Last week, Twitter changed its “Favorite” gold star icon to a “Like” heart icon–and when you like something, the heart does a sparkly starburst thing. People were upset with the change, which inevitably led to self-righteous exclamations of “Don’t you know X is happening and you should be tweeting about that!” (never mind that many people don’t use Twitter for serious purposes). Here’s an overreaction* that, while over the top, actually gets at the reason why these sorts of changes piss people off:
The reason people get upset about these things is because we don’t like it when someone changes infrastructure that we use on a daily basis without informing us or without our consent. While nationalizing Twitter would be ridiculous, much of the governance that affects our daily lives is not performed by government but private entities which often don’t care what people think–as conservatives love to point out, they’re beholden only to their owners (that’s probably not you by the way). They are not accountable to ordinary citizens at all, and, in an era of weak to non-existent regulation, do whatever their owners want without repercussion.
I think that’s why people were upset: it’s one more very small instance of a corporation doing a shitty job of governance.
*Because the Guardian treated science blogger GrrlScientist like shit, we no longer link to them (I think I removed any upcoming links). I’m tired of left-leaning institutions treating their workers poorly.