I’m not sure I possibly could care less that Lady Gaga apparently complains that “she had a choice to either make good music and remain in obscurity, or become outrageously commanding of the attention of pop culture and society, and, in the process, become a parody of herself”, given that many terrific and/or entertaining musicians manage to live their lives quite happily in “obscurity”.
If you scroll past all of that, however, Vicki Boykis has an interesting dissection of how once you pass some indeterminate number of followers on social media — somewhere well past Dunbar’s number — something changes.
The other thing that happens when you gain a lot of followers, or tweet something that becomes popular, is that all of your tweets are now a platform. Instead of replies being personal to you, they become a water cooler where people can congregate and discuss and give their own interpretation of whatever you’ve talked about, about you personally, or about their pet issues.
Notwithstanding the fact that past a certain point there’s sure to be someone, somewhere, who takes issue with even your most innocuous statement just because you are there and accessible, I’m less convinced I should be concerned that achieving platform numbers means that “[you] could be saying something wrong at any time that gets [you] cancelled”.
Context collapse’s potential for revealing that you might be terrible on one subject or another seems to me not a platform issue so much as a you issue.
Boykis is right, near the end, when she says that the “way out of this is to reclaim Dunbar’s number, which means smaller social networks that have more context, more support”, but I’m still brought up short at the idea that the problem is the comparative “ability for more controversial thoughts to get out into the public”.
Most people who get “cancelled” aren’t cancelled because they’re controversial; it’s because they are terrible.