Digital Editor Cara-Louise Scott discusses the potential downfall of Twitter due to Elon Musk taking over
I have only been using Twitter for the past few months and it has already been a useful tool for connecting with other journalists and learning more about the world around me. I downloaded Twitter because my mentor told me that was how to forge contacts in the journalism world; she couldn’t hide her shock that the only social media her 20-year-old mentee had was Snapchat and Facebook, not even Instagram or TikTok, which everyone seemed to have these days. So, I arrived into the world of Twitter quite unsure of what to make of it – but I very quickly grew in love with this app that allowed me to voice my opinions, share my articles and connect with other journalists.
For journalists, Twitter is the place where we can find other people in the industry to look up to, get advice from them through their Tweets and become more aware of issues going on around us. It is also a place you can ask for requests for opinions and interviews, and for me, it seems like mostly everyone is happy to help out young journalists.
However, I have seen countless journalists worry on their Tweets over twitter dying, because if twitter dies, how will they be able to reach many of their contacts? How will they be able to reach out for opinions? How will they know when and what publications to pitch to? Twitter is a newsroom, it is a source of breaking news for the public for terrorist attacks, disasters and uproar – even if the news isn’t always trustworthy. But journalists are tied to the platform in many ways for announcements by politicians and celebrities, just as much as they are for their contacts. Yet, since Elon Musk, has taken over, I question how long Twitter will last as a big powerhouse in the social media world.
It has been one month since Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, took over Twitter. In that time he has given remaining staff members a ‘cryptic ultimatum’, reinstated the accounts of controversial figures, such as Donald Trump, and has launched a plan to charge for Twitter’s blue checks. If this wasn’t enough, he has fired the former CEO and made himself the CEO and sole director of the platform, as well as somehow reducing Twitter’s overall headcount by roughly 50% in the span of just a few days. His ultimatum was that they had to do ‘extremely hard-core’ work or leave the
company with severance pay. As such, there has been a big drop in revenue on brands pausing their advertising on the social media network as the civil society organisations has raised a concern over the direction of the company under Musk.
Musk himself is a right-wing radical; he brought Twitter ‘to help humanity. It is important to the future of civilization to have a virtue town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.’ But Twitter can be toxic. For over four years, Americans had to put up with Donald Trump who used Twitter to be offensive and propel fake news, following his 2020 election. Words can very much lead to violence.
But despite Elon Musk’s take-over, Twitter is remaining a functional service. Twitter still has 250 million users. And a source says that even with half of his employees gone, enough essential workers remain in place to divert another disaster. Twitter is one of the few social media places with a short character cap which allows for quick remarks, punchy quotes, or a half-thought which could either have likes or thousands – the potential for each tweet is unknowable. Without Twitter, where would we have the space to fire off a quick thought or witty comment without either our whole family seeing it on Facebook or without posting a photo alongside it on Snapchat or Instagram.
Even with newer apps like TikTok being as popular as they are, I don’t think another app has quite the same construction as Twitter. You may prefer to use other apps, but no other app is quite the same as Twitter, just like no other app is similar to Snapchat for example. Each app is individual, which is why they are all so popular and why users have accounts across multiple social media. Too many, having one social media app is not enough in today’s society.
It is still unknown whether Twitter will shut down in the near or distant future, but I believe the power of Twitter’s community will keep the network thriving, and we shall have to wait to see what Elon Musk does next. But for now, Twitter remains very much alive and I hope for it to remain strong for as long as Musk allows it to.
Read more from Life&Style here: