Twitter: I am done.
The hopeless management of Twitter following its $44bn purchase by entrepreneur Elon Musk has made the platform unstable and the service unusable.
I joined Twitter in April 2009 and found it to be one of the most worthwhile social media networks that I ever joined.
It’s value in delivering immediate news was first highlighted to me on 24 June 2010 when Kevin Rudd, the prime minister of Australia, was challenged by Julia Gillard, the deputy prime minister for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party. It was Twitter that first alerted me to this story. I recall reading the news in sheer disbelief and I recall running into the next room and switching on the ABC’s Lateline programme only to discover that it was all true.
Back then, Twitter was described as a “microblogging” platform at a time when the world was going crazy for blogs. The key part of this was that the tweets were public and could be read by anyone. Sure, you’d need to sign-in to comment but anyone could have a look at what you were up to. That feature made Twitter and ABC current affairs show Q&A such a good match. Getting that immediate and interactive audience response to the panel discussion was fantastic.
Unfortunately Twitter has become a fiasco since Elon Musk took it over. Decisions about the company’s operations have been made in haste without much thought for the consequences.
I have been publishing my tweets on my website since about 2012, but that all came to a sudden halt a couple of months ago when Twitter’s API was abruptly shut-off to ‘free’ users. It was reinstated a few weeks later, which is why you can see them again, but this was a silly move that broke a lot of third-party apps.
But now Musk has introduced bizarre “rate limits” and decided that tweets will no longer be public. To see someone’s Twitter feed, one must have an account and be logged-in. This really does defeat the purpose of the platform.
The nasty manner in which thousands of staff were sacked, the dismantling of content moderation, the undermining of the “blue tick” verification, the encouragement of bigotry, the reduced reliability of the platform and the sudden revocation of API access were bad enough. But to have the public locked-out is the final straw. I am just about done.
I liked Twitter. The interactions that I had, both personal and professional were enriching and positive. I enjoyed the debate, the professional networking and the news tips. All of this will be missed.
Twitter was an innovator too; it was Twitter that gave us the “hashtag”. For the past 15 years, Twitter has been a cultural phenomenon. It really did feel like the world’s “town square”.
Sadly, there is no real practical alternative for Twitter that I can identify. I will keep my account for now, but I don’t think I will be posting anything there anymore unless something really significant changes.
It’s a sad day.