I started this on the train just because 🥲 pic.twitter.com/iZJ804yjLs
— Darling Mikki (@OkSoMik) November 10, 2022
In the book The Artist’s Way it’s known as synchronicity.
Through absolutely no planning of my own, the topic of today’s post is a perfect case in point to what I wrote last time when considering the future of this blog. Specifically, the point I made in favour of maintaining some semblance of it indefinitely:
[V]arious industry experts caution against having third-party social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) as the sole basis of one’s online presence since these sites can change hands, change rules, change algorithms, or altogether fold up at a moment’s notice.
A blog is content that’s owned by the author, as opposed to the parent company of a given social media platform.
Little did I know how soon afterward my go-to social media platform would be upended right under me. And just when I’d gotten somewhat good at it!
I’m referring, of course, to billionaire Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter for the astronomical and astronomically overpriced fee of $44 billion.
The purchase has had various motives attributed to it by Musk’s supporters, his detractors, and Musk himself, none of which I’ll get into since others who are far more knowledgeable about software engineering, contract law, and, again, Musk himself, can do and have done far better justice to the topic than me.
But suffice it to say that Twitter became noticeably different after only a few days: engagement with my tweets—as well that of many people I follow—flatlined; I was seeing far fewer tweets from people/organizations I follow on my feed, even though checking their homepage reveals that they had, indeed, been tweeting; the tweets I was seeing on my timeline tended to be those with high engagement that were 15+ hours old.
The situation seems to have since stabilized for the moment. Yet it was a disheartening glimpse into how Musk’s proposed future “pay-for-play” model will likely manifest.
In short, while I’m committed to maintaining my Twitter presence for as long as it lasts, the app no longer seems entirely compatible with my needs to:
- Build a platform in support of my publishing aspirations
- Connect with the boarder online writing community, publishing industry, and history academy (since I write historical fiction)
- Be part of the global socio-politico conversation that occurs beyond what’s covered by mainstream media.
This means I’m gonna need another social media app.
But which one(s)?
I’m been weighing the pros and cons of various apps, based almost entirely on my overgeneralized snap judgements about both them and the types of people who use them:
Pros: Biggest worldwide platform by number of active users [source]
Cons: Full of old people; full of religious and far-right wingnuts; ugly/junky user interface; zero reach unless you pay (and even then…)
Pros: Beautiful photography; second biggest platform (not counting YouTube and WhatsApp, which don’t have comparable uses in my opinion)
Cons: Too much photo “staging” required; I suck at photography in general; users are more so showcasing; not interacting with each other; every post has too many gd hashtags
Pros: Good for both short and medium-length posts; seems like a fun place
Cons: Overly fannish, strongly devoted to visual art; kinda niche (doesn’t even make the statistics list); every post has too many gd hashtags that are like a sentence long each
Pros: Third biggest platform (not counting WeChat, which is primary a Chinese platform); post length (videos) is very short
Cons: I’m not hot enough for video; the algorithm is racist af; making even short videos is a ton of work; people talk some bullshit while painting themselves as “experts”
Pros: Visually resembles Twitter; many historians are migrating there
Cons: Isn’t much like Twitter at all actually; confusing af set-up; no interconnection between individual servers; not all servers are accepting new members; seems very white; weird expectations around content warnings; discoverability seems lower; posts are called “toots”
Ultimately, no one platform will be able to reproduce all that Twitter has to offer—no two platforms either, really.
For that reason, although I’ve chosen to set up shop on both Instagram (instagram.com/jannagnoelle) and Tumblr (tumblr.com/jannagnoelle), I’m also going to stick it out at Twitter until the lights go out, and hope against hope that Twitter is able to make a dramatic recovery.
9 thoughts on “Is Twitter Dying? (Is it dead already?)”
Did you know that Instagram belongs to Facebook, Meta now (at least on Wall Street), and YouTube belongs to Google? If you want to run ADs on YouTube, you have to go through Google.
I still want to try Instagram and I did try YouTube with a 30-second promotional videos (produced by Lee-Eric Berry) for two of my novels, but Google has what I think is a draconian method for us to prove we are us. Yes, Google wanted me to prove I was me to keep my AD account. To prove I was me, I had to send them a copy of my driver’s license, a letter from the IRS, and more. A Google bot or human rejected the copy of my driver’s license, said it was too blurry. And there was no way I could find a way to request a letter from the IRS (they’re like understaffed and it’s taking months to pay out refunds – my refund for 2021 arrived six months after I submitted my tax forms to the IRS, and their site explained that was because they don’t have enough people to get the job done). So, Google closed my account because I couldn’t prove I was me to their satisfaction, and my promo videos stopped running on YouTube. Great price, too. Each time someone viewed the 30 second promo videos from beginning to end, the average cost was three cents.
I didn’t know about Mastodon and Tumbler, thanks for that. I’ll check them out.
You may also want to check out Lee-Eric Berry, who produced the two promo videos for two of my novels that are on the opening page of my website. He’s good. He worked in the film industry and is also an author.
Yes, I’m aware of who all owns what. I’m already resigned to the fact that any major platform that I use will be at the sufferance of some uber-rich technocrat; it’s more the culture and functioning of said platform(s) that interest me because they all function in different ways. Twitter is by far my favourite. But we’ll have to see what comes of it.
That’s too bad that you had a tough interaction with YouTube. Hopefully you’ll find some of the other platforms I mentioned to your liking.
I have accounts on several of them but the only one I look at regularly is Instagram. It seems the least toxic, and I appreciate the more artistic nature of most of the content. Tbh, I get the most value out of the blogs/websites I’m subscribed to, like this one. 🙂
Thank you! I’m going to give Insta a genuine try. I’m now just trying to figure out what sort of content I want to post on each platform. They’re all so different from each other that it seems like an opportunity to show a number of different sides of myself.
Same my friend. Same. I’m going to be here until the bitter end. Twitter is my comfort place. Please, please, let us have it back!
I’m really hoping that Twitter survives. It’s loss would take away so much for so many different people all over the world.
Hey! Old person here – I’m on FB. Mostly because ME/CFS and writing support groups are handy. In-person support groups (which I can’t get to anyway – no car) have been sorely lacking these pandemic years.
I can’t imagine being on Twitter, but many people like it. I imagine it as something that you allow to interrupt your train of thought about every nanosecond, and I take forever to come back from a derailment, so no.
My sisters are peeved at me – they want me on Whatsup where they exchange notes with each other and friends umptyfrat times a day, and would show me even more how much of LIFE I’m missing as a disabled person, plus derail me.
Hope you find something you like. I’m still trying to process paying 44 BILLION for something and then throttling it.
Always good to hear from you.
Nice to hear from your too. I was working and living in a national park with no internet access during the years that FB really took off, so I missed the initial rush of it. Had I been around I probably would have been part of the sensation, but when I joined later, because I’d missed the period where everyone was adding everyone they’d ever met ever, my friend count was too low for it to be exciting for me, so I quit it. Even with Twitter, it took me a good five years after I first signed up to start using it in earnest, after they started adding better features and functionality. But now I love it and really can’t imagine life with out given the opportunities and knowledge it’s given me, so I really REALLY hope it survives.
During the pandemic I got into a WhatsApp group with my sister and cousins that has been fun – a good way for us to stay connected since we’re far-flung across three countries and three different provinces in my country. We have the occasional Zoom chat with the family elders as well. But I can see how it could be tough being constantly subjected to things you’re not able to participate in, so you need to choose what social media (and how much, and when) is best for you.
I really got more into FB when the pandemic hit – and in-person groups were suddenly especially dangerous to us vulnerable people.
My in-person group vanished, too.
I assume you and your family are healthy normal adults – that would make it more fun, as Whatsapp is good for my extended family and sisters in Mexico. Then, yes – you’d want to know what was going on.