“The Internet has become the ultimate narrowcasting vehicle: everyone from UFO buffs to New York Yankee fans has a Website (or dozen) to call his own,” the journalist Richard Zoglin wrote in 1996. “A dot-com in every pot.”
Major conversation platforms like Twitter and Threads, by contrast, emphasize a different goal for realizing the Internet’s potential: aggregating as many of its potential connections as possible into a single service. Whereas the potential-connection mind-set fosters small groups that gather in their own bespoke corners of cyberspace, the supporters of aggregation aim to link as many people as possible into the same widespread digital conversations. We’ve gone from Zoglin’s dot-com in every pot to the social-media age’s vision of every pot being filled with slop from the same platforms.