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For all our complaints, Twitter was special. Mastodon could never compare | Sarah Manavis

For all our complaints, Twitter was special. Mastodon could never compare | Sarah Manavis

LLike so much of what has happened in recent years, the prospect of Elon Musk taking over and managing to destroy Twitter had the quality of a fever dream: something that would probably be a disaster, but almost certainly would never happen. It was likely that, even in the most dramatic case, it would only succeed in making an already bad platform a little worse. That’s why the past 10 days have surprised even Musk’s staunchest critics: Since he took over Twitter on October 27, after firing thousands of employees and the company’s entire board to become just one member, the site has really taken off. By Musk’s own admission, the company is to lose $4 million a day – largely because advertisers are running away.

Within days of taking Musk, more than a million people They are believed to have left the site, many looking for an alternative platform like Twitter. While there are several popular sites that allow users to create text messages shared on online message boards (such as Discord, Reddit, and Tumblr), an emerging favorite is Mastodon, a non-profit social networking site that works efficiently. Pitching it as “Twitter, but cool”. However, the fact that you can recreate a version of Twitter without the hassle of pre-Twitter is a pipe dream. It won’t happen in Mastodon; probably won’t happen anywhere.

As for Mastodon, specifically, its most obvious obstacles are on the technical side: you can’t register and immediately appear on a common site with other users. The platform operates as a series of siled servers, all of which operate their own individual spaces with their own themes (eg “journalism” or “Glasgow”). While you can connect with other users on other services, it’s not easy, and it’s difficult for users to create a cohesive timeline of all Mastodon users. It’s a clumsy experience.

It has a main and general server for all users, however, within a few days of Musk Twitter intake was full and closed to new registrations. This mass migration of users has become a problem for the site – it has only passed one million active users compared to Twitter’s 237 million and its servers are already buckling under the weight. It seems unlikely that Mastodon’s technical structure will be able to scale overnight to handle even a fraction of Twitter’s user base.

Beyond the technical aspects, there are other reasons why these Twitter alternatives struggle to deliver the Twitter experience. As Musk himself is discovering, it’s incredibly difficult to successfully moderate a massive digital “town square” where hundreds of millions of people are crammed into the same space. The few sites that have come closest to replicating Twitter are those with far-right connotations, such as Parler and Donald Trump’s Truth Social. However, for a platform that wants to create a more harmonious and better version of Twitter, this partisan free-for-all is not an option.

But one of the most underrated elements of a new Twitter is the motivation itself: how many people really want Twitter to exist? While many people may still be eager to use a micro-blogging site, there were many signs before Musk took over that he was losing his appetite for Twitter. Twitter has always struggled to draw the number of users of other large platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram or even Snapchat, and now the latest studies also show it. most active users they log in much less than before. It’s already an uphill battle for Twitter’s alternative platform to re-engage jaded Twitter users, and that’s before it gets to the trouble of replicating what people actually liked about it.

It’s hard to accept that Twitter, for all its ills, also gave its users something special. Many found work, new passions, fell in love or even made lifelong friends using the site (I met my partner of six years thanks to Twitter and I also have to credit it with launching my career). It was unique in making this easy, forcing every user of the site into a community environment that was borderless and, by design, existed primarily for people to talk to each other. Few people care about aesthetics, ads or niche functionality, they just want somewhere to read jokes and communicate, in a space that feels like everyone is there. Then unless we manage to get mass migration to another platform that recreates that ecosystem in a similar way (and by mass, I mean most of Twitter’s 400 million users), they’re not going to create the amount of supposed similarity we think. The Twitter experience.

In theory, there shouldn’t be a social media site that’s easier to replicate than Twitter. You just need a place for people to post anything (within reason), all in one big room, with enough people there to feel like you’ve gone to a party. However, the problem with building a real alternative to Twitter is that Twitter users turned this basic space into a culture that goes beyond its core functionality. It was a rare moment when a lot of people wanted this kind of platform, it’s hard to imagine repeating it in the age of personal brands and introduction platforms like TikTok and one-way introduction platforms. Twitter is unfortunately greater than the sum of its parts. When we lose the echo chamber we are left with nothing but emptiness.

#complaints #Twitter #special #Mastodon #compare #Sarah #Manavis

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