I’ve been preparing for Twitter’s demise for seven years, but I didn’t see ‘X’ coming.
I’ve been preparing for the end of Twitter since 2016, when Twitter was struggling with some financial issues and the future was uncertain. I pondered what would happen of Twitter went away suddenly.
Which got me thinking, what if we woke up one morning and Twitter was gone. Or more likely, what if Twitter changed so radically, that it was unusable?
I’m more concerned that Twitter, or a company that buys Twitter, will change it so completely, that it becomes useless.
Fast forward a little over a year later. Twitter’s financial issues were less dire, but they were struggling with flat user growth, coupled with a rise in abuse and hate on the platform.
As Twitter tries to jumpstart the service, I still believe the likelihood of Twitter imploding within the next few years is high.
When Elon Musk bought Twitter, I assumed he’d shake things up, but I was concerned about the direction he would take Twitter in. I wrote a third Twitterless post to recap the changes that I’d made to deal with the hypothetical demise of Twitter.
If Twitter ceases to be enjoyable, I’ll leave. To be honest, I’ll miss it. I joined in 2008 and 14 years is a long time to use any service. It’s part of my daily routine. At the end of the day, though, if a service isn’t making my life better, I’m better off without it.
Once Twitter abruptly cut off third party clients, my Twitter usage dropped dramatically. I was a Twitteriffic user for over a decade, and it was obvious from the way he handled that situation that Elon Musk’s Twitter wasn’t going to be what I wanted. I moved on.2
Now, he’s changing the name of Twitter to X. I always assumed that someone would buy Twitter for the brand equity and change the service to make it more profitable. Instead, Musk changed the service and destroyed an iconic brand, all while making it less profitable.
I am going to miss Twitter. I’ve mostly enjoyed it over the years. I care enough about my own tweet history, that earlier this year, when Manton offered a way to import all of my Twitter history, I moved 15 years worth of tweets into a searchable database hosted here on Micro.Blog. I don’t know what I’ll use it for, but I do like having it.
I feel like I’ve prepared adequately for the Twitter apocalypse, but there is one area in particular where the loss of Twitter will still hurt. A common thread through all three Twitterless posts was a lament that there aren’t other services optimized for following breaking news or live events. This is still true. Maybe Threads,3 Bluesky or Mastodon can step in, but until then, I’ll miss Twitter most when watching a sporting event, an Apple keynote or following a local news story. For the last few months, I’ve been viewing Twitter to check in during big events, but the time has come to move on.
Twitter is finally dead.
Bob Wertz is a creative director, type designer, Ph.D. student and researcher living in Columbia, South Carolina.