There Will Never Be Another Twitter

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Gideon: I find it so much work to get started on a new platform, you know, to follow people and figure out what I want to prioritize and post things there. Uh, so I can’t really say that I’ve used them. I’ve tinkered, but that’s about it. 

Lauren: Yeah. My workflow now is I, I publish a story or a podcast on WIRED. I open Twitter, I share it, and then I’m like, where’s my Bluesky login again? And then I do that. And I’m like, oh, right, T2, where I think I have, you know, four followers and I do that and then I craft something for Mastodon, which is great. But then you have to kind of poke around to find people’s Mastodon handles because people might be in different servers. And then I share that. And then, um, then I go to Instagram and I share that. 

Gideon: And then it’s time to go and make dinner. And I’m like, oh, I could have written another story today, but actually I just spent half an hour posting to social media.

Lauren: I’m admitting this to my boss. Yes. And then, and then I’m like, did that really—how many more people saw it? I mean, how many, how many did I, how many people did I reach? Did this start a conversation about something? 

Gideon: OK. But what differences are you noticing, if any, between these platforms? Or do they all feel like kind of pale Twitter substitutes at this point?

Lauren: The latter. Hmm, the latter. They’re a little bit janky. They’re not as easy to use. And um— 

Gideon: Twitter is pretty janky at the moment as well. 

Lauren: Twitter is pretty janky at the moment. Bluesky looks a lot like Twitter, which is nice. It’s got—it feels like a warm bath, familiar interface. You’re like, oh, I know how this thing works, but sometimes it doesn’t work the way you expect. There aren’t as many people on there right now because it’s invite-only at the moment. So you don’t really feel like you’re reaching a critical mass. I think back to how into Twitter I was in the early 2010s as a journalist and as a writer, and really, truly how delightful it could be sometimes. And I don’t feel that I’ve been able to replicate that feeling on any of these platforms, but also, like, I am an older, wiser person on the internet.

Gideon: Is there a day on Twitter that you remember, Lauren? As just like being the height of what it was all about. 

Lauren: I do actually have this kind of fun random memory from—I’m pretty sure it was 2011. It was a long weekend. It was a holiday weekend and I didn’t have many plans, so I was bored. I was living in New York at the time and I went on Twitter and I shared this, um, really adorable cartoon that our colleagues at The New Yorker had done about a kid going back to school after the summer break and the teacher asking, or someone asking, like, what did you do this summer? And the kid basically saying, like, I spent my summer on Twitter. And so I shared it to Twitter and then walked away from it and then the tweet blew up. And that might have been my first experience of, like, having a Twitter sort of, having a tweet go viral. Yeah. Yeah. And I looked to see why that happened and it was because—this is so random: the Fonz had retweeted me. 

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