Could this be the end of Twitter?

Way over a year ago, I told you that Twitter was having an identity crisis.

Back at the end of 2021, there was talk of a paid subscription service (Blue). Spaces were being floated as Twitter’s answer to the Clubhouse trend. And the Fleets function, the platform’s equivalent of Instagram Stories, was swiftly divebombing out of the feed as users protested that Twitter was just becoming too much like the other social media sites and losing what made it so special in the first place.

But fast forward to the start of 2023, and it seems like the social behemoth has far bigger problems to worry about than a couple of failed attempts at new features.

As you’ve probably heard, Twitter was bought by tech baron Elon Musk in April 2022. Initially, he tested the waters by announcing his plans to buy 9% of shares on the open market, which would bag himself a seat on the board. Twitter’s team weren’t too happy about this, fearing a hostile takeover. But, in a dramatic turn of events, they eventually accepted a whopping offer of $44 billion for the entire platform. 

Why did he want to make such an extraordinary deal and add Twitter to his portfolio?

Well, allegedly, it’s as simple as this: Musk’s aim is to transform Twitter’s free speech principles. He said: "The company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company."

What’s happened since Musk took to the reins?

Twitter has, quite frankly, been in turmoil. 

In May 2022, Musk put the acquisition deal on hold temporarily after raising concerns about the sheer volume of fake and spam accounts on the site. He publicly shared his concerns about problems at the organisation, convinced that Twitter was trying to cover up its widespread issues with bots (which Twitter itself estimates make up around 5% of its accounts).

In November, after much to-ing and fro-ing (and plenty of court action), the billionaire finally sealed the deal.

Here’s what’s been happening since he gained complete control:

  • There have been redundancies galore. Reports tell us that Musk let go of around 50% of the 7,500 staff on Twitter’s books globally.

  • Musk became the sole director of Twitter after dissolving the board and sacking a number of executives.
  • Blue-tick users – ie, individuals or companies who have been identified as accounts of public interest – now need to pay to keep this mark of approval next to their name, as per the new terms of the Twitter Blue service. 

  • There have been big changes to Twitter’s interface, including the option to swipe right to left to switch between recommended vs followed tweets. More UI updates are expected to follow in 2023.

  • In line with his mission to allow free speech at virtually any cost, Musk has reinstated the Twitter accounts of a series of controversial journalists, celebrities, and public figures, including ex-US president Donald Trump, psychologist Jordan Peterson, influencer Andrew Tate, Infowars founder Alex Jones, and musician Kanye West (although his was swiftly revoked following some close-to-the-mark posts).

  • Musk has banned Twitter users from linking to rival social media websites, including some of the biggies (Facebook, Instagram, and Mastodon). He’s also prevented people from adding link aggregators such as Linktree to their profiles or their posts. It seems that, as far as he’s concerned, sharing really isn’t caring.

  • It’s thought that long-form tweets will be introduced this February, increasing the character limit and allowing users to post more in-depth content.

Now I’m all for careful change, but can we be sure that Musk’s moves are going to be in the best interests of Twitter, and crucially, its users?

Or could all these major shake-ups signal the end of Twitter’s long-standing reputation as one of the largest and most influential social media platforms on the planet?

Time will tell, I suppose. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the chaos, and adjusting my clients’ strategies as I need to. That’s all part of the fun of being a social media manager – the goalposts are constantly shifting, and we need to be ready to adapt to what’s happening as soon as we can!


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