Twitter kills Twitter

I got hooked on Twitter in July 2009. I’ve remained extremely online since then. It was never about the platform itself. It was always about the people — those who I interacted with and those who wrote the third-party clients that made the service usable. That Twitter the service became the success it did was despite Twitter the company, not because of it.

I’ve often wondered if anyone at Twitter used Twitter. Third-party clients innovated and drove improvements. Twitter made changes no one asked for. In 2012, Twitter changed rules around the API, which caused many third-party developers to abandon the platform. By that point, the first-party tooling was good enough (thanks, in part, to the acquisition of a few key third parties). But still, it was a loss for the ecosystem.

Earlier this week, Twitter went further and gave a one-week notice that free API access is ending. This likely means the end for many integrations. It will almost certainly be the death knell for many of the fun and useful bots that make being on Twitter a better experience.

There’s finally no doubt that the person in charge of Twitter actually uses the service and it turns out he’s a fuckwit. The larger services already (I assume) have paid API access. That’s what you do when you’re running a business. So basically, Elon is just killing off the hobbyists. You remember them; they’re the ones who made Twitter Twitter in the first place. If it’s a shakedown for money (and given the debt Twitter is saddled with by its fuckwit-in-chief, that seems likely), I doubt it will be very effective.

That said, I’m not abandoning Twitter yet. There are still too many people that I don’t want to leave behind. But it’s easy to see a gradual decline until we reach a tipping point. Will the last one out please put up the Fail Whale?

4 thoughts on “Twitter kills Twitter

  1. I abandoned Twitter several years ago because even after limiting my follows to just other people in the software industry and people who have similar hobbies to me, I still saw too much political nonsense in my feed. I haven’t missed it. Yet I am deeply saddened to watch the train wreck before us.

  2. Twitter has long (always?) been a hellsite, but at least there were pockets of good times to be had. Some of my closest friends are people who I either met or got to know well on Twitter. I hate that we’re losing that.

  3. I’ve left the platform and started removing links to my Twitter profile, having joined in April 2008. I suspect many will follow my actions. The best part of the platform was interacting with friends, colleagues, ex colleagues and other acquaintances but they’ve all stopped posting so there’s already nothing left except adverts, political musings and corporate nonsense. I had some good friends get sacked in October, the API debacle is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

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