Over the past 48 hours, I’ve heard a lot of nonsense about how “Twitter is dead”, mainly coming from a vast swathe of overdramatic Twitter fans who evidently got too attached to it. Basically, they’re complaining about the fact that Twitter is going to start showing tweets using an algorithmic feed, like the one Facebook uses in its news feed, prompting many to speculate that Twitter become very much indifferent to Facebook. Meanwhile, the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey insists that they never planned to reorder Twitter timelines at all.
Of course, this is all typical case of mass hysteria. People always react badly when social media sites adopt any form of change. I remember when Facebook introduced its timeline feature, and everyone freaked out for a while until they actually tried it. Speaking of Facebook, the algorithm-based news feed hasn’t killed it. In fact, Facebook seems to be doing just fine with it, and I assume Twitter will do just fine with it too, just that it might suffer the fate of Yahoo Answers, where most of the people who used it left, and now all we’re left with are idiotic trolls.
That aside, the hysteria around Twitter’s so-called death is completely unfounded, especially when you consider that the story came from Buzzfeed, one of the most unreliable news outlets in history (the fact that every news outlet covering the story seems to reference it is a bad sign). The idea of Twitter being dead is exactly the kind of click-baiting Buzfeed always engages in. For me, the really sad part is how so many people fell for the act. At this point, the sanest possible conclusion that the whole story (and the #RIPTwitter trend that inspired it) was merely the result of hysteria fuelled by that one Buzzfeed article, and anyone dumb enough to fall for it.
Even if Twitter really were dead, I doubt that it would be a great loss. Twitter is one of the most pointless websites of all time, but it’s even worse than that. We’re talking about the website that brought hastagging into the public consciousness. People say that Twitter brings people together, but I guarantee that all you’ll find on Twitter is meaningless garbage from people who forget that there are things that we don’t need to know about. On top of that, the site’s 140-character limit makes it nearly impossible to articulate any meaningful discussion on it (hence Twitter’s butchering of the English language).
In the end it’s nothing more than a massive distraction than many millions absorb themselves in, and these people distract themselves by trying to attract a large amount of followers, treating people they don’t know as if they’re collectively a kind of status symbol, bragging about how much more followers they have, and complaining when they lose them. It’s nothing but noise, and the worst part is that because Twitter is so popular, mainstream culture encourages involvement with Twitter, with big brands opening Twitter accounts just to stay hip and promote their brand. It’s out of control, and yet people can’t go without it. What’s so great about a website where the whole world can snoop in on a conversation you have with a few friends? To me, it’s not social networking. In fact, I think the kind of culture Twitter created is destroying the quality of social interaction.
Since I got carried away, I’ll end with the simple answer to the question posed by the title of this post. Twitter isn’t dead, but if it died, I doubt I’d care much. In fact, I’d say good riddance to bad rubbish, but if only Twitter really were dead.