Twitter Went Dark. Now What?
Twitter is in a race with Reddit to see who can ruin their service more quickly. That's the simplest explanation I have for Twitter's change today that hides all of their users' posts behind a login page. Until today, you could still view a favorite company's messages, or a sport team's highlights, or an interesting author's opinions, without logging on to the site. If you wanted to interact with that page by liking a post or replying to it, you needed an account. It was free to view those posts, though. And now, it's not.
For end users, this immediately devalues Twitter as a way to casually catch up with public figures. For those public figures, this immediately devalues Twitter as a way to broadcast messages to the world. The service still has many users today, of course, and those people won't go away immediately. But most recent public estimates say that Twitter has about 400 million users, or about 1/10th of the world's online population. Assuming that all of those accounts are real people, which is a giant assumption, that means about 90% of the world can't see those messages anymore.
A couple of pieces of free advice for people and organizations still posting to Twitter:
- Investigate the alternatives that are open to readers by default. Facebook and friends also make it hard for casual visitors to see messages without logging in. Many brands have flocked to Mastodon, Micro.blog, and newer services like Bluesky.
- Track your engagement numbers. If Twitter still reports a similar number of views for your messages after making them inaccessible to 90% of the world, those statistics are probably fake.
- Blogs and newsletters still exist, and you have complete control over them. Consider communicating with your most loyal followers over open, easy-to-use channels that everyone can access.
- And finally, start working on your Twitter exit strategy. As the site continues to remove the guardrails that kept it relatively civil and brand-safe, it's only going to become a worse place to hang out.