Twitter’s death might be the end of social media for me – Apps-and-software

I have a very dire feeling about what will happen to my online existence if Twitter goes down the toilet under Elon Musk’s ownership.

For more than a decade, Twitter has been my go-to source for, well, everything on the internet. It’s how I found new friends. It’s how I got jobs, including this one. It’s even how I met both of my roommates and got into a great living situation with them. Most importantly, it’s been my general portal to the news of the world and my friends’ thoughts and feelings about said news.

But after Musk bought the site for much, much more than it’s worth, laid off thousands of people right before the holidays (illegally), and blamed anti-free speech activists for declining revenues, I don’t feel like the site I’ve loved for so long is going to be usable for much longer. 

Whether Twitter dies next month or three years from now, one fact remains: I may be left as a digital ronin with nowhere to go due to a serious lack of feasible alternatives.

Staring online death in the face

I’m old enough that I’ve been through this with social media several times already. I used Xanga (an ancient blogging platform) until it fell out of favor because MySpace was better. Then, MySpace (which crumbled under News Corp. ownership) gave way to Facebook, which (for my friends and I, anyway) eventually cleared the floor for Twitter.

Every social network has a half-life; when sites start losing users, it’s typically the beginning of the end. You’ll never, ever win those people back.

To no one’s surprise, Twitter is losing users. Whether this is directly attributable to Musk’s takeover or not, my follower count is declining and several of my mutuals have spent the last few days posting links to their profiles on other sites like Mastodon or Co-Host. Hell, even Tumblr is making a bit of a comeback among my online pals.

For those of us still on Twitter, it feels like we’re on the deck of the Titanic. Some folks are using this as an opportunity to be maximum chaotic, while others (me) are just trying to cherish the platform while it lasts. Like I said, I’ve been through this before, but there’s just one glaring problem this time: I have no idea where I’m going to go.

Masto-what now?

Naturally, my Twitter timeline has been full of discourse about where to go next. Mastodon, Co-Host, TikTok, and whatever the hell else have all come up as suggestions and they all share the same problem: They aren’t Twitter.

There is no other site that replicates the Twitter experience or even comes close, full stop. Twitter is a public town square where every post by every user has equal weight. A certain former president can announce policy decisions on Twitter and those posts have to live in the same place as my musings about lunch. And when the timeline becomes exhausting, I can just retreat into the DMs, a beautiful haven for degeneracy. 

Nothing else is like it. Mastodon tries, but it’s decentralized, meaning not every post lives in the same place. Listening to people talk about Mastodon reminds me of every time someone has tried to explain Linux to me. It’s just not going to happen. Co-Host’s main feed works like Twitter, but it’s still very primordial, so there’s no mobile app and no DMs right now. Discord is a private chat room; Tumblr is a repository for Sherlock gifs where having an actual conversation is way too difficult; and Facebook isn’t fit for young people anymore.

There has only ever been one Twitter. We may never get another site where goofy-ass riffs on old ESPN shows can go as viral as policy declarations by the president. One time Twitter forced Pitbull to perform in a remote town in Alaska. We’ve achieved amazing things there over the years. 

My only hope is that Twitter lasts long enough for someone, anyone to come up with a real alternative.

This content was originally published here.