We are highly incentivized to speak in code

I remember when people would refer to Microsoft as Microsuck in online writing. Often in mailing lists but elsewhere too.

It always struck me as a bit weird. It was often a way to express disdain for Microsoft’s conduct as a monopolist (later punished in the courts).

These days, I see people refer to their Patreon or YouTube channel or Shopify or Twitter or Instagram and they’ll replace these straightforward words by swapping out a letter or two to prevent their post from getting the attention of whatever moderation and algorithmic tools deemphasize posts, stories and videos. They’ll playfully refer to “the bird site” or “that patron site” and we’re supposed to know what the code is.

We are weakened as communicators when we can’t say plainly what we mean to say.

It’s not exactly “dishonest” but it’s a subterfuge that implies mistrust.

I dislike it very much. But given we have put the power of audience in the hands of the large platforms this emergent behavior is something we’re stuck with.

It gives me ideas for notions about a “Social Media Users Union” — might we have the right to inspect the way “THE ALGORITHM” hides or otherwise alters our reach when we use certain words? And mind you, I don’t think any user has a “right” to be seen by a larger audience. All I wish for is an app that shows me the entities I actually follow. It is a problem that the main way I view an app gets interspersed with content I have never expressed an interest in.

I like being suggested accounts I might like on a platform, when I ask for suggested accounts to be shown to be.

It’s that simple.

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