The Death of Twitter A Eulogy, History and some other thoughts A Eulogy: Many will say this is too premature, however, I obviously disagree. I like Twitter, I’ve enjoyed Twitter; I’ve made many friends and had plenty of discussions on it. Somehow a small group of people have also gathered around what I say. But everything has its day, and everything comes to an end. It is at this moment, and likely in the future, the correct sentiment; that Twitter is dead. Or at least it lost alot of its magic. Between the anti-technology sentiment, the want for the new & novel, and those tired of politics & outrage - Twitter isn’t the same place as it use to be. I don’t say this with any glee, I, like many of you have spent far too much time on Twitter. It is a queer platform, an amalgam of sorts, one that is hard to define with labels. It was something different for all of us, and whatever it was to you or me, it became a community, a home for the dispossessed. Now the once mighty and strong home, is old, tired, and decrepit. The hollow husk isn’t what it once was. Crumbling and decaying before our eyes on life support it limps along. The following will be the rise and fall, where it went wrong. Rise Twitter began as all things do, humbly. It was, though, most don’t remember it as a text message service. Which then became a social media company, hence the 140 character limit. A rough community of early adopters formed. Over time people used it like facebook and catalogued their lives. First friends, and conference attendees then soon sub communities. People no longer catalogued their lives, they formed communities around topics. And this profoundly changed Twitter. No longer was it a social platform for strictly personal opinions it was a platforms for topics, hobbies and ideas. The Golden Age of Twitter The community aspect grew. For a number of reasons: You could be anonymous delving into topics and speaking your mind far more freely than on Facebook or other Social media at the time. Anon could mix with normie alike and it would be seamless. On Twitter the UI (at the time) was better than most forums. Finally it was far easier to find and interact with multiple groups and topics. The islands of communities and topics of the early 2000’s blogs and forums cannot be understated for the cause of growth for Twitter. Twitter aggregated many of these communities allowing a user to easily move between them seamlessly with minimal friction. The golden years for Twitter will be looked at as somewhere between 2011-2015. Despite only 10-20% of the American population (Worldwide 145 million) it seemed this percentage were the ones who were the most interesting, either by thoughts or actions. Twitter was the place where people could not only freely express their ideas, but cross pollinate as well. Twitter became the virtual coffee shop or cafe culture of old. It was better than the blogs for everything was in once place. But that would also be foreshadowing for some of it’s flaws. The Fall of Twitter Decline is just as murky, as its rise. For often it is a slow erosion rather than a cataclysmic drop. The two early shifts that come to mind are Gamergate and Justine Sacko. Both social media cancelations that forever changed the nature of Internet culture. The most obvious drop, was in 2015. In 2015 Twitter had a chance to “pivot” and radically alter the platform, making it something far greater than just simple messaging with Periscope. Twitter could have went from a microblogging platform to a micro-content platform. It, however, did nothing, riding high from the surge of growth from the then current US Presidential Election. They let the platform languish in pain, like a pet owner in denial. This would be come apparent as the 2016 election rolled on. Periscope was and still is janky at best. Now with roughly the equivalent features now built into most other social media platforms, people looked at Twitter as dragging its heels regarding features. Chinese microblogging services were and still are a decade or two ahead of the West. Micropayments being the most obvious, and yet there is no Square integration despite Dorsey running both companies. Twitter don’t feel like a multibillion dollar company when you use it, but a beta version startup. The 2015-2016 Election was no doubt a shot in the arm for Twitter. Donald Trump using it as his own personal megaphone. Making tweets headlines everyday. Brexit decided the fate of a Nation. Twitter was fun during these times. But it was fun if you played into the divisiveness. If you were willing to go along for the ride. Yet it perhaps was it was a poisoned chalice. If you weren’t willing to play into the increasing divisiveness, it was a platform of fiery rhetoric with much less discussion. Twitter also became looked at as an important platform, perhaps the most important platform during this time. Labeled the “Public Square” and other euphemisms. Twitter was the meta platform. The community aggregator. Being banned on Twitter was akin to being memory-holed, becoming no one again. Losing not only your community, but also your voice as-well; a fact, which have caused courts and regulators to take notice. Twitter’s killer feature was its network effect of communities. In short its discoverability. By banning or “deplatforming” individuals with large audiences, Twitter was and is slowly strangling its golden goose. Removing the major nodes that helped connect the various communities together. By removing those links, people become stranded and isolated. Doing so makes communities become stagnant and people leave for greener pastures. From the divisive politics and culture, to the janky and slow to improve features. Twitter isn’t what it was. Perhaps Twitter died when it doubled of the character count to 280. Historians or someone writing a book will put an actual date on the fall of Twitter. I’d say its fall is multi-causal. Not the sexiest answer; perhaps a cop out, but when has life ever been cut and dry? The Next Social Media Platform The nest social media platform won’t be a clone. Gab, Parlour etc will be lucky if they make it into the history books. Why? Because they provide nothing substantially new. People want a new way to interact with the World, a new way to interface with it, not a slight variation on something they’ve already tried; TikTok has proven that. Each successful social media platform has provided a new interaction or lens on the world. Facebook is community, Snapchat is ephemerality, Instagram is visually, Twitter is textually, TikTok is musically. What comes next will be a new way to interact, and interface with your friends, community, and the world in general. Twitter will die the death of Facebook. A slow fade into irrelevancy. More people will be banned, words, & hashtags censored and it’ll be more hassle to post to an ever shrinking audience. It will become further filled with scammers, grifters, and bots. The Noise to Signal ratio will continue to increase increasing the friction to use the platform. The Internet is regressing back to private communities. Balkanizing into their own distinct tribes. Discord, Telegram, and even this Substack is apart of this trend. It may be possible Twitter is the last aggregate social media platform. But not likely. There will always be a need for an aggregator, a place where people go to find new members. For it is much easier to leave a Telegram or Discord group than to join one. Search & Discoverability are what make both the Internet & Social Media great. Without them everyone is limited to what they know. For now that’s Twitter. It’ll die like the most the saddest of friendships. Not with a bang, or a whimper, but silently forgotten. .