David Heinemeier Hansson

December 16, 2022

Throw Twitter into the fire of Mount Doom

Whatever brief promise that Elon Musk might run New Twitter on principles not power seem dashed by the ElonJet affair. So I'm now biased to the tail outcome of this acquisition: That it liberates the world from Twitter's unique influence on our common discourse. Nobody should have this much power over the town square. No human is strong enough to resist the corruption it brings.

Old Twitter was everything conservatives feared it would be. That much is clear by reading the reporting of  Weiss, Taibbi, Shellenberger, and others who've been combing through the internal Twitter communication archives. The central characters in the Orwellianly-named Trust & Safety team were drunk on influence, power, and kept ruling from blatant bias, while draping themselves in bullshit experthood and victimology.

Mr Musk was right to be outraged about that. As anyone free from ideological capture should have been. But at the same time, it's now clear that we're probably in store for much of the same, just from the other front. Perhaps it'll be less, but now we're arguing a difference in degree, not in kind.

Reading about ElonJet reminded me about this passage from The Lord of The Rings. Bilbo Baggins holds The One Ring, and even knowing all the death and destruction it has wrought, he still cannot get himself to give it up easily:

After all, why not? Why shouldn't I keep it? Now that it comes to it, I don't feel like parting with it, it's mine!! I found it. If I'm angry, it's your fault!! It's mine. My own. My precious. What business of yours is it what I do with my own things?!

The world has changed. We feel it in the discourse. We feel it in the factions. We smell it on the feed. Much of what once was is lost.

Our best hope is that Twitter by accident, intent, or happenstance is thrown into the fire of Mount Doom. No one can handle The One Ring. Nobody should.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Creator of Ruby on Rails, co-owner & CTO of 37signals (Basecamp & HEY), best-selling author (REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, REMOTE), Le Mans class-winning racing driver, antitrust advocate, investor in Danish startups, frequent podcast guest, and family man.