Word▶️ #7: Streamline

A pressing dilemma.

This puzzle takes us past the halfway point on Word▶️, and we intend it to be a breather after the rigors of Man in the Mirror. (Thanks especially to those solvers who took the time to leave a note after finishing that one — always good to know you are picking up what we're putting down — and also to those solvers who reached out asking for a nudge, which is fair play in our book.)

As we mentioned in our post earlier this week, perhaps the best tool to assist with a tricky puzzle is fellow puzzlers, and if you don't have any of those in arm's reach, we recommend the online community of cruciverbalists on the streaming service Twitch. Today's cryptic is our salute to that crowd — you certainly don't have to be extremely online to solve it, though YMMV on certain 21st-century terminology.

Thanks to Andy Stilp, John Sams and Norah Sharpe for test solves, and to Bill MacDonald for his edits.

[Update: We have put Streamline into the vault, to be released again this autumn in the Word▶️ collection. Subscribers can find a link to the puzzle in the emails we sent on Apr. 25, May 25, June 25 and July 25.]

Some opponents of social media say that seeking the validation and dopamine tied up in retweets, followers and ratios is unhealthy, and that those systems should be abolished. Their exhortation to you is hidden in the grid — read the shaded squares clockwise, starting with the square in 2-Down.

Those who thrive online, such as YouTube personalities, obviously take a very different position. Their exhortation to you is also hidden in the same location.

Knowing something of internet slang and culture will assist in certain clues. FWIW, three answers are initialisms or acronyms.

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