The big social media news of the week has been the Twitter brouhaha. Elon Musk’s confusing plan for converting Twitter to a paid service has many talking about jumping ship. In response, Japanese Twitter users have floated dusting off a social service that’s seen barely any activity since the mid-2010s.
I’m (Twitter) Blue
A recap for those whose lives don’t revolve around Twitter drama (you lucky bastards).
Last month, Elon Musk took ownership of Twitter. He promptly laid off a chunk of the staff and vowed to revamp Twitter Blue into a pay-to-play “verification” system.
Musk also declared that anyone who didn’t buy into Twitter Blue would eventually see their engagement take a nosedive. Such a move would effectively spell the end of Twitter as a free social media service.
It hasn’t quite gone according to plan. First, Musk’s team may have laid off a bit too many people. Multiple reports say Twitter is trying to convince some ejected employees to climb back into the rocket. If they don’t, some former insiders say the service could slowly start crumbling.
To make matters worse, the number one topic of discussion on Twitter in the past week has been which post-Twitter service to hop to. A healthy percentage seems to be gravitating towards the open-source, distributed social media service Mastodon. Countersocial and CoHost are also enjoying a surge in popularity. Some users are even running back to Tumblr, which not-so-coincidentally abolished its nudity prohibition just as Musk took over.
As of this writing, people seem to be using these services primarily as Twitter backups. (Though I’m seeing increasing activity on Unseen Japan’s Mastodon account.) But that could change in an instant.
Twitter and Japan
It took a few days for the panic surrounding Musk’s acquisition to bleed into Japanese Twitter. But bleed it did. Like everyone else, Japan now finds itself discussing alternatives should the whale fail one final time.