Twitter said Thursday it was hearing from users who were seeing too many topic suggestions in their home timelines and was moving to remedy the situation. “We’re fixing that now, and will continue to improve Topics and find ways to show you the very best of Twitter. Things you want to see, that is,” its Support account tweeted. To its credit, Twitter has seemed more responsive to users’ complaints — or their lack of interest — of late; in addition to Thursday’s topics announcement, Twitter said this week it would kill off Fleets, its ephemeral disappearing tweets that apparently no one was using.
But instead of showing us more things we want to see, I think Twitter should lean into taking away things we don’t want. I have a suggestion that I think most of the internet will be able to get behind — and we know the internet never collectively agrees on anything, so hear me out here: a way to block memes that are past their expiration date.
This request is inspired by the meme-ified photo of Wes Anderson, Timothée Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray from the Cannes Film Festival. It’s meant to promote their movie The French Dispatch, but since we (the internet) have to beat every funny thing into the ground, then dig it up and beat it some more, a version of that meme is now everywhere. Murray represents the “older” end of the spectrum, Swinton is the “cool” one, etc. I’m not going to over-explain it to you. If you know, you know, and explaining memes is probably cheugy. (I don’t know, I am Gen X.)
I’ll refrain from debating the accuracy of the above (it’s correct), but you get the idea. In all seriousness, a “block image” feature would be extremely useful, and not just to reduce the number of annoying memes in our timelines. Twitter has a way to block “sensitive media,” but it would be great if there were a toggle for specific images — maybe ones that are potentially triggering to a given user but not necessarily widely objectionable — rather than a blanket block-all.
For the time being, you’ll just have to continue to grit your teeth through everyone’s “clever” takes on this worn-out meme; it’s a trending topic on Twitter at the moment. But it’s also beginning to make the rounds on Facebook, which should be the agreed-upon sign that the meme is officially over and we need something new and shiny to replace it.