Twitter’s economic crisis reflects the crisis in our public sphere. New technologies are often accompanied by a certain fetishism, that either celebrates it as a technological fix to all society’s ills, or demonises it as bringing about the end of civilisation. The arrival of social media is no different: some see it as the harbinger of digital democracy and a revitalised public sphere, while others argue that it makes us stupid and lowers the tone. In truth neither is right, because communications both shape society and are shaped by it.
We need to slow down. Just like the slow food movement, we also need slow media that give us time to develop discussion. This inevitably means rolling back the capitalist logic of advertising sales so the focus can be on quality content, not monetising adverts. De-commercialisation and de-acceleration are strategies for saving the media.