Twitter is Dead, Long Live Social Media

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Le Roi est Mort, longue vie au Roi (article) is a popular phrase in French. It signifies that if the king died royalty would continue and he would quickly be succeeded. Social media has just entered a new age, I believe. Twitter, Facebook and other giants have grown too big, and algorithms have destroyed the sense of community. That an individual could buy Twitter, and affect it’s political leaning has affected people’s perception of Twitter.

People have reverted back to Facebook, moved on to Mastodon and more. People have reopened their eyes and are ready to try new social networks once again. This is a good situation to be in. According to one calculation Musk has valued each Twitter at 167 dollars. (If we assume 44 billion divided by 250 million).

The problem with social networks is that their value comes from two places. The first of these is the user community. Social networks have value because they have people coming back day after day for months of years, and conversing with each other. Instagram lost its value when it was bought by Facebook, ads were added, and influencers. rather than friends of friends appeared in timelines. A social network is about friendships. Instagram became a glossy magazine so I stopped using it.

Social networks are dependent on their users but they are also dependent on the programmers that are working on them. To set up a twitter clone on a small scale takes about two hours if you use the Laravel framework. I know, because that’s what I did twice this weekend. The challenge is in scaling up, and that’s why Twitter had teams of engineers working on various aspects of the platform. By scuttling the engineering teams Musk has removed the people with the skills and experience to prevent the website from collapsing under its own weight. When React or some other framework updates their code Twitter will struggle to keep up, and that’s when I expect it to collapse.

While Twitter fights for its survival other networks are grabbing the opportunity to grow. Mastadon is growing, is growing, Facebook might see some people reverting to their network.

The discussion has shifted from the Open Graph as Zuckerberg called it to ActivityPub. The current area of focus for many is to create a syndicated/federated network of networks where people communicate with each other across platforms and websites.

We used to transfer our contacts and other information from one platform to another when we joined a new network. Now the idea is to share that data between websites in real time. I look forward to a more diverse social media landscape. I look forward to a more resilient network of social networks, where one individual cannot buy an entire social network on a whim, and destroy it.

Those that agreed to sell Twitter now have billions in their pockets, but in the process they have allowed Twitter to be destroyed. Websites such as twitter should be turned into organisations, for encouraging thought and discussion on an international scale.

I don’t want to be part of Twitter now. I’m tired of social media. That’s why I am blogging again. I want to invest my “social” time into something constructive. The development of thoughts and ideas, through the writing of blog posts.


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