Death of Twitter
Aug 2, 2023
Twitter is currently dying. It was force-purchased by a megalomaniacal troll who is focused on changing its entire essence and burning it to the ground in the process. Here are some highlights:
At least part of the appeal of Twitter was the level of access afforded to everyday people interacting with notable people. You could, in theory, tag or comment with actors, athletes, even the president, and perhaps get a reply. It's silly, but there has historically been no greater equalizer of access to people in power. You weren't dealing with a press secretary or a public relations representative. You were accessing the person or the company or the CEO directly. Now that's all gone.
- Timeline. They changed the timeline view from a reverse chronological list of Tweets posted by people you follow, to a randomized list of Tweets that have achieved some degree of virality (maybe) interspersed with some Tweets from some of the people you follow.
- Verification. They removed the core functionality of verification and replaced it with a paid subscription. Admittedly, the verification system was sort of spotty and often came down to knowing a person who worked for Twitter. But in the past, you could generally depend on a verified person being relatively noteworthy.
- Ads. There are now sooooo many ads on the timeline, as well as in individual Tweets.
- Bots. I was told one of the things Elon wanted to fix was the bot problem, but since he's taken over there are an innumerable number of bots, most of them porn-related which brings a nice touch of elegance (this is sarcasm).
- Boosting. Tweets and replies from verified users a.k.a. "blue checks" are now boosted to the top of the timeline and single Tweets, regardless of relevance or importance.
- Name. In a final act of breathtaking stupidly, the name "Twitter" no longer exists and what was once Twitter.com is now X.com, which is completely irrelevant and meaningless.
One of the reasons for the hostile takeover had to do with conservatives feeling like their voices were being suppressed, which they weren't. They were being suppressed because they were spreading racism and hate and promoting insurrections. But now that any old schmuck can buy a blue check mark, all the worst voices are being equally amplified. Twitter is just noisy static now, plus porn bots.
Perhaps the weirdest and worst part is the rename. It's just so arbitrary and dimwitted. You don't need to be a business major or brand manager to know you don't change the name of a successful product. Twitter is a brand name internet property. It's also become a verb, like Google or FaceTime. Speaking of Google, they sort of changed their name recently, and so did Facebook. But in reality, they changed the name of their parent companies, shifting "Google" and "Facebook" into their portfolio of products. If X.com is a parent company, you don't remove the name "Twitter" unless you're an idiot. Or unless you're trying to eliminate the legal liability associated with the name Twitter, which is a neat little conspiracy theory.
Actually my favorite conspiracy theory regarding this whole thing is that Elon lost his government security clearance when he smoked pot on the Joe Rogan podcast. This jeopardized his ability to do business as a rocket launch provider for spy satellites for the military and intelligence communities. At the same time, the military and politicians around the world were getting uncomfortable with how easy it was to use Twitter to organize mass protests and uprisings. So they blackmailed Elon into buying Twitter (something he had said he wanted to do) to retain his government contracts, knowing he'd reduce Twitter to smoldering ruins because he's an idiot and a troll. And here we are. #technology