As you’re aware from the headline of this post, I have an idea for the perfect version of Twitter. It’s a good idea, and you’re welcome. But first: the inspiration. One day, I noticed something many people have noticed before, something I’ve allowed to recede into the depths of my brain when more pressing matters came along. Twitter is terrible. There are too many people content to tweet dumb things until their fingers fall off, and Twitter refuses to punish them for it.
But not me. I’ll punish them for it. My version of Twitter will operate under the classic Three Strikes Rule, which you may be familiar with if you’ve ever watched a game of baseball. Here’s how it will work: Twitter will reset at the beginning of this experiment, allowing everyone to start again with a clean slate. No good tweets, no bad tweets. Once the reset happens, if you tweet something you shouldn’t have tweeted — whether it’s a bad pun, a retweet of a news story with the caption “This.” or showing up in someone’s mentions just to alert them that someone else is subtweeting them — you get one strike. Three strikes, as the saying goes, and you’re out. Your account will close and your handle will no longer be available to anyone. Your IP address will be banned for life.
This is Battle Royale, except the battleground is Twitter, and your assigned weapon is your decision-making skills. The only thing you have to do to avoid an untimely death is watch what you tweet. Or don’t tweet at all.
Obviously there’s one major problem with this plan, and it’s the same problem that Twitter is struggling with in its current iteration. Who decides what constitutes a bad tweet, and who is responsible for banning people when they send one? My (admittedly untested) solution has two parts. First, there will be an algorithm that automatically bans users based on an ever-evolving list (created by me, and open to other users who want to add to it) of banned words and phrases like “airline,” “Radiohead,” “it me,” “thread,” and any @-ing of a brand. (Brands will likely be some of the first accounts to disappear anyway.) Second, when a person signs up for Twitter, they will be given three accounts to monitor. And every user will be monitored by three other users, as much as this is possible based on the number of people available. Users will vote on every tweet sent from the accounts they monitor, and if two-thirds of the monitorees vote that a particular tweet is “bad,” that will count as a strike against the user.
This plan will likely result in chaos, at least for a few weeks or months. But that’s fine, because it will also result in a rapid shrinkage of Twitter’s user base.
Here’s how I see this playing out: A huge group of people will be kicked off Twitter almost immediately. Probably more than half. They’ll have tweeted about airlines or job promotions or the laundry detergent that’s giving them a rash. There will be robots who tweet nonsense, scrapped from existence. Some people will stop using Twitter voluntarily, because suddenly all the accounts they follow will be gone. Others will boycott, because this experiment is dumb and possibly deranged. The other half will hang on for a while, either because they’re careful tweeters, or because they just don’t tweet enough. Still, they too will soon be kicked off, because Time + Tweets = A Bad Tweet, always.
Eventually, Twitter will consist of just me, tweeting into an empty abyss. Then I’ll give up, sooner or later. Why tweet to no one? Twitter is over. Perfect.