When it comes to Twitter, now where do we begin? Personally, I have been on the platform for about 12 years. I have seen and experienced the ups and downs of the platform but nothing prepared me for what is happening on one of the major social media sites. It seems like there’s always a new thing being done to the site repeatedly. I mean, give me a break, will you? This writing will be purely from the perspective of a Twitter user. Having said that, I’ll not dive much into the entrepreneurial and business side of it. Okay, let’s dive into this storm.
The whole Twitter (unfortunate) beginning started on October 27, 2022, when the founder of SpaceX decided to buy the said company. A lot of things happened in between such as the back-and-forth sue and countersue between Musk and Twitter. In simple terms, imagine someone agrees and promises to buy your product but then again he or she hesitated whether or not to proceed. One day it’s, “Cool, I’ll buy it” and the next day it’s like, “Nope! Not interested. There’s too many issues”. In the end, both parties came to an agreement and Musk went on to become the owner and CEO of Twitter.
The Storm Started
Only a day after the takeover Musk promptly fired several key executives, the CFO, the General Counsel and a bunch of other workers (p/s: a total of 200 employees according to news outlets).
In November of the same year, merely a few days after the takeover, he introduced Twitter Blue and the site became nuts. To understand why it went crazy, you have to understand how Twitter’s blue checkmark used to work. The blue checkmark was used as a verification. It simply means that your profile is of public interest and authentic. To get one, you have to send an application and if you meet the requirements you will get the badge. I do not have the verification mark but from my observation, it’s not an easy process since you need a large number of followers. After Musk’s takeover? You can buy the badge for $7.99 per month. Now everyone can fly. Oh sorry, wrong tagline. Now everyone can be verified.
This yields a new problem because initially, the badge differentiates between authentic and trustworthy accounts and the other non-active and potentially fake accounts. Like this one below:
The account above is obviously a parody one. But when I first stumbled across it and looked at the profile photo I really thought that it was Elon Musk’s account because that was his photo that he had been using for the longest time.
Many of my verified Twitter friends and big accounts were stripped of their blue checkmarks. At this point in time, I already felt reluctant to use the site because I could not differentiate reliable accounts at all. The best that I could do was/is to ‘like’ the tweets from past reliable accounts so that my timeline’s algorithm would/will not be flooded with nonsense.
I thought the whole fiasco would just stop there. But boy, I was so wrong. Somewhere around July this year, my timeline was flooded with users and friends who tweeted that they could not view tweets. In short, Twitter put some sort of (paywall) barriers for users to view tweets. This angered almost everyone on the platform.
Now this is where Mark Zuckerberg decided to slide in and introduced Meta’s Threads in August. It was reported that this new feature gained 100 million sign-ups in just five days since the initial date of its launch.
In order to use Thread, you have to have an existing Instagram account. It is sort of embedded together. Disclaimer: I do not have a Thread but from what my friends told me, it works pretty similarly to Twitter where you can retweet posts. So people flocked there and decided that it isn’t as fun as Twitter hence, Thread lost half of its subscribers within a month after the launch. Yikes!
The Storm Is Now A Cyclone
I wish I could stop writing here. I really do. But no. In July 2023 Musk decided to rebrand Twitter to X. The new domain is x.com and the old logo is changed into an X logo. Musk confirmed it in a Space session. But that wasn’t the end of it. Since the name has been changed, the official X account’s name also should change accordingly. On 26th July, PopCrave tweeted that the original owner of the username received an email from Twitter/X that his/her username will be taken from him and in return he was offered free merchandise from the company and the chance to meet the management. Uh…what?
The tale continues a few days after Popcrave’s tweet shown above. It’s 29th July, to be exact. This time Elon Musk himself tweeted a short video of the new Twitter/X logo on top of the headquarter in San Francisco.
On the same day users were also informed that the word ‘Tweet’ would be replaced with ‘Post’, ‘Retweet’ is to be ‘Repost’ and ‘Quote Tweet’ is now just a boring ‘Quote’. And just like that the legacy of this social media/news outlet is ended.
On 31st July, it was reported that the new tagline for X is ‘Blaze your glory!’. In the past, the tagline used to be ‘Let’s Talk’. According to Musk, the new tagline is declarative and a reminder of an 80’s rock band. Personally, although I was born in the ’80s, the tagline doesn’t make sense at all. But okay. Sure.
You must have thought that I would stop here, right? Oh no. Not yet but I’m almost done. On 1st August 2023, the aforementioned sign from San Francisco’s HQ was taken down. This is due to complaints lodged by neighbours who were concerned about the structural safety and the (probably annoying) blaring lights coming from the logo. In short, the logo was there for only 3 days.
Writing this piece is one hell of a ride. It’s fun and entertaining at some point but in retrospect, I kinda feel sad because Twitter/X used to be (and still is) my choice of social media. I do not use TikTok because I was afraid of what it might do to my attention span. I like to read but Facebook wouldn’t be my choice because the crowd there has somewhat strikingly different personalities than me. And Instagram? I only use it to watch cooking and makeup videos. So what I do now is I pray daily that some Twitter billionaire junkie would buy the company from Musk and restore our original and beloved Twitter.