The little blue bird logo appears everywhere. On TV, Twitter usernames are listed below the real names of news anchors, athletes and politicians. On billboards and in commercials, even the most mundane cream cheese and snow tire companies beg us to log on and use their hashtags to #JoinTheConversation. “Come use Twitter with us!” public figures and organizations plead, almost in unison. Bloggers have done all in their powers too so that they may stay relevant in the market. You cannot escape the constant demand — coming from practically everywhere — for your presence on Twitter.
Print media is definitely dead, but Twitter is still stabbing the body. Every blogger and journalist who uses their Twitter account at all is effectively now employed by Twitter, whether they like to admit it or not. Gone are the days of refreshing CNN.com or whatever sites during current events. It’s faster and easier to find the journalist closest to today’s disaster and watch their Twitter feed instead. And while that journalist will certainly have a published article up within the next 15 or 20 minutes at their day job, their tweets on the subject have probably already been retweeted a few thousand times and seen by a couple million people. And if you believe the typical information addict is going to go back to refreshing individual blogs and news sites, that’s ridiculous.
The Fav-and-RT-based serotonin reward system unintentionally built into Twitter also has the side effect of forcing introverts to obsessively write pithy jokes for huge audiences for free, day in and day out. Free funny content! Sometimes by actual comedians you’ve heard of! And some of those times, from good comedians! Users don’t even have to do anything special to gain access to that, they just open Twitter and read it. Free content shoots out like a firehose.
The dissemination of news, information, celeb gossip, teen quotes and platitudes via Twitter is arguably the most efficient method possible with current technology. The formerly mocked 140-character limit forces you to get to the point while also allowing you to broadcast to as many people that care to listen via literally any cellular phone you have access to. The concept of Twitter is genius, despite the initial plans for the platform by Twitter Inc.
There aren’t any conceivable threats to Twitter on the horizon, outside of its own self-destruction. People have tried, though. Ello flopped horrifically, App.net (the “pay upfront” Twitter-like) only wound up being used by the type of objectionable personalities who would actually pay for shit like that, and what was Peach again? I forgot. Don’t even think about Facebook, either .
Twitter as a platform will stick around a while. You’ve probably seen weirdos that still use vintage typewriters and Alphasmart keyboards — journalists, writers and comedians tend to get attached to what’s comfortable and works for them. Another platform intending to choreograph a mass exodus of content creators and personalities from Twitter is going to need something entirely new and more effective as a conveyor of information to get anywhere. It’s not going to be some platform with quirky video time restrictions or fun-for-a-few-minutes filters. To uproot Twitter’s base will require something two full steps ahead, and the idea just doesn’t exist yet.
Everyone knows what Twitter is, and having an account is almost a requirement to maintain public figures. And yet Twitter, Inc. as a company is totally lost. Usage is going down. If Twitter were a house, the basement would be sinking into the ground. Instead of fixing it by working on the foundation, they’re putting new stories on top of the house to try and stay above ground. Moments tab? Nobody likes Moments. No human on Earth will finally register for that Twitter thing they’d heard so much about based on the merits of the Moments tab. Moments is shit. I hate Moments. Never show the word Moments to me again.
Usage is down not because users are tired of Twitter as a concept, they’re tired of Twitter, Inc. making 5 bad moves for every good one. As frivolous new features haphazardly got thrown on top of the pile, Twitter, Inc. neglected to address the kinds of abuse and harassment that drove existing users away for good. The apps and web interface became slower and clunkier. Algorithmic feeds and 10,000-character limits are now said to be coming down the line. Everything that first made Twitter appealing is on the way out. If I didn’t know better, it would seem like they were trying to get rid of people.
It’s amazing to think that a company whose content is provided for free, who gets free mass advertising from basically every angle, and whose only real responsibility is to Not Break Itself can’t figure out how to be sustainable. The only thing Twitter has going for it in 2016 is the fact that many users will stick around for lack of a better alternative. Whether that’s months or years is anyone’s guess.
Do you have an alternative social media site?