Twitter is a useful tool, but is it a necessity? What would the world look like without it?
I remember when Twitter first emerged. A friend who was an early adopter first told me about it. He saw the role it would take far earlier than anyone else I knew. I admittedly didn’t understand Twitter then, although I came to value its place in the media landscape later.
I created my profile and started to use the platform semi-regularly, but Twitter never became the centerpiece of my digital lifestyle. I found it a quick way to get some information, but I could generally get that same information from other sources. To me, Twitter never achieved the value of Google or other services available online.
Twitter has been the centerpiece of celebrity access to fans, circumventing traditional news and entertainment sources. It’s the logical successor for the open-publishing aspect of the web, but its only real value is that it amasses an audience and generated reach.
But reach is not the sole domain of Twitter. Many other platforms have been able to aggregate reach, and others will rise over the next few years. And reach is ultimately not a competitive advantage, since it can be replaced quickly. Just ask Infoseek and Alta Vista, or MySpace and Friendster.
The core of the question is, does a platform like Twitter have value in the ecosystem of news and entertainment when it becomes the focal point of the news, with its own entertainment value?
Elon Musk has made Twitter’s business the story, and in doing so is taking away from the usefulness of the platform itself. He is also doing so in a very public way, which was not necessary. He could have made the desired changes behind closed doors and simply looked to see how they worked, or didn’t. Instead, he has turned Twitter into a farce, and the audience, the advertisers and the people involved with the business are not happy.
Social media is here to stay, for better and oftentimes for worse. The internet is a self-publishing vehicle and anyone with a computer and a brain can create content. If Twitter were to turn off tomorrow, something else would inevitably emerge to take its place.
What Musk has failed to understand is that digital media is not permanent. The habits of your users will change, and they will move on to newer platforms that exhibit a new value.
Musk speaks of Twitter as a necessary platform to further free speech, but many of his very decisions are counter to that ideal.
Twitter has made it easier to shine a light on the thoughts of many and created a discourse that the world needed to have, but it’s not a requirement for the ongoing evolution of the human race. I think we will do just fine without it.
So I ask again: Does the world really need Twitter?
It's amazing that MP continues to present Musk as failing while ignorning that Twitter has increased subscribers during his tenure. Secondly, comments like "its only real value is that it amasses an audience and generated reach" and an assumption that Twitter must compete with "news and entertainment" is off-base.
There's value to individuals and organizations putting out information, thoughts, opinion, news, updates without being filter through bias outlets - which is what Twitter is supposed to be. It is also odd that MP continually ignores all of the documents Musk has released that proves Twitter was shadowbanning and blocking individuals who were not in violation of Twitter TOS, and where employees admitted reasons of political ideologies when blocking individuals and stories that did not align with their own beliefs.
MP can keep rooting against Twitter, but at least try to be objective if you're going to cover the outlet.
You are pretty upset about my column, Dan. I am sorry to hear that. If it makes you feel any better, I do not coordinate my column with the rest of the editorial staff at Mediapost. What i write is my personal opinion, which works well in a column such as this one. I have been writing in that fashion for 23 years.
Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion, and I am happy that you are able to voice yours in the comments as well. Have a good holiday!
And to be clear, I am a supporter of anyone being able to voice their opinion. I just think Twitter has run its course and some other platform could step in at some point. Just ask MySpace.
Good point Cory. I'll check in to Second Life to see if anyone knows how MySpace is getting along.