#RIPTwitter: The Outrage

 
 

Much to the public’s dismay, Twitter recently announced a big change to its feed. Instead of seeing tweets in reverse chronological order, peeps will now skip over the boundaries of time to view suggested (AKA popular) tweets first.

I hate change as much as the next person. And given that I wrote a book called Shut Up And Tweet, you can imagine the minor heart attack I experienced when seeing #RIPTwitter trending. 

People are freaking out. But after doing some old-fashioned research, I seriously don’t get it.

Yes, much of Twitter’s beauty lies in its democratization of content. You, the user, control everything you see and when you see it, unlike Zuck’s 1984-like grip on Facebook’s feed. I understand that tweeters might view this feed change as a big old white flag to “the man”; however, I wish people would stop being so dramatic. This isn’t the end of the (Twitter) world as we know it. In fact, we might all just be fine. 

So rest easy. Dr. Pallen is about to prescribe an anti-anxiety cure, and it’s in the form of these three points:

Trust Dorsey. The CEO and co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, addressed #RIPTwitter head on. He calmed the world by reminding people that this is an adjustment to optimize the platform. Twitter isn’t going anywhere.

Filters help users on social media. Twitter isn't the same size as it was when it launched. In 2013, Twitter had 230M active users - now it has over 300M active users. We, as simple humans, don't have the capacity to keep up with that type of information if it's chronological. We need a system to help us choose where our attention goes.

Twitter is powerful. Twitter was the first of its kind to truly connect different people across echelons. Celebrities couldn't really communicate with fans by Facebook. They also couldn’t have public-facing spats (Wiz and Kanye, anyone?) for everyone’s enjoyment. Twitter shook up the social media game by creating a whole new level of accessibility. In fact, part of President Obama's campaign success was due to the brilliant integration of Twitter. Sure we've got Snapchat and Instagram now, but it will be hard to brush off Twitter as our first love. 

So even with this doomsday-esque hashtag, Twitter is still a beacon of hope. It’s ingrained into our lifeblood as a social society. Sure, Twitter might be losing its competitive edge, but that doesn’t mean it’s ending. With the rise of newer, shinier competitors like Snapchat, Twitter has struggled to monetize and also stay relevant. This is an experimentation to find its own space in the social media web, even if it means succumbing to its own version of Facebook's selective and frustrating algorithm.

Are people overreacting? Most likely. It's what people do best on social media. I highly doubt that they'll make any drastic changes, particularly after this outcry.