I recently published a short essay in the Dirt newsletter about how using the internet is becoming more like watching TV, with TikTok as the main vector of that transition. Implicit in the piece was the possibility that the social media era as we know it—Web 2.0, if you will—has entered its twilight years (and not because “Web3” is replacing it). One of that era’s definitive narratives was the dichotomy of Facebook and Twitter, which launched in 2004 and 2006 respectively, survived the transition to mobile, and remain relevant today. Unlike social networks that came later, both are deeply associated with the millennial generation. Both have also been consistently reviled by user bases that felt trapped within them and subject to unwanted changes. In their own distinct ways, Facebook and Twitter are both notorious for narrowing their users’ perspectives and exaggerating the apparent urgency of everything—so interpret the following accordingly—but the past few days have felt like the commencement of each company’s final act: Facebook (ok, Meta) announced massive losses on its metaverse initiative, intensifying skepticism that the metaverse will ever work or that anyone wants it. Twitter, meanwhile, was finally seized by Elon Musk, who may just be doing it for laffs but might also drastically change it or somehow destroy it completely. Both situations have been brewing for a while but culminated this week, affirming the two companies’ eternal entanglement.
I have to believe most of the users calling for Twitter to implode are doing so performatively.
No real replacement? Find some subreddit, join a Discord server—most people I know aren't deleting their Twitter account, but they're migrating back to Tumblr or whatever isn't algorithmically shoving stupid down their feeds