If you’re a Twitter user, you’re probably annoyed right now. Twitter’s made yet another tone-deaf change to the way their platform works. That’s right. Now you can tag as many people as you want without a limit! So exciting! Just what we’ve been waiting for!
I’m sure Twitter thought this would be really convenient. The trolls think so. Now they can troll or spam as many people as they want. Hurrah!
This plus several other changes mean that many Twitter users are jumping ship again. I’ve seen talk of jumping to a little pop-up called “Mastodon.” (You toot instead of tweet. How adorable.) But I feel like you’re still going to have similar problems eventually. You’ll definitely still be an unwilling subject to the whims of change.
Heyo, if you read this blog, you probably know where this is going. But hang in with me there. Let me offer you an alternative to Twitter. Yeah, that’s right. I think you should go old school and start a listserv.
If Twitter is an open playground, listservs are a gated community. You can let people in and kick them out as you wish, without having to continually patrol your feed or whatever. Got a troll? Kick them off. Ban their IP.
Better yet, with a listserv, you can carefully oversee your membership so you’re less likely to have trolls because you’re less likely to have invited one in the first place.
Look, listservs run off emails. Emails have been emails since the dawn of time. They’ll probably still be around when we’re all uploading our consciousnesses to the All-Father Computer. Your basic email doesn’t change, and probably never will. Unlike Twitter.
You can say you have a Twitter “community,” but what you really have is a Twitter “shouting contest held in a parking lot behind Walmart.”
With a listserv, you can really have a community full of people who you know and who know you. Who can have discussions that are longer than a few characters. Who are, typically, tied to actual names and actual people.
Basically, it comes down to this: Twitter is a giant open field where whoever wants can come join your discussion or yell at you and in order to stop them you have to mute them specifically. And then other people have to mute them specifically too. And yet they’re still there—yelling.
A listserv is a walled garden where only your friends and non-trolls are let in. If someone’s a moron, you can just kick them over the wall.
Where would you rather have a discussion?