It's Timbo Denning from LinkedIn & Medium. I'm about to go on holidays so it's the I-don't-give-a-fudge kind of vibes today.
Here's my most shared tweet this week (click to read all of it):
Everyone Is Wrong About the Collapse of Twitter (“X”)
Twitter (“X”) is the most talked about topic of 2023.
Everyone wants a slice. The Atlantic has run many hit pieces. So has The New York Times, Washington Post, and other prestigious publications.
You can’t blame them.
It’s a juicy topic and it sells reader subscriptions. If you take a slice at Twitter or Elon, you’re guaranteed to get eyeballs and put arsenic in someone’s daily cappuccino. Such is life.
I disagree with all the haters. Twitter has become a better experience for me. It’s important to talk about why that is as you may be thinking about platforms like “X” in the wrong way.
The biggest mistake Elon made was Elon
If Elon was to buy Twitter again he should do one thing: not attach his name to it. He should never have become CEO. He should never have let his ego run the show and been so public with the damn thing.
But he did. And now when everyone thinks of Twitter they think of Elon, even though he’s put someone else in charge and is mostly out of the way.
The thing you have to understand about Elon is he’s one of the greatest sh*tposters in history. He seeks to make you laugh and gaslight parts of society for fun. It doesn’t make him evil, but you could argue he’s an immature 50-something male who should grow up.
I don’t debate Elon because it’s no better than trying to debate right versus left. There’s no winner. Humans are tribal. We choose our side in these matters and that is that. No problemo.
As Elon fades into the background his effect on Twitter will lessen.
Arguing about personalities like Elon and throwing mud at a tech giant is low-level living. It’s designed as a distraction to take you away from the real issues. Opt out of the circus show.
When I look at all the apps on my phone, I can’t help but think how much I dislike many of the founders. My dislike of Bezos doesn’t make me not use Amazon. And my love-hate relationship with Elon doesn’t influence whether I use Twitter.
The new name sucks
You’ll notice I say Twitter a lot in this article.
That’s because the new name “X” sucks more than Zucks. But who the F cares? A name doesn’t matter that much. People will get used to the new name and go on about their day.
There are bigger problems to worry about than the renaming of an app. Some of the best tech products have crap names — like Zillow. It sounds like g1golo. Yet millions of people still use it. Or Venmo which sounds like d1ldo.
I used to use “Dogpile” search engine in the 90s. It sounds like a pile of sh*t if you know what I mean. What about Hulu? Sounds like “Yoo hoo dumb dumb.”
Some of the best companies have bad names, because users think more about how helpful a product is to them than they do the name.
All social platforms put their interests ahead of users
X got busted.
They made it harder and slower for users to access outside platforms like Substack, Threads, New York Times, and more (according to TechCrunch).
Some people are mad. Very mad.
I ain’t mad at it. Every social media platform does whatever they want. None of these apps are truly a town square. No. They’re businesses and this is too easily forgotten.
If you get banned there’s no Twitter Supreme Court to save you. If you say the wrong thing there’s no democratic way to vote you off the platform. And users of these apps don’t get to choose new updates or help make the policies that govern them.
It’s just business.
These social apps are designed to make the owners as much money as possible. So use them for your own purpose, but don’t feel for them or, worse, befriend them.
They can ban you with one click if they deem you a d*ck.
Just use Twitter to amplify whatever your goals are in life. The moment it doesn’t add value to you anymore, give it up like a smoker gives up ciggies.
The trend no one is talking about
Social communities are fragmenting.
The liberals love Mastodon. The freedom of speech crowd loves Substack. The business gurus love LinkedIn. Then there’s Reddit, Quora, and Jack Dorsey’s new BlueSky.
The old days of one app — like Facebook — dominating are over.
Just like in real life, we will all join the social apps that most align with our tribes or the topics we care about. There’s nothing wrong with this. The same will happen with Twitter.
People who like what it offers will go there, people who have their undies in a knot about Elon won’t.
Micro-communities are the future.
It’s cool to be a platform critic
In the 90s you were cool if you smoked pot and listened to Nirvana
In the 2020s you’re cool if you fling poo at social media apps, billionaires, or anyone who’s had some success in life.
Being the opposite of the mainstream is the new trend. Being contrarian gets you a sh*t-ton of “views.” You can build an entire career on being a doomer and shutting down every good innovation humankind has ever come up with.
- Mars? Fantasy.
- Nuclear fusion? Dumb.
- Charitable cause? Tax loophole for the rich.
- New virus that came from a bird? We’re all gonna die.
- Richard Branson? Rich knobhead. What did he ever do for people?
Critics are only cool if we make them cool. Don’t let the low-paid business of criticism trick you into thinking there’s some magical downfall.
Twitter ain’t going anywhere. Too many banks and billionaires have money invested in it to just let it die a quick death.
What’s cool is to be an optimist. To share ideas. That’s what social apps are for. And that’s how you carve out a career for yourself that makes life just that little bit easier.
Your X experience is whatever you make it
What drives the “collapse” narrative of Twitter often comes down to the content people see when they log into the app.
I don’t get this.
The “for you” feed is what Twitter says you should consume. If you click this you’re a robot. I don’t touch this feed. The way to consume social media is to follow a few people you admire. Then see who they follow.
Then make a list of these folks and only consume the newsfeed full of these people. If you do that you won’t get Donald Duck political posts in your feed or crazy conspiracy theories.
All sorts of wild stuff appears on social media because it’s a reflection of humanity — and we’re a freaking crazy bunch.
If you hate Twitter it’s the equivalent of saying you hate humanity. Just spend time with your tribe online the same way you do in real life.
You don’t hang out in a bar with strippers if you’re a happily married man who gave up alcohol a decade ago, do you?
So don’t hang out with the wrong tribe online. Simple.
The smartest thing Twitter ever did was copy Youtube.
Many social platforms have experimented with creator monetization, and lots of them have failed. Just look at the TikTokers. They get millions of views and might earn $3.99 and get a red flag spy camera up their butt.
Nice. But you can’t pay your bills with coffee pennies or anal spyware.
What Elon and Twitter figured out is, in the new dawn of social media apps, it’ll all be about the creator talent. Platforms will fight for talent and those who offer bad incentives we’ll find themselves drowning in AI-created, low-quality, clickbait, 10-Ways-To-Drink-Water-listicle crap.
The quality of content is a reflection of the quality of platform incentives.
The geniuses behind these social apps haven’t figured it out yet. But they will. Social media is just television 2.0. X has started paying creators, and this trend will continue. More ways to make money will be added.
X creators can ask their audience to buy paid subscriptions, too, just like Substack. This is the future.
I wish every platform understood how important the Mr Beasts are of the world. They drive culture and therefore spending. Dahhh.
Why X is still a good investment of your time
The public stats show Twitter isn’t dying. Record user growth, record time spent on the platform, etc.
The positive turnaround Twitter has gone through looks like this:
So you may decide you want to give it another chance or just ignore all the noise and curate your time on the app the way an OCD person like me organizes their underwear draw.
X is a good place to find opportunities
We need eyeballs to get given opportunities. X has a lot of those.
If you post on X daily it’s not that hard to start getting direct messages. Those DMs will lead to opportunities you could never think of.
People will want your expertise. They may want to hire you. Or they could have a Zoom call with you that leads you to an amazing person. Attract opportunities rather than apply for them, or worse, ask for permission.
Smart people are easy to reach
My business partner Todd is an odd guy.
He has many bad hair days and some of the worst Taylor Swift t-shirts I’ve ever seen another human wear. Who does he think he is?
When he posts on X I get scared.
He’s quirky as hell and doesn’t always read the room. Like the day he showed up to a masterclass with me wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a wide-brimmed straw hat when the rest of us were in business casual attire.
Weirdo. Still, he’s the guy that’s always in the replies. He has notifications turned on for the people who inspire him. One of them is Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham.
When Paul talks, Todd looks at him the way he looked at his wife at the alter on the day he got married. Recently Paul replied to Todd. So he did it again and got another reply.
What he figured out is if he spoke to Paul enough times on Twitter, he could probably reach out and have him recognize his name. That way when Todd asked him on a coffee date Paul would likely say yes.
See where I’m going? X is the easiest place to meet your heroes.
X has some interesting conversations
I’m as dumb as a plank of wood.
I don’t have Einstein thoughts or breakthrough ideas that’ll get us to Mars — and that’s okay. We’re not all geniuses. When I’m looking for new ideas or new conversations, I look in the explore tab of X.
Nuclear fusion, cancer breakthroughs, economic updates — there’s so much to learn about. Short posts on X are so damn powerful. They help you get a 10,000-foot view of a topic before you decide to go deep.
Naval Ravikant says he reads an entire book and then summarizes it in a one-sentence tweet.
That’s the magic of the platform and it saves busy people a lot of time. Before you read a book on a new topic, start with reading a tweet.
X is where your boss isn’t hiding
If you have a job then your boss might be reading what you say on LinkedIn. Chances are they won’t be paying attention to your X.
And not using your real name alongside a cartoon avatar picture on X is the default. Privacy, check. No boss, check. Freedom to speak, check.
Twitter/X is whatever you make it. Just like life is whatever you make of it.
Stop getting fooled by the false narrative that Twitter is collapsing. Use it or don’t use it. Curate your experience. Focus on if you learn or find new ideas on the app. Have an open mind. And stop letting left-and-right political thinking run your life.
No social media app or topic is black and white. There’s nuance … and that’s the whole point of getting out of your bubble and daring to look in grey areas like X and starting conversations.
Thoughts and ideas progress humanity. That’s what X is for, the rest is a dog and pony show for fools.
– Tim Denning
Look I know that was a long one, but...
I needed to give you my unfiltered feelings about Twitter/X. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the super ugly.
But like I mentioned, still worth being on the platform.
IF you're doing it the smart way.
That's what I teach in Twitter (X) Badassery.
Early bird pricing ends in a few hours.
Time to get off the fence.