If you’ve arrived here after clicking the link on Twitter: Greetings! You’ve reached the Twitter handle of Dr. Thomas H. Conner. I currently am unavailable to service the social-media labor needs of a neofascist CEO and his tech bros. Please join me in not leaving a message there.
The following post points to other places you can find me & my work, as the Feelies sang, for a while anyway …
I’ve stopped actively contributing to Twitter, which sucks because the platform previously provided a wealth of valuable information and dialogue (especially for a scholar currently on the academic job market!). I’m late to the lifeboats, per usual. I shoulda fled after the union busting, the sheer (willful?) incompetence of his leadership, the reneging on small things like ending world hunger (which he, and any other billionaire, could accomplish tomorrow), or the sexism and the misogyny, both of which now poison the site. (He is the embodiment of 9 to 5’s “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.”) The consistent transphobia (which also extends to his own daughter) is the last straw for this little birdie.
The absence of my mild and occasional presence there won’t dent the algorithm or lighten Musk’s coffers, of course, but I must hold my own, personal strike. I encourage others to consider their role and contributions on Twitter, as well. As a recent UC grad student and former union member, I can tell you: If we all take our labor away, things change. Social-media services exist solely on the free labor of those of us posting, liking, and volunteering our data to advertisers. Without our labor, collapse. Strikes work. That’s why capitalists work so very hard to prevent them.
I’m not deleting my account altogether, because I’m still hopeful things will turn around for Twitter someday. That’s foolishly optimistic, I know, and perhaps irresponsible in its own way. However, I, as a former newspaper journalist, have seen these end-is-nigh convulsions and dire circumstances evaporate before. The Chicago Sun-Times, where I was last an editor and a columnist, as well as the Chicago Tribune both went through a variety of owners during my Windy City tenure — some solid and well-meaning, others bonkers and willfully destructive. The Sun-Times is now somewhat settled as a member of Chicago Public Media, hopefully helping to pave the non-profit way for all American journalism. Why not hope for a similar best with these whiny digital babes in the media woods?
Ewon, however, misunderstands free speech absolutely (or at least performs this) and has admitted a clear intention to sully the platform, if not openly dismantle it on behalf of fellow dumb thugs who are threatened by it. So, as the great seer Wil Wheaton recently shared, if you like a particular bar, but a bunch of Nazis start hanging out there, it’s no longer your favorite bar; it’s a Nazi bar. You find another bar.
I’ll redirect my public digital face to LinkedIn, where a thousand former colleagues of mine seem to be quite active. I’ve only logged on there once a year to update my CV; it’ll be slow going as I master the new learning curve. My resumé, CV & more remains, as ever, right here at thomashconner.info. (Dig those publications and quarter-century of significant teaching experience, you prospective PhD employers you!) When I’m settled more permanently in a university community, I’ll activate my comm-theory podcast plans (first episode: the phantasmagoric dispositif!) and revive my radio DJ persona.
Till then, hey, maybe you could just call…?
I'm THOMAS CONNER, Ph.D. in Communication (Science Studies) and culture journalist.