優しさがインターネットを支配する時代となる。 It will become the era when kindness dominates the Internet.
I use the word “harmony” because the whole idea of Internet 2 reminds me of the book Harmony by Project Itoh. Harmony portraits a dystopian world where everyone’s body is deemed the possession of humanity, and people’s minds are monitored to prevent any damage done to anyone including themselves. There is no dictator, but the collective mind is dictating everything.
Internet 2 might be something similar: everyone is forced by everyone to be kind, although “that kindness may not correspond to kindness in real life”. But in return, in Internet 2 there is no dissonance. People are happy.
But when it comes to Twitter2, things are a bit more complicated.
Twilight of Twitter 2
In Jan. 2021 Nyarla set up the Twitter2 discord server, dubbed “a truly happy SNS where everybody does not talk about politics or society, but watch anime and play games all day”.
In the short manga that introduces Twitter2, people are depicted as brains in jars, and Nyarla, depicted as a little girl, is taking care of them.
In the post Nyarla wrote that Twitter2 started from a joke. And he created it partly because someone asked him to do it and he’s interested in running Discord server, partly because “it’s interesting to make such a dystopian-like [Discord] server and have a community of otakus”.
Therefore, although Twitter2 shared some dystopian (or utopian, YMMV) nature with Internet 2, it was nowhere as extensive as the Internet 2, and was just a discord server of otakus. From a larger perspective, Twitter2 is the reflection of the Internet instead of Internet2, where people are in a smaller circle.
Nyarla’s note told a little about what’s in Twitter2, so I think I may also write something different.
Aside from hobby channels, like anime, game, manga, movie, books, etc., there are also channels that people share pics of animals, landscape, food, and talks about life, religion or private things.
Religion was one of the recently established channels. It probably spun from a discussion about whether God exists. I didn’t look into the channel very much, but it is interesting to see people talk about belief in a more open and objective way.
Liminal space is another one of the new channels. Pictures of empty space were posted there. Nyalra sometimes would repost liminal photos from twitter. He still does this sometimes. I also took a photo or two to post there but couldn’t find a good shot here where I live. Some photos there are interesting. Empty hallway, or even an empty room (not so liminal by definition, which confuses me a little), but I enjoy all the pictures there.
Some channels I visited most:
General: of course, most talk happens there.
Monologue (ひとり言): sometimes I’d like to write my thoughts there. There’s another channel called the wall (かべ) where harsher monologues were written. I couldn’t distinguish the difference until I learned about the phrase hitting wall (壁打ち), one of its meanings is to let things out alone.
Poison radio (毒電波): People were writing random things there. Most of them sounded crazy, which made me a little nervous and anxious. And that made me feel interested. The one I can remember most clearly is “the earth is targeted” (地球は、狙われている from Ultraman), because there was a person (nicknamed erson, with an icon P, if I got it right) posting it almost everyday. There’s a saying that if someone keeps repeating something it will be hard for you to get it out of your head. Here it proves itself again. “Poison radio” came from Leaf’s first visual novel Shizuku (1996). I took the English translation from the song INTERNET OVERDOSE, whose lyrics was by Nyalra.
Books (本): As I read books (lightnovels) much more than watching anime or comics. Sometimes a message popped up with a photo of newly bought books, or about a book recently read. There, I came to know Kazuki Sakuraba’s other works, and before then I only read GOSICK by the author. One of them being A Lollypop or a Bullet. It’s a story about a girl that grows up, with a girl that doesn’t have the chance to grow up. I also learned about Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro’s new book, Clara and the Sun, although I hadn’t read it until the server shut down.
The Sudden Sunset
Around the end of 2021, griefers appeared in the discord. Though I started writing it during Nov 2021, it is now May 2022, and I couldn’t remember things clearly, so I’ll try my best.
First there were spamming discord invites. Come join us to spam other servers, it said.
And another time, all channels were spammed with defecating GIFs. Because discord plays the GIF by default people are forced to see it. The server is down for a while, and it came back with bot administration to counter spams.
And finally, the server just disappeared. I didn’t know what happened until a friend told me attackers got it down.
From Nyarla’s post, the attackers used the below method to get the server banned:
- Use anonymous accounts to spam access tokens in the server
- Report it to Discord
- Discord bans the server due to TOS violation
From a third person’s perspective, I’d say it is an incredibly elegant method, which achieves the most destruction with the least effort. And Discord’s lack of scrutiny before banning users and servers make this attack possible.
As a member, I wanted to say something, but surprisingly found myself at a loss for words. And at this time, 3 months after Nyarla set up a new server, and half a year after Twitter2’s disappearance, there’s nothing I can say about it any more. Some time it went just like that: people find themselves attention via the social network, but at the end, they don’t really need it.
And with that it concludes Twitter2’s short life.
I thought this kind of method is more often done in China, where ill-minded people utilize other’s careless words to get them banned, especially if they something remotely bad about the government. ↩︎