Twitter and the End of Trolling’s Golden Age
Twitter’s recent purges of alt-Right figures such as Richard Spencer and myself are part of the Balkanization of American culture. Social media democratized mass communication, but in the age of President Trump, the Left and the Right will retreat to their own spaces.
Almost a year ago, technologist and WeSearchr CTO Pax Dickinson predicted that Twitter would eventually ban all Right-wingers from its platform. For all of its downsides—an overly restrictive message length, sluggish performance, a lack of editing tools—Twitter came into its own in the past two years as a platform for sharing stories the mainstream media didn’t want anyone to see. Beginning with GamerGate—or more accurately, 4chan’s ban on GamerGate discussion, which spurred many users to defect to Twitter—Jack Dorsey’s site became a must-use clearinghouse for sharing and reading the news. Given that Silicon Valley is run by the Left, it was only a matter of time before the banhammer came down.
What shocked me was that it came so late. While Twitter had individually banned popular Right-wingers such as Chuck Johnson, Milo Yiannopoulos and Ricky Vaughn before, the mass purge of alt-Right and alt-media personalities didn’t begin until a week after the election. Richard Spencer (as well as all of NPI’s accounts), myself, Dickinson himself and countless others were given the Kristallnacht treatment after a new “harassment” policy targeting Whites (and White men in particular) was slipped in under the radar. Our most hilarious fears had been confirmed: Dorsey didn’t ban us before the election because he legitimately thought Trump had no chance of winning. As is so often the case, it’s impossible to tell whether Leftists are malicious, stupid or both.
I’ve said it privately and it’s something I sincerely believe: a mass purge prior to the election would have been a crippling blow to the alt-Right. It wouldn’t have killed us, but losing our ability to influence normies then would have put us out cold on the mat. But after the election? We’ve already won. Not only did Trump trounce Hillary and the GOP retain Congress, the Republicans picked up three governorships and took control of two more state legislatures. The Republicans now have complete control over 25 state governments (possibly 26 depending on how the North Carolina gubernatorial recount plays out), while the Democrats hold just six. Dorsey’s doing the equivalent of setting fire to the flophouse after the tenants have all moved out.
I’m not interested in debunking the tired Leftist “private companies can do what they want, only the government can censor you” argument, because John Stuart Mill already shoved it in a cab and sent it home. I’m personally done with Twitter and have moved over to Gab, a free speech social networking platform that not only features all your favorite banned e-celebs (as well as ones who aren’t banned, like Mike Cernovich, Roosh, and Stefan Molyneux), but has implemented features that Twitter should have added years ago, such as—GASP—the ability to edit your posts. What I’m interested in is the fragmentation of the American cultural landscape. As silly as this sounds, Twitter was perhaps the closest thing we’ve had that unified the increasingly atomized American nation; its devolution into a Leftist safe space portends continuing Balkanization in the West.
The Internet’s greatest achievement is that it made worldwide communication fast, easy and accessible to the masses. No more laboriously slow letters, expensive long-distance phone calls or fax machines; just log on and send your Colombian pen pal an email. Social media was intended to be the next step, augmenting virtual interaction and making it more convenient. Twitter’s genius was that it was the most democratic and open platform of them all, because everyone used it: celebrities, politicians, and ordinary Joes. Never before in history was it as easy for the beautiful people and the unwashed proles to sling mud at each other. As I’ve joked in the past, insulting newspaper columnists or retarded musicians used to require methods that could get you in trouble with the law; with Twitter, you could call your bete noire a faggot from the safety of your living room.
However, the Dr. Moreaus of Silicon Valley didn’t factor in successive generations being increasingly whiny and narcissistic. As covered by Anonymous Conservative, the pampered lives of Millennials forged them into baby-faced tyrants incapable of handling opposing views. “Cyberbullying” and “harassment” are concepts invented by society to wallpaper over the Left’s mental instability. You can’t “bully” someone over the Internet, because they can just close the browser tab and ignore you. Young Leftists wax maudlin about “online harassment” not because they can’t avoid it, but because they can’t deal with the fact that there are people in the world who don’t agree with them.
Prior to GamerGate, Leftists were bolder, having won victory after victory from the 2006 midterm elections forward, and were using their power to hound Dickinson, Justine Sacco and other “un-PC” figures out of public life. This made it easy to trigger them with satirical articles, such as Tuthmosis Sonofra’s infamous Return of Kings article “5 Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder” or my piece “The Case Against Female Self-Esteem.” The push to end “online harassment” didn’t ramp up until late 2014, after gamers rose up to root cultural Marxism out of their beloved hobby. For the first time in recent history, Leftists were losing a cultural battle, and they couldn’t handle it. Their solution was to circle the wagons and label their critics “harassers,” with the aid of a sympathetic media and Silicon Valley flacks lured by the scent of Benjamins.
Leftists were fine with open platforms like Twitter when they had the upper hand, but GamerGate, the alt-Right and other counter-cultural groups commandeered those platforms for their own purposes. It’s easy to keep your doors open when everyone wants to fellate you; not so much when they’re calling you a cuck and Photoshopping your face onto dank memes. The one hope the SJWs had was that Grandma Hillary would win the election and send all the anonymous trolls and shitlords to FEMA camps, a dream that died around three in the morning on November 9th.
To put it simply, Leftists are retreating from public discourse as a self-defense mechanism. Their amygdalae, weakened by decades of economic prosperity and mollycoddling, are ill-equipped for a world in which they’re on the losing side. Lest you think this is an exaggeration, we’ve already had two Leftists who’ve died due to Trump-induced stress: Sharon Jones suffered a stroke while watching election coverage, while Jeff Gillenkirk had a heart attack after diagnosing himself with “Post-Trump Stress Disorder.” Another Hillary volunteer was driven to a nervous breakdown after Trump won, while Girls creator and Clinton surrogate Lena Dunham suffered a meltdown on Election Night. It’ll take us a long time to get tired of winning, but these clowns got sick of losing real fast.
The golden age of trolling is drawing to a close. With Twitter progressively banning non-progressives on their way to bankruptcy, we see the future of social media: ideologically-closed spaces. The free-for-all of the Obama era will give way to gated communities where Right and Left rarely interact, such as “Pantsuit Nation,” the infamous secret Facebook group that urged Hillary supporters to wear pantsuits on Election Day. While Gab is growing exponentially and will likely be the closest we get to a pre-Trump Twitter replacement (according to CEO Andrew Torba, MSM reporters are requesting access to it in order to observe the alt-Right), many Leftists will never join it precisely because they don’t want to open themselves up to criticism. In particular, celebrities, cuckservatives and MSM hacks will likely withdraw from social media altogether, fearful of anime avatars making fun of them. Gab’s lack of a block function—its mute function allows people to keep trolls from bothering them, without the trolls knowing—will also take the sting out of shitposting.
This process is inevitable and necessary on a certain level. The fragmentation of popular culture due to the Internet is a reflection of the deep, unhealable divisions in American society. With eight million music acts and endless forms of free or cheap entertainment online, Hollywood and the music industry no longer hold the influence they once did. Similarly, the Right and the Left no longer see themselves as fellow citizens with differing opinions, but as opposing armies that need to be wiped out. President Trump will make America as good as it can be under the current conditions, but no one’s going to be able to glue Humpty Dumpty’s shell back together.