Twitter's Sith and Jedi

February 2024

In Star Wars, the Sith are more powerful than the Jedi. The Sith lean into strong negative emotions like hate to tap the dark side of the Force. The surge in emotions gives them additional power, not available to the Jedi.

But when they do that, they sell their soul. Unlike Faust, they don't sell their soul to a higher authority, but to the worst version of themselves.

Twitter offers the same bargain to users.

Tweeting with anger, contempt, and snark increases your powers – your word travels farther, the engagement is higher. But you condition yourself to look for anger, contempt, and snark in your life, to want to feel it.

  • Did your angry tweet go viral? You are being positive reinforced into feeling angry often.
  • Did your snarky tweet go viral? You will look for opportunities to feel disdain towards others.

Eventually, this becomes the main filter you see the world through.

This idea is not very novel. Most Twitter users can see through this - they've already consciously taken or rejected the bargain. But I think the parallels to the Sith and the Jedi provide good labels.