Written by Bridget Beach
With half of Twitter’s staff gone, several crises stemming from its (brief) verified account for eight bucks experiment, and several bugs and software issues just a short time after being purchased by Elon Musk, the future of Twitter is looking rather bleak. These recent events have many, including me, pondering what a world without Twitter might look like.
Ranked as the 16th most popular social networking website worldwide and having 8.85% of the world’s social media user base, Twitter is dwarfed by other platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. In 2021, Twitter brought in $4.5 billion from advertising. Facebook, however, brought in nearly $115 billion (!!!). Despite Twitter possibly seeming unimpressive on paper, its user experience is unique. Basically, while, yes, Twitter is its own kind of hell, it does serve purposes, and a lot of people would be sad to see it go.
Twitter users don’t just post funny stuff: we are avid news consumers. News often involves politics, such as court rulings, policy being proposed and voted on by Congress, or a politician sharing his or her opinion. This combined with Twitter’s popularity among young people (about 62% of Twitter users are ages 13-34) means that Twitter can (and does) impact the politics of young people in ways like encouraging voting, offering resources and information to help potential voters register and vote, providing direct access to reps and other government officials/bodies, promoting conversation regarding politics, and allowing people a platform where they can organize and take action by doing things like protesting, striking, or contacting a representative.
Without Twitter, these users would be hung out to dry and left with two choices: either miss out, or use other platforms. It’s likely that at least some of the news that these users would normally consume would fall through the cracks. News contains valuable information that can have real-life consequences for all of us, and we can’t make informed decisions without access to pertinent information.