Twitter has morphed into X, so what does this mean for writers?
Once upon a time, writers built a cozy little neighborhood on Twitter. They had each other’s backs with writers’ lifts, they fearlessly threw their manuscripts into the maw of pitch fests and got all gung-ho about #NaNoWriMo. It was a fellowship of the Tweets, a deep camaraderie, a band of brothers and sisters. But hold on to your quills, folks. Twitter has morphed into X, and it is time to brace yourself as we decipher what this means for writers.
Does Twitter’s Voyage to X Lead to a Writer’s Shangri-la? – Let’s Ask the Chinese
Elon Musk has made many references to emulating China’s WeChat App. The move to X may not be as much of a rebranding strategy as it is a desire to become an “everything app”. This means a centralization of online activities. Sure, that’s sharing content, shopping, joining groups and hanging out with friends, much like we are familiar with in the United States. However, WeChat does so much more. Because in China, WeChat is overseen by the government. They are watching, monitoring, and they won’t let you use any other apps. Is that the future of X?
The Plot Thickens: How Will this Twist Impact Our Writing and Reading Communities?
The shift has spurred numerous questions and concerns among those in the writing and reading communities. Long-established hashtags such as #writingcommunity and #writerscommunity have nurtured a dynamic place for authors on Twitter, providing a distinctive platform for dialogue, counsel, and camaraderie.
As a marketer, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the numbers. I’ve observed engagement, follower counts, and other metrics take a dive on Twitter over recent months. Users are departing en masse and there’s a rising hum of discontent within the writing community. Moreover, the algorithms are undergoing changes. These behind-the-scenes modifications are making it increasingly difficult to gain visibility, maintain a significant presence, and foster genuine connections with writers and readers.
Beloved Features Still Kicking…Until X Marks Their Spot
Despite the rebranding, the fundamental features that writers know and love remain unaltered. The real-time nature of the platform, use of hashtags, and networking opportunities remain. As of now, the rebranding appears to be mainly a name and logo change, without the immediate introduction of new features that could potentially impact writers. On the surface, it seems business as usual.
If you’re verified on Twitter, be aware your experience may differ. Verification on Twitter was among Musk’s initial steps in emulating WeChat. After all, a verifiable identity is essential for everyone if the “everything app” is to have value. In my view, that’s primarily what being verified is about. It is setting the stage for Musk’s version of WeChat.
The question becomes: is that advantageous or disadvantageous? From a marketer who aims to reach genuine individuals with my advertising dollars, then yes, I appreciate that users are verified. Who wants to waste advertising dollars on bots? Writers who might advertise on X, or utilize our marketing or advertising services would likely concur that reaching verified individuals is beneficial. Yet, is it worth what we might be relinquishing?
Let’s Abandon Ship for Threads…or Something…
Jumping ship seems tempting, and Threads by Instagram (oh, it’s Meta now, remember?) could be the next port. Threads is straightforward to set up, drawing from your existing Instagram contacts, and provides an experience similar to Twitter. When people ask about trying it, I advise them that if they’re active on Instagram, it’s a hassle-free app to install and will swiftly migrate their followers. However, for those new to Instagram or Facebook, or not accustomed to Twitter, the learning curve might prove too steep. Don’t create a headache for yourself if you’re not a digital native or experienced with social media.
Will Threads endure? That’s hard to predict, as social media platforms are currently in flux with a myriad of changes happening all at once. In addition to Threads, there are also growing communities on Blue Sky, Substack, Slasher, and more. I caution writers to not hastily jump ship during this upheaval, as it’s uncertain where things will ultimately settle.
Navigating the “Everything App”: Challenges Galore
This brave new world could be a double-edged rapier. The “everything app” could be tough for users and advertisers to embrace. But X’s vision for its true revenue streams could ensure its longevity, meaning writers will have to make a choice. Is it worth riding out the storm? Possibly.
The world is changing fast. With Artificial Intelligence, cryptocurrencies, and heck, even a potential alien invasion apparently happening — seriously, did 2023 look at 2020 and say, “hold my beer?” A seismic shift seems inevitable. We might need to get cozy with a platform that monetizes our authentic selves after all. At least this time, we’re walking into it with our eyes open, unlike when Facebook was secretly trading our data. Wait, are they still at it? And no one really left them, huh?
Wordsmiths in the X Era: A Tale of Resilience
I wish I had a crystal ball, folks. I feel for writers who found a bit of camaraderie during the days of Covid on Twitter, only to have that become uncertain in the X era. I’m hopeful, albeit with a pinch of caution.
As Twitter morphs into X, this community is well-positioned to continue providing support, advice, and friendship. The transition may be fraught with uncertainties, yet the writing community’s innovative spirit is bound to navigate us through. Should the necessity to abandon ship arise, we could make our move to Threads, but the crux is that we must all leap together. Unfortunately, people often find maintaining the status quo simpler than executing a drastic change like deleting an account and navigating through a couple prompts to create a new one. Sigh.
If you’re staying on board to see whether the ship’s really sinking, find me. I’m the one over there clinging to the starboard side at @Desiree_Duffy – at least for now…