Outline of a booklet YOU can write-publish re upgrading social media now

Timely for you to write on sea changes in social media now?

Bruce Dickson
5 min readNov 26, 2022

The past three months Ive found a lot to like being on Twitter daily. It’s valuable communication for journalists and Cultural Creatives. No other platform like it yet where overlapping audiences of Cultural Creatives meet and influence each other. Yes, it does pay to choose whom you follow carefully; and, block people offensive to you. By comparison Facebook is comfort food for women. YouTube is more like television-cable.

Coy Doctorow recently published an article on Medium.com, “Social Quitting.” I read it. I wrote to Cory. I said it seems like the first chapter of a book or booklet he could sell. I outlined several more chapters for him, offering to support him, since I have time.

Cory kindly responded he was too busy to start another book project. he encouraged me to flesh out my outline and publish it.

Truth is, I’m also stretched pretty thin in my areas of expertise. I don’t have sufficient expertise — or even interest — to write a book on how social media could evolve to be better.

So I’m publicly posting the chapter outline incase YOU have the background and interest to turn this into a book or booklet to sell. If you wish I’ll support you. I have time.

Book title: To be determined by YOU. “How to Save Twitter”? “How to Save Social Media”? How to Make Twitter or its Successor Better”?

Chapter thumbnails ~

Chapter 1) Describing Twitter’s success accurately. It succeeded by attracting and keeping Cultural Creatives as its audience. CCs existed both before Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson named them in 2001; and, after they were also termed the “Creative Class” and the “Creator Culture.”

Twitter is NO single community. Twitter is multiple overlapping communities all rubbing elbows. The range of Cultural Creatives is huge, from far left to far right. Cultural Creatives like this wide range (CCs are in part defined by their interest in other cultures). CCs believe people can learn from other cultures. Twitter antidotes the “silo-ing” of interests into separated narrow-minded cliques. This continues to be a big problem in politics and economics. On Twitter Each constituency is LESS INSULATED from outsider points of view, more likely to gain useful insight from opponents and crowdsourcing opinions.

Chapter 2) Explain how “Cultural Creatives” also includes MAGA people. They also want to expand and legitimize their preferred form of new culture.

Chapter 3) Explain how CCs also include people like Paul Krugman who still tries to legitimize the culture of Centrist, do-nothing, status quo political economy.

Chapter 4) Explain the Best Practices learned from music, game and video streaming platforms:

- Verify ALL users,

- Charge a low monthly entry fee.

If Twitter fails, for its next incarnation, I suggest $1.00/month as a way to get millions of sign-ups quickly. This reduces bots and reduces pressure to sell ads. In a year you can raise to $1.50/month. Start there.

Chapter 5) Explain what Twitter was lacking. Mostly it was any clear public, Vision Mission Products statements. These begin to inform trolls what they can be penalized for. VMPs are the beginning of healthy boundary setting. Every community needs explicit boundaries. “Good fences makes good neighbors.”

- Please also tell the story of how Twitter failed because of its vast ignorance-denial of group process Best Practices. For diverse interest groups of Cultural Creatives to share one platform, clear Vision Statement, Mission statement and Product statements are needed so users are informed of the norms and values of the platform. Needed healthy boundaries against hate speech, unnecessary provoking, obscenity, pointless rudeness and violent proposals have to be explicitly, publicly sketched out. VMP statements then become the energetic “spine” of the platform. Twitter has no “spine” of truly human values it stands for.

- Twitter’s failed Moderation function. A healthy Moderation Plan is active and evolving. Twitter’s half-attempt never was insufficient on both counts. Twitter’s existing Moderation has a handful of good ideas. Celebrate what is working.

- Since Musk, moderation seems to be stuck in the most basic amateur dilemma: how to post as many tweets of all kinds as possible (“All the news that fits, we print” — the MAD magazine parody of NYTimes motto). This is not a healthy policy. This is THE recipe for chaos; and, eroding the trust of users-advertisers.

- To my knowledge, Twitter has no public policy at all about confused, poorly-written, un-sourced tweets (tweet-farts?). Some policy should exist to establish a threshold under which tweet-farts are simply deleted. This will same time and money as it will reduce costs of moderation. No mechanism for this on Twitter. Evidence: on Twitter I participate in the user advisory function where we evaluate some controversial tweets. Some good thinking here, yet, even I could improve their system. Since Musk took over, more and more half-baked, unsourced tweets are flagged for moderation. To my ear, many of the original tweets are too faulty to correct or provide easy context for. Better for the platform and all concerned to delete many of these tweets. Cancelled tweet creators can simply receive:

- A tweet their original has been deleted,

- A copy of deleted tweet-fart,

- Invitation to re-write

- Boxes checked for what needs improving. Even Reddit does this better than Twitter.

Chapter 6 (end): “This would be the perfect time for a public owned platform with democratic governance to arise, one designed for healthy interactions [across and between otherwise silo-ed narrow interests] and personal enrichment, as opposed to [unintended] extraction and psychological pollution” from a reader comment of your Social Quitting article on medium.

See also Prof Galloway and The Post. He is already beginning to voice a clear, public, Vision Mission Products statements, informing trolls what they can be penalized for.

If you wish writerly support on such a project, I have time. Happy to donate time to it. I wrote up a piece of Cultural Creative history I’ve not seen anywhere else; how, CCs split off from the Old Left in 1972 over Vietnam and nuclear energy-bombs protests. Happy to gift a version of it for you to modify as useful.

Such a booklet as I propose above could give readers handles to conjure with how Twitter — or a new platform — of diverse Cultural Creative interest groups can co-exist and learn from each other on a single platform.