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Twitter traffic really is tanking, Cloudflare reveals, but is anyone that surprised?

The silly man overspent on a website that is now the last, desperate outpost of hacks, gossip merchants, and recently anointed figures on the far right who have depth-charged their lives for dark money.

The traffic graph that Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince posted to Meta’s all new Threads app (which we’ll get to later) and Twitter (via The Verge) on Sunday doesn’t make this conclusion, only that the site has fallen eight DNS ranking positions since the start of 2023 – but what else is there to conclude?

Gone are the days when Twitter was a fun way to get (if only slight) intimate access to interesting public figures with interesting things to say, fun community events to run, or new information to reveal about their beloved life’s work. It’s simply not “the place to be” as it was [counts on fingers] fifteen years ago.

It doesn’t even make much business sense to be on Twitter. Ad revenue continues to plummet as companies and users alike desert the platform, either to market content over at pastures new, or simply because  it’s basically unusable now unless you pay $8 a month, and no-one apart from the status-quo old guard and the new nazis are going for that. 

The owner of Twitter has shown no interest in keeping the masses on-side, relying solely on familiarity, that feeling of being “plugged into the discourse”. Said CEO once referred to the site as a “town square”. That’s a nice, utopic image, but very few foresaw that the town square would end up with two Greggs three doors down from each other and seagulls going about with knives. 

The site has started charging up to tens of thousands of US dollars for access to its API while also not bothering to maintain it, “non-essential” (actually very essential) servers have been shut down. 

Those of who remember empathy (what were tharrallabout?) probably aren’t keen on Musk pushing for a return to the office in the single worst way possible and mandating code reviews before firing anyone he personally deems isn’t up to snuff. This bizarre way of running a household name company has led to an employee exodus that has meant, by and large, that many of those remaining rely on Twitter to sponsor their U.S visas.

The alternatives and you

Twitter’s current situation is largely the fault of new management, but it’s just had control of the situation wrested from it. Yes, the squandered opportunity that was New Twitter is about to be killed by, broadly speaking, a clone of the original, with Meta’s new Threads app. 

Pepsi Twitter, though hamstrung by requiring an Instagram account, is most definitely on the rise, with almost 100 million users and counting, and The owner of Twitter has taken this in his usual cool and collected manner: threatening legal action, challenging Meta’s own barely human CEO to a cage fight, and calling him a “cuck” while CC-ing fast-food chain Wendy’s

These words, in this order, are factually accurate and have to be written with a straight face, just like “questions e-mailed to Twitter’s [now non-existent] press department received an auto-reply poop emoji in response”. It’s no wonder the world at large is flocking to a “friendlier” microblogging app.

The main justification for legal action is the suggestion that Meta poached ex-employees who were known to have access to “trade secrets” belonging to Twitter in order to work on Threads. Meta maintains that no ex-Twitter employees are working on Threads, and we don’t want to be sacrificed to an idol for libel, so we’ll leave that there.

For you, my big, beautiful, business babies, the important question is “do we migrate”? Well, personally (read: objectively), Meta’s CEO is only slightly less deserving of being flung into space and left there than Twitter’s CEO. It often falls to me to do the write-up when the company inevitably ends up in a data privacy lawsuit and throws its toys out of the pram in response (paywall). I don’t trust it and think you shouldn’t either. 

But if I’m putting on my sensible grown-up, centrist, nihilistic journalist hat (it’s a beret, as a performative act of non-rebellion), I’ll say that it’s another platform having its fifteen minutes, and potentially even longer in going after a gaping black hole in the market. 

Plus, contrary to Twitter, transphobic, right-wing pond life seems to be getting shown the door through both direct content moderation and misinformation flags on their accounts. This is basic decency at work, but if that doesn’t do it for you, also a clear signal that Meta is courting advertisers, rather than [present participle expletive] it up all the wall and passing the costs on to the consumer. 

So, if your organization is already on Instagram, and you find things like, er, the law, inconsequential: better the devil you know, yeah?

More blog post here