Elon Musk bought Twitter in a $44B deal that closed this week, tweeting:let the happy times last,” after taking the helm on Friday. Musk fired the company’s executives, tweet Calling on Twitter’s advertiser to share his motivation for acquiring arguably the world’s most important social network:
“The reason I bought Twitter is that it’s important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square where beliefs can be discussed in a healthy way without resorting to violence,” Musk said. “There is a great danger that social media will be divided into echo chambers of the far right and the far left, which will generate more hatred and divide our society.”
Musk also hinted at the importance of content moderation, saying “Twitter obviously can’t be an omnipresent hell where saying anything has no consequences!” The company is forming a committee to discuss content moderation, but no one Find out what this means for the future of Twitter.
While some Twitter users are considering migrating to Tumblr, its structure and user base cannot currently match the Twitter experience. In response to Verge co-founder Nilay Patel’s provocative article titled “Welcome to Hell, Elon,” Tumblr CEO Matt Mullenweg tweet his support.
“Unfortunately, this is a good summary of why running a social network is so difficult, as I learned on Tumblr,” Mullenweg said. “I wish Twitter all the best and hope this doesn’t slow down Tesla or SpaceX, which I think is critical for the future.”
Patel aptly articulated the importance of the political challenge Musk will face, working to steer Twitter away from becoming “a free hellscape,” which some believe has already happened. If Musk decides to open up to pesky characters that have been banned in the past, it could push the social network underground.
While the WordPress community has many online meeting places—various Slack workspaces, P2 blogs, and Facebook groups—Twitter has always been a place for casual interaction and breaking news. It’s the de facto social network for people working in tech. There are many people who just use the platform to keep up with WordPress news and community.
“There’s nowhere else to really go!” Mike McAlister, WordPress Product Designer Say. “It looks like WordPress people are almost exclusively on Twitter.”
Aside from the optimistic few who think Twitter will be better than ever, many community members have expressed concern about losing the network they’ve built over the years. As the deal drew to a close, people threatened to leave Twitter in principle if Musk took control. That day has come, but for the most part, the WordPress community hasn’t given up on Twitter.
“Twitter has affected my life too much to jump ship,” Edan Ben-Atar Say“As long as it makes sense, I’ll stick with it. At the moment, nothing visible to the naked eye has changed.”
WordPress designer Dustin Henrich says he’s staying, but also looking for people he follows on other platforms.
“I made so many good connections and loved reading about people’s tech and non-tech lives and learning from some evil smart people,” Heinrich Say. “I’d be really sad if this all went away.”
The decentralized social network, which has so far failed to gain mainstream attention, is being revisited after Twitter changed hands. WordPress Agency Owner Tom Finley is experiment Set up his site as a private Mastadon server using the Activity Pub plugin. It implements the ActivityPub protocol for WordPress, so readers can view the site’s posts on Mastadon and other syndicated platforms that support Activity Pub.
Some WordPress community members are considering joining the Mastadon instance, or have committed to posting on both networks, but we haven’t seen a massive exodus to the Fediverse yet.
“We’ve seen this sort of attempt to escape to the Promised Land many times before,” Ross Winter said in a post, explaining why he’s not optimistic about people successfully leaving Twitter. “It won’t stick around without a proper mass migration of people and organizations to another service.
“Eventually, people will cross-post to multiple services to reach everyone they want to reach. Then as a reader, I’m checking multiple services and seeing the same content. The signal-to-noise ratio goes down. Most people are fed up , and finally returned to its original position.”
The most hopeful speculators will ask if this will be the return of blogging. Currently, blogging is not social enough, and not enough bloggers are eager to adopt the necessary protocols to connect their sites with a stream of short, digestible updates.
Until Elon Musk made more radical changes, many members of the WordPress community saw no reason to leave Twitter.
“Right now, I have no reason to leave,” WordPress developer advocate Birgit Pauli-Haack Say. “Block, unfollow, mute are my friends who curate my feed. After 12 months, I did unsubscribe from Twitter Blue. It’s not worth being allowed to edit tweets.”
Overall, most people are taking a “wait and see” approach to leaving Twitter.
“I haven’t found a viable alternative,” WordPress meetup organizer Sallie Goetsch Say. “I do hang out in various WP Slack groups, but for the wider world…we’ll just have to see what happens here.”
A positive byproduct of this recent reorganization is that the WordPress community is considering the future of important conversations on another platform. As users explore other social networks, they may become interested in a different type of social media culture with features that Twitter lacks. It takes time to migrate and adjust to a new social home on the web.
“I’m not saying I don’t like mass migrations,” Ross Winter said. “I’ve seen so many attempts now, but none seem to be particularly successful, and I don’t understand why this one was successful.
“For a major change to happen, I think either the platform has to spontaneously combust, or it will become obsolete with a long period of wear and tear and disappear from the public consciousness over time. Facebook may even be in its infancy. Time will tell.
“Maybe one day we’ll look back and remember that thing called Twitter that we all used, the same way we remember Geocities and MySpace. But I’m having a hard time seeing what’s going to happen next week or next month. Many years later It will be so.”