i spied a tweet the other day that journalists would suffer if Twitter ever shut down because they would lose a traffic driver. While there’s some truth to that (Twitter helps expose your writing to a broader audience), it’s also true that Twitter has value beyond that to journalists and other users.
It’s safe to say Twitter is in disarray as Elon Musk desperately tries to take over the business, instituting mass layoffs while the remaining essential employees flee the general chaos, spurred on by midnight email ultimatums.
That most recent missive apparently prompted a mass resignation, according to reports. When you add that to the people who were laid off in the layoffs, it’s fair to ask how many people are left to run the site.
Even before all this happened, the TechCrunch team had a conversation in Slack about what we’d be missing if Twitter disappeared tomorrow. At the time (three days ago), seemed more like a whimsical game than a real possibility.
For all its flaws, Twitter has a way of connecting people who might never connect otherwise. It gives us a place to share our passions, our random thoughts, and yes, our shitty posts, all while keeping us on top of what’s going on in the world in real time.
“It is hard to imagine that anything can replace Black Twitter. But if history has taught us anything, it is that we will always find our way.” Dominic Madori Davis
While there surely is Many Negatives of the platform: It’s too easy to spread misinformation and hate speech and attack people you disagree with. There are also many positives and many things we would miss if Twitter perishes.
Now it looks like it very well might.
So, several TechCrunch staffers contributed what they’d miss most if Twitter were to go away (hopefully it’ll still be around tomorrow):
I’m not even sure where to begin in describing the immense impact Black Twitter has had on, well, the world, actually. Ever since I was a teenager watching so many Black people rally to raise awareness about the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, up until that point we all shared experiences and made jokes about what it was like to have Thanksgiving with a Black family. “When it’s time to go and the plate you hid is missing, *insert Kermit yelling meme here*.”
The memes are infinite, as is the support, and the warmth, that we provide and place on people and issues. It was a place to find community in a world so cruel to us. It really feels like its own universe at times. I remember going to the Clubhouse a few years ago to listen to the talks and then running over to Twitter to see everyone live tweet the conversations.
This thread from a few days ago really brought back memories, in which Author Kira J presented a little “Black Jeopardy”. Famous dates per 500 please. “On December 21, 2020, what were black people waiting for?” Superpowers. And they keep coming, don’t worry. They are only running at CP time.
The community always felt quite isolated; what happened there rarely left our bubble. When it hits the mainstream, everything changes, everything changes. As if someone found you in the middle of the shower. Non-black people often don’t understand humor, sarcasm, “wait, did we all have the same childhood?” I always remember a tweet from a while back asking, “How do you get on Black Twitter?” It’s not the same or as easy as people just giving out invites to cookouts (stop giving them out please!!!).
“I really want a place to post long sentence shitty messages with no punctuation, and I don’t know where I would go if I couldn’t do that on Twitter anymore.” amanda silverling
I often wonder how it is No be on Twitter Black.
What do people think when meet a photo from Chris Evans in long neon yellow acrylics with a honey mustard satin bonnet? Where do other people get their news from, if not from philip lewis? I’ll miss seeing something trending and saying yeah that’s Black Twitter that’s has be be. I would miss the solidarity, the camaraderie that is often not easy to do or reciprocate in the physical world. Yeah I think I would even miss Roc Nation Brunch Twitter, aka LLC Twitter aka the people who tell everyone to start a business and become an entrepreneur. “Would you rather drink $500,000 or have dinner with Jay-Z?” Seriously, just take the money and run.
In the past week, brooklyn white grierthe Essence function editor, asked everyone what we were going to use for the Twitter welcome service. Someone made shows, started planning gospel music performances, and of course we started picking our hats. me i tweeted i was excited to get an extra low-vibration plate on food and would probably show up with slicked-back baby edges and Valentino couture, like Zendaya did at the Emmys.
It’s hard to imagine that anything could replace Black Twitter. But if history has taught us anything, it is that we will always find our way.