It is pretty clear now that the Twitter many of us used, and some of us liked, is dead and not coming back. That’s not just because of the ridiculous name change. Elon Musk killed it and it seems like he is doing it deliberately.
I barely use it any more and the data suggest I’m far from the only one who has backed away. As it happens, I am enjoying Threads, which today welcomed EU users to the platform. (Follow me here!) That does not stop me from missing what Twitter once was, though.
I can honestly say that for various reasons my career would not be what it is without Twitter. I won’t go into specifics, but it allowed me to make connections that would have been nearly impossible otherwise. It also provided an opportunity for others to see my work, leading to further opportunities.
That is not to say that the platform was good for journalism overall. Elon Musk might have done us a favour, and it will likely do the media well to end our Twitter addiction. The Verge editor Nilay Patel has written a great piece on how it warped things. The social network did, however, certainly help me personally.
Also, it was fun! We can and should be stern and look at the serious underlying issues, but the reality is Twitter provided people with real enjoyment and humour too. The second screen experience for events like the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony and various major football tournaments was great. It felt like you were watching along with… everyone! Remember the blue and black/white and gold dress day?! Fun! Funny!
The fact that Twitter is now a barely functional cesspit should not mean we forget how useful and enjoyable it was in its prime. We can be sad that Elon Musk has broken something we liked.