In this Vox piece from Peter Kafka, a few things are clear: Twitter is likely in decline, broken, and not really important. As he points out, if the social networking site vanished today, the repercussions would be ho-hum, no big deal:
“Here’s a thought experiment: What happens if Twitter goes offline tomorrow, for good? A bunch of us get some valuable time back, for starters. More seriously, some people lose an easy way to tell the world what they think, and a larger number lose a real-time window to the world. But realistically, most people aren’t spending time on Twitter to begin with. Most certainly not the youngest generation of internet users, who weren’t that interested in Twitter a few years ago and are even less so today.” - Kafka
As the author says, relatively few people use Twitter these days. It’s like a vocal minority. And loudness doesn’t make noise worth listening to. In the cacophony of Tweets, one generally must sift and sort out any signal to be found in the noise.
Since I deleted my Twitter account back in April this year, I’ve not really missed it at all. In fact, what little FOMO I had was fleeting, and I’m glad to be free of the distraction and addiction Twitter became for me.
While Elon Musk’s threat or promise (depending on your take) to buy Twitter had little to do with my decision to deep six the once-heralded micro-blogging service, it seems more apparent now that he probably won’t make it much worse or better than it is.
Like Zuckerberg with Instagram or Facebook, if Musk owns Twitter, the smart move might be a hard pivot, morphing to a new internet thing to contend with. Color me not optimistic. I think Twitter may diminish to something like what Flickr or Tumblr became: shadows of their former glory.
Do you enjoy, despise, or tolerate Twitter?