Showing all posts tagged: twitter

Arrivals offset departures as Twitter exodus seems to pause

18 February 2023

Elon Musk’s arrival at Twitter last October sparked a stampede for the doors, as members worried about where Musk might take the platform. But surprisingly, departures have been matched by arrivals, says Sarah Perez, writing for Techcrunch:

Worldwide mobile app installs are up by 3.7 million in January compared with September 2022. Notably, Twitter installs didn’t decline in November. Instead, it gained new downloads even as some of its users seemingly left for other apps. In other words, any Twitter exodus may have been offset by new Twitter arrivals. Active user data would tell a better story here, but Twitter is no longer a publicly traded company and it’s not clear that Musk is analyzing user data as Twitter had before, which would allow for a direct comparison. But his claims of a burst of November signups could be directionally true, as the month saw higher app installs than October.

There’s also the point that long term Twitter members, despite their disillusionment with the present direction of the platform, have a lot invested in the microblogging service.

Many have spent years, decades possibly, establishing a profile on Twitter, and wouldn’t be in any hurry to leave. Despite the uptake in alternatives, such as Mastodon, there’s still, I think, the hope among some Twitter members that things will eventually return to normal, or some semblance of normal.

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#BookTwitter and other Twitter communities fear for future

4 February 2023

For years now book aficionados, publishers, and literary agents, have been convening on #BookTwitter, a community similar to Instagram’s #Bookstagram posse of book lovers.

Like many other Twitter groups though, #BookTwitter’s future hangs in the balance, subject to the fickle whims of the social networking service’s present regime, leaving members concerned they’ll wake up one day and find it gone, along with Twitter itself:

The recent chaos at Twitter has left many communities on the platform wondering — what happens if we wake up tomorrow and the lights are off for good? One such community is “Book Twitter,” made up of writers, editors, agents, booksellers, publishers, literary organizations, and everyone in between. Recently, notable authors like John Green and Sarah MacLean have joined other prominent voices in either deleting or indefinitely locking their accounts, leaving many fearful that a slow bleed of influential players will eventually lead to the community’s demise — if Twitter’s code doesn’t blow up first.

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Not moving to Canada or Mastodon, I’ve been on Twitter too long

9 January 2023

Josh Nicholas, writing for The Guardian, about a recent decline in active members on social network Mastodon:

The number of active users on the Mastodon social network has dropped more than 30% since the peak and is continuing a slow decline, according to the latest data posted on its website. There were about 1.8 million active users in the first week of January, down from over 2.5 million in early December.

Aside from grumbles about Mastodon being difficult to use, I think a lot of people are wary of having to start over again somewhere else. If Twitter had ceased to exist, gone off-line, members who wished to remain active on a micro-blogging service would have no choice but to find a new platform, but that hasn’t (yet) been the case.

I joined Twitter in 2007, as did many of the people who follow me. Today some of those people have tens of thousands of followers, something that would’ve entailed considerable time and effort to achieve. The prospect of leaving that behind, and rebuilding their following on another service, would be daunting.

Despite Mastodon experiencing a growth surge in recent months, and making headlines in the process, membership peaked at about two and a half million accounts in December 2022. This compared to Twitter’s 368 million monthly active users at the same time. Some people moved on, but plenty stayed back.

Anyone then looking to start again would have found barely any of their Twitter followers on Mastodon, rendering a move questionable. So much for the Twitter members who threatened to depart, to “move to Canada” so to speak, after Elon Musk assumed ownership. In the same way some Americans, unhappy with the prospect of Donald Trump becoming U.S. President, declared they would migrate to Canada, in the event he won office. Ultimately few, if any, made the move.

While some Twitter users might have gone to Mastodon, or another micro-blogging service, or left social media behind all together, their numbers were limited by the looks of it. Staying on, rather than starting from scratch, turned out to be more appealing. Twitter had a way of retaining members, sitting — out of sight — up its sleeve, all along.

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Should Elon Musk step down as Twitter head? VOTE NOW

19 December 2022

Twitter boss Musk is conducting another of his famous polls. This time he is asking Twitter members whether he should step down as head of the social media service. He says he will accept a YES outcome, should that happen. We’ll see. Meantime, go ahead and vote, though I hate to think what will happen to anyone who votes yes… they’ll probably be banned from Twitter for life.

The poll closes at about 10PM this evening AEST.

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Will 4000 character tweets be the end of Twitter as a micro-blogging platform?

12 December 2022

In Twitter’s early days, the original one-hundred-and-forty character limit per tweet was a test of a micro-blogger’s ability to be succinct yet informative. It may have been harsh, but the more you thought about the seemingly restrictive limit, the easier it became to craft compelling tweets. One-hundred-and-forty characters forced users to be to the point, and not waste a single character in doing so.

But the increase, across most languages, to two-hundred-and-eighty characters, in November 2017, seemed like the striking of a happy balance. Twitter still felt like a micro-blogging platform, while giving members a little more latitude in their tweets.

Then last winter it was reported Twitter was trialling a notes function. Members would have been able to append a text file — containing two-thousand-five-hundred words — to a tweet. That seemed liked a sensible idea, as I wrote in June. People without a website or blog, would be able to make Twitter the focus of their web presence, without having to get involved in the effort of maintaining a website. And anyone who didn’t want to read what was effectively a two-thousand-five-hundred word tweet, could simply scroll through to the next item in their feed.

News today of a proposed four-thousand character limit doesn’t mean people still can’t skip past any tweet they don’t want to read. But it is a game changer. Yet the real question is: why is this happening in the first place? To increase user engagement? Of that, I’m not sure. For me Twitter has always been a place where I can scan the main feed looking for stories of interest. And if something takes my interest, I can click through for more on the story, by way of the embedded link in the tweet.

And what of interactions with other users? A two-hundred-and-eighty character tweet limit surely helped keep conversations ticking over. How will discussion fare now people can make sprawling contributions to the discourse? Will anyone hang around to read whatever is tweeted?

One thing is certain, if the four-thousand character tweet limit is adopted, Twitter will cease being a micro-blogging platform — which is what made it so popular in the first place — and become something else altogether.

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Twitter 2.0 is not a start-up much as Elon Musk likes to believe it

25 November 2022

Tegan Jones, writing at Crikey, on Twitter owner Elon Musk’s… vision of the social media service being some sort of start-up, as of the minute he assumed control. Twitter was established in 2006, so we might be a little passed the development phase of the operation by now, no?

So no, Musk isn’t asking more of his remaining employees simply to improve the platform or make up for past financial woes. And it’s certainly not about overcoming the odds to build something together to change the world, which is oftentimes the north star of young start-ups. These employees are being asked, and in some cases coerced due to lack of options, to dedicate their lives to pay off a billionaire’s offensively large debt on a vanity project he didn’t even want. That is not start-up culture.

Despite Musk’s philanthropy, his wealth and privilege has bestowed him with a singular outlook of the world. While it’s unlikely he has much in the way of home duties, or family obligations — at least that’s the impression created — he could easily afford to outsource them anyway. Other Twitter employees are unlikely to be so fortunate. Instead, they’re simply expected to be hard core, and work until all hours of the night. Or be fired. Awesome.

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Elon Musk shares whiteboard outline of Twitter 2.0

20 November 2022

Jason Cartwright, writing for TechAU, analyses a whiteboard image posted by Elon Musk following the recent contentious Twitter HQ code review. Long story short, coders who failed to attend would no longer be regarded as Twitter employees. Following the meeting though, Musk shared outlines of plans to rebuild the social media service’s platform, which is being dubbed Twitter 2.0:

It’s rare to see content from inside the company, especially anything to do with current and future development items. While Musk has hinted at potential improvements to the platform, the whiteboard photo does reveal some more information.

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Jack Dorsey regrets role via Twitter in centralising internet

19 November 2022

As Twitter teeters on the brink of collapse (I think there’s a lot of us hoping it pulls through though) founder Jack Dorsey, in a tweet from April this year (preserved here for posterity should the worst happen), says he feels partly to blame for the present centralised state of the internet:

the days of usenet, irc, the web…even email (w PGP)…were amazing. centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet. I realize I’m partially to blame, and regret it.

Twitter’s only part of this centralised “problem” though. Other giant tech companies, Google, Amazon, among many others, have also played a role. Nonetheless, I imagine some of us see an upside. As for Twitter’s woes? Maybe owner/operator Elon Musk ought to consider stepping aside from day to day management of the company, and leave it to better qualified people?

Yep, I can see that happening.

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Reports of the death of social media are greatly exaggerated maybe

14 November 2022

Ian Bogost writing for The Atlantic:

It’s over. Facebook is in decline, Twitter in chaos. Mark Zuckerberg’s empire has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in value and laid off 11,000 people, with its ad business in peril and its metaverse fantasy in irons. Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has caused advertisers to pull spending and power users to shun the platform (or at least to tweet a lot about doing so). It’s never felt more plausible that the age of social media might end — and soon.

The question is, what do we do next, if we don’t have social media? Go back to meaningful face-to-face interactions? What do content producers, who enjoy self-publishing do? Print a zine? I’m not sure that social media is about to disappear, even if some of the bigger players are having some trouble. Still, Bogost makes some salient points.

As I’ve written before on this subject, people just aren’t meant to talk to one another this much. They shouldn’t have that much to say, they shouldn’t expect to receive such a large audience for that expression, and they shouldn’t suppose a right to comment or rejoinder for every thought or notion either.

People have been over-talking since people could first talk. Ditto expecting a large audience for their rants. Social media only amplified the voice of these over-talkers. On the upside, anyone we don’t want to listen to can easily be ignored, blocked. Try doing that to an over-talker you don’t want to listen to at a family gathering.

Social media might not be about to roll over and die, but it is at a turning point. Yet as Twitter’s implosion shows, people are not quite ready to walk away from connecting online. Membership of Twitter alternative, Mastodon, has spiked in recent weeks. Billing itself as a social network, rather than a social media service, it has become a sanctuary for people seeking a place where they can hear themselves think.

Presently there are few brands, and — better still — influencers, and possibly over-talkers, on Mastodon. That some servers, or instances, forbid commercial accounts, helps in this regard. Instances are either owner funded, or member supported, meaning they don’t need advertising revenue to survive. Perhaps this means there’ll be more signal and less noise, but only time will tell.

If social media is about content creation and publishing to the widest possible audience, then social networking is about forging more meaningful connections with those in your network. No doubt some will welcome the demise of certain social media channels, but if the migration to Mastodon is any indication, people are still looking to connect online with others, both known and unknown. Or maybe a whole lot of us simply want to be part of the next (sort of) big thing. Only time will tell.

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Rocket science may be rocket science but Twitter is something else

5 November 2022

American author Robin Sloan’s thoughts — written in April of this year — couldn’t describe the Musk acquisition of Twitter any more succinctly:

An industrialist might soon purchase Twitter, Inc. His substantial success launching reusable spaceships does nothing to prepare him for the challenge of building social spaces. The latter calls on every liberal art at once, while the former is just rocket science.

I don’t know that rocket science is just rocket science, especially reusable rocket science, but running a social network, particularly one the size of Twitter, has to be another matter all together.

Via Clive Thompson.

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