Twitter recently launched Fleets. I haven't posted one yet, but the excitement around it has been pretty shocking to me.
Twitter is designed for fleeting thoughts. It is the epitome of what scholar Jodi Dean calls Communicative Capitalism:
Messages are contributions to circulating content – not actions to elicit responses. Differently put, the exchange value of messages overtakes their use value. [...] Who sent it is irrelevant. Who receives it is irrelevant. That it need be responded to is irrelevant. The only thing that is relevant is circulation, the addition to the pool. Any particular contribution remains secondary to the fact of circulation.
I really enjoy Twitter, but I recently cut back on my usage. The pros of the platform — fresh ideas, easy communication with interesting people, serendipity — are often outweighed by the toxicity, erosion of attention spans, and harms to mental health.
To me, Fleets is yet another way for us to engage in Communicative Capitalism — throwing our ideas into circulation with no real impact other than surface-level interactions. While that's not usually our intention, the result is often inevitable.
There are ways to combat this: community building, long-form thoughts, etc. But Twitter isn't built for those things.
To combat fleeting thoughts, we have to be intentional about how and why we're communicating. My hope is that, while much more "boring," my Twitter usage will be more productive and less of a contributor to capitalist circulation with these ideas in mind.