I noticed a tweet the other day that journalists would suffer if Twitter ever shut down because they would lose a traffic engine. While there’s some truth to this—Twitter does help expose your writing to a wider audience—it’s also true that Twitter has value beyond that for journalists and other users.
It’s safe to say that Twitter is a mess as Elon Musk is helplessly trying to capture the business, the institution mass redundancies as the remaining core employees flee the general chaos instigated by midnight email ultimatums.
This latest letter appears to have sparked a mass resignation, according to to reports. When you add that to the people who were let go in the layoffs, it’s fair to ask how many people are left running the site.
Even before all of this happened, the TechCrunch team had a conversation on Slack about what we’d miss if Twitter disappeared tomorrow. At this time (three days ago), seemed more like a whimsical game than a real possibility.
For all its warts, Twitter has a way of connecting people who would otherwise never connect. It gives us a place to share our passions, our random thoughts, and yes, our bullshit, while keeping us updated on what’s happening in the world in real time.
“It’s hard to imagine anything replacing Black Twitter. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that we will always find our way. Dominique-Madori Davies
While there certainly is a lot negatives about the platform — it’s all too easy to spread misinformation and hate speech and attack people you don’t agree with — there are also a lot of positives and a lot of things we’d miss if Twitter died.
Now he feels as if he could.
So a few TechCrunch staffers contributed what they’d miss most if Twitter disappeared (while hoping it would still be around tomorrow):
I’m not even sure where to begin to describe the massive impact Black Twitter has had on the world, really. From the time I was a teenager, watching so many black people mobilize to bring awareness to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, to this moment, we all shared experiences and joked about what it was like to celebrate Thanksgiving with a black family. “When it’s time to leave and the plate you hid is missing, *insert screaming Kermit meme here.*”
The memes are endless, and so is the support — and warmth — we give and put on people and topics. It was a place to find community in a world so unkind to us. Sometimes it really feels like its own universe. I remember a few years ago going to the Clubhouse to hear the talks and then running over to Twitter to watch everyone live tweet the talks.
This thread from a few days ago really brought back memories where author Kira J hosted a little “Black Jeopardy.” Known dates for 500 please. “On December 21, 2020, what were black people waiting to get?” Superpowers. And they’re still coming, don’t worry. They just run on CP time.
The community has always felt quite isolated; what happened there rarely leaves our bubble. When it goes mainstream, everything changes, everything changes. Like someone walking in on you in the shower. Non-black people often don’t get the humor, the sarcasm, the “wait, did we all have the same childhood?” I always remember a tweet a while back that asked, “How do you get on Black Twitter?” It’s not just the same or as easy as people just giving out invitations to cookouts (stop giving them out please!!!).
“I really want a place to post long sentences of nonsense without punctuation, and I don’t know where I’d go if I can’t do that on Twitter anymore.” Amanda Silberling
I often wonder what it is to no be on Black Twitter.
What do people think when come across a picture of Chris Evans wearing long neon yellow acrylic robes with a honey mustard satin bonnet? Where else do people get their news if not from Philip Lewis? I’ll miss seeing something trending and say, yeah, that’s Black Twitter, that’s it there is to be. I will miss the solidarity, the camaraderie that is often not easily achieved or reciprocated in the physical world. Yeah, I think I’d even miss it Roc Nation Brunch Twitter, aka LLC Twitter, aka the people telling everyone to start a business and become an entrepreneur. “Would you prefer to take $500,000 or dinner with Jay-Z?” Seriously, just take the money and run.
Last week, Brooklyn White-Greerthe feature editor in Essence, they all asked what we would wear to the twitter homecoming service. Someone made programs, started planning gospel music performances, and of course we started choosing our hats. I tweeted that I was excited to receive extremely low vibration plate at the table, and would probably show up with smoothed baby edges and Valentino fashion like Zendaya did at the Emmys.
It’s hard to imagine anything replacing Black Twitter. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that we will always find our way.