Marisa Kabas, who like me suffers a purgatory from Twitter after a name change on March 31, published an article about the logistics and emotions of finding a suitable online home, now that Twitter is dying. Substack notes, Post, Mastodon, and now Bluesky all had hype, and all siphoned off a few users, but none have hit critical mass. As Kabas points out, most of those who have jumped still post screenshots on Twitter.
While some were bold enough to actually jump, many of us straddled two ships, hoping Twitter would somehow figure it’s shit out or one of these new enterprises would prove buoyant enough to sustain into the future. But as we realized Twitter wasn’t going to simply explode one day, but rather sink inch by inch, we had a choice in front of us: do we give another network a shot, or keep sinking and hope something better comes along?
Kabas’ article is worth the read, and I have other thoughts. Twitter, like Asgard in the best Thor movie, isn’t a place it’s a people. I’ve read a dozen articles now explaining network effect and how it made Twitter.
Substack notes, Post, Mastodon, Tumblr, and many others have the technical architecture needed to replace Twitter. The problem is Twitter users didn’t all migrate to one place, cloning precisely who we followed. As many of us white knuckled Twitter, we dipped a toe into Mastodon, or tried to use Tumblr, but not all.
Twitter’s network for me meant that I could vet people by who they knew. If I saw a Tweet from someone claiming to be a doctor, seeing that they were followed by several doctors I know added credibility to their claim. For a true Twitter clone, I don’t just need my network, I need everyone else’s.
I was pessimistic about Twitter very early post acquisition, and while those Tweets are inaccessible due to my purgatory, many told me I was wrong. Most people assumed that Elon Musk wanted to make money and had a rational approach to making money. Look at the glitchy mess of Twitter, and tell me it’s not worse since Musk took over.
The problem isn’t the lack of options. But getting many disparate groups to all evacuate at once to a single new place, where they assume the exact same life they had before never happens.
Twitter will mostly die. For a time bird website will limp on like Tumblr and Digg. Later it will end like Yik Yak and Google+.