Bye Bye Birdie – Is Elon Musk really the end of Twitter?

Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images, Edited by Andrea Rezman

Twitter’s crisis is continuing to escalate, as hundreds of employees quit following Elon Musk’s ultimatum on Wednesday, leaving the future of the site uncertain.

After launching Twitter 2.0, Elon Musk notified employees in a late-night internal email on Wednesday that they could either join the project or leave, with the deadline on Thursday (giving them barely a day to decide).

So many people announced their resignations that #RIPTwitter and #TwitterDown hashtags flooded Twitter, and the company’s survival became questionable.

All that’s been revealed about Twitter 2.0 is that it will require very intense, “extremely hardcore” work and a lot of overtime from the employees who decide to stay. 

“Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be ”extremely hardcore,” Musk wrote in the memo. “This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

The mass resignation is an especially big blow to the site considering that Musk fired around half of the 7,500-strong workforce during the first week of November, and according to one report, around 75 % of the remaining employees chose to leave following Musk’s ultimatum, leaving less than a 1000 workers.

The company has temporarily closed its offices until Monday, and users on the social media site are already saying goodbye to Twitter.

Among those leaving are many professionals responsible for fixing bugs and preventing service outages, raising questions about the platform’s stability. 

Several influential users (including US representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) published a post encouraging their followers to follow them on other platforms (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) in case Twitter shuts down for good.

So far, this has only partially occurred, with users reporting slowdowns and other problems, while Twitter’s staff interface has also been stuck.

Elon Musk is bringing his usual self, actively following and commenting on Twitter’s agony, including posting memes, most likely referring to Twitter 2.0:

Twitter has reinstated the accounts of American comedian Kathy Griffin and conservative clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, Elon Musk said on Friday, adding that no decision has yet been made to reinstate the accounts of former US President Donald Trump.

Shortly after the publication of the post, the new owner of Twitter also initiated a vote about Trump’s fate on the platform. The majority, currently 52.5 percent, voted to allow the former president to return to the site.

Where to next?

Not surprisingly, many users are looking for a way to escape Twitter’s uncertainty, making less-known social media sites the winners in the chaos.

Mastodon, the most popular alternative to Twitter, has gained more than a million new users in just a few weeks. A decentralised social network founded in 2016 by Eugen Rochko, the site offers a similar experience to Twitter, but with no ads, no algorithms and “not for sale”, it claims. The posts (equivalents to tweets) are sorted in chronological order on the timeline, and you can follow others, create short posts (with a 500-character limit, which is twice as long as on Twitter), upload pictures and videos.

The platform is trying to cope with the newfound popularity, as it has tripled the number of its original users since the 27th of October.

Whether you are planning to leave Twitter or decided to stay and see how everything turns out, saving your online data might be handy. According to Twitter’s support page, this means downloading and archiving your data, including your profile information and history, your Tweets, your messages, media (images, videos, and GIFs you’ve attached to Tweets, Direct Messages, or Moments), and more.

You can find the “Download an archive of your data” feature in the “Your account” section within Twitter’s settings.

It can take up to 24 hours to receive a link to download your data, and you might be asked to verify your account, but once it’s done, you won’t have to worry about your memories suddenly disappearing.

Words: Andrea Rezman | Subbing: Anna Kamocsai

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