Twitter probably isn’t going to die today. But if it does, I won’t miss it

Not for the first time in the last few weeks, there’s been fairly widespread hysteria on Twitter this morning that the platform is going to keel over and die suddenly as a result of Elon Musk’s comically incompetent mismanagement of the entire situation.

To be fair, this time around things do look pretty dire for the company, as after Musk issued an ultimatum that employees had to choose between “hardcore” working hours and conditions or taking three months’ severance, a significant proportion of Twitter’s staff chose the latter option. And who can honestly blame them at this point?

As a result of the mass voluntary layoffs, Twitter has supposedly closed access to its offices to prevent any sort of corporate sabotage by disgruntled ex-employees. And some people, jumping the gun a tad, have taken this to believe that “Twitter is closing, effective immediately”.


Twitter probably isn’t closing. It’s going to be in a tough spot for a while until Musk successfully manages to offload it onto some other poor sap to sort out, but as some of the more level-headed people out there have pointed out, the actual servers that keep Twitter up and running are not the same thing as a bunch of designers, programmers and engineers working in an office. As such, I suspect Twitter will probably weather this storm — though the prospect of it going away has had me thinking.

I won’t miss it.

A few years back, I probably would have said that I would miss Twitter if it went away, even with the things I dislike about it. I have some fond memories there, after all; meeting my wife, sharing drunken messages with friends, chatting about games with like-minded folks and making some new pals in both the modern and retro gaming spaces. It was also, for a while, a great place to share one’s own creative projects and professional work.


But in the last couple of years in particular, Twitter has become more of a stressor than anything else. Sharing your work has become a demoralising experience due to the continued lack of clarity on “The Algorithm”. Speaking with others has become a minefield as you try not to get into situations where someone is inexplicably upset or mad about something you said. And the default mode of interaction there, for a while now, has felt not like a friendly town square as the original intent was, but rather an aggressive, angry gathering of people surrounded by dystopian neon advertising billboards on all sides.

I’ve grown to hate Twitter. Every time I scroll through it and feel myself getting drawn in to just mindlessly looking at the crap posted there every day, I hate myself a little more, particularly when I think about how many different websites I used to explore and enjoy before social media came along. And thus, I’ve reached a point where if Twitter goes away, I’ll honestly be kind of relieved.

What does all this have to do with anime and gaming? Well, the reason I joined Twitter in the first place was because the forum I used to hang out on with like-minded gamers went belly-up, and so everyone migrated to Twitter to continue our discussions. That was the plan, anyway; in practice everyone ended up heading off in their own directions and our group drifted apart — but for a while, at least, Twitter was a reasonable place to connect with people who shared your interests and that you enjoyed good conversation with.


Twitter didn’t replace the gaming forum and the lengthy, wordy threads there that I enjoyed so much. But it was, for a while, a reasonable substitute. It was a global means of communication that was simple and fun to use, and it hadn’t been invaded by the sort of unnecessary features that Facebook was already messing around with by that point. It was also a good means of meeting new people.

Times changed, though. Twitter realised that although it was on to a good thing, it needed a means of making money. And so the Brands came. And along came The Algorithm, pushing things into your timeline that you weren’t interested in seeing. And along came a noticeable, definite decline in the overall quality of conversation on the platform — ironically alongside Twitter’s introduction of an ill-defined optional “quality filter” for your feed.

I haven’t felt like Twitter is a good place to talk about video games and anime for quite some time now. Sure, there are pockets of people here and there who are good folks that are fun to hang out with — but for every little group like that, there’s a swathe of people out there determined to jump on things they disagree with and be unpleasant about it. Particularly if you like something. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve posted something simply positive about a thing on Twitter and promptly had people in my mentions explaining how (thing I like) is actually a load of old shit.

I’m tired of it. And, as much as it will be a shame to lose the ability to chat with those folks who are decent people on the platform — and, more broadly speaking, how devastating it will potentially be for folks who genuinely rely on it as a means of communication — at this stage I’m honestly not particularly sad at the prospect of the platform as a whole going away.

There are better means of communicating with others online these days — and, to be perfectly honest, being freed from the shackles of social media to a certain extent will be a blessed relief.

If nothing else, it’ll be nice to get back to gaming in peace.

Memes all found via the #RIPTwitter hashtag while it lasts.

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Pete Davison
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