I see people assuming that outrage, and addiction to it, are an inevitable consequence of modern social networks. But a simple check reveals that can't possibly be true – people find interacting in person much more rewarding, and would generally prefer a more-available version of that, and interacting in person doesn't have this effect. Twitter is different than what came before it, even if it's worst vices aren't wholly new. The tenor of the space is strange precisely because we have something to compare it to, so how could it be inevitable?

If you're wondering how you have people broadcast their thoughts and let anyone share their reply without that effect, I don't know. I'd be surprised if it was impossible to make a system where that was healthy, but at the end of the day, it requires a dedication to anthropology that extends beyond current understanding. Maybe Healthy Twitter is possible to design and make, but it's certainly not obvious.

Of course, broadcasting your thoughts is a strange thing to do. I'm not sure we understand what it means to open yourself up to everyone. Even if you can't be truly vulnerable, some vulnerability is needed for effective communication, and the world is too vast to get everyone to cooperate in that prisoner's dilemma.

I think there's something powerful about voice, and one-on-one conversations. I've been enjoying being on the phone more with friends, during this pandemic. I think there's also something powerful about just hanging out, in groups. The more casual nonsense is important too.

I liked inviting people over. I liked meeting friends of friends. I think a lot of those basics can be adapted more faithfully to the digital age.