Twitter apparently has more lives than the cats of proverb. According to one media account or another, it died in 2010. And again in 2012. And now, per a very buzzy, very preemptive “eulogy” in The Atlantic, it has died a third and final time: “Twitter,” its authors prophesize, “is entering its twilight.”
I have very little interest in wading into the Great Think Piece Battle this article stirred up, which is probably still raging on a tech blog or — ironically! — Twitter feed near you. But for the heck of it, let’s consider the beloved media pastime of predicting the death of popular Internet things. If you’re feeling morbid and know where to look, in fact, you can find a new eulogy for some social network just about every day. Zynga purportedly died just this morning. R.I.P.!
Facebook, for instance, has apparently been on the decline since 2007 (a.k.a., its infancy), when parents started making the network uncool. Since then, creepy co-workers have killed Facebook, Hollywood has killed Facebook, teenagers have killed Facebook, and Oculus Rift has killed Facebook. Somehow Facebook still has 1.23 billion monthly active users and $7.9 billion in revenue. (Good news, guys: There is life after death!)
As for Twitter, major tech blogs and media outlets have predicted its decline nearly a dozen times since 2009, when Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove first fretted that sponsored tweets marked “the end of Twitter as we know it.” Then there was Businessweek a month later (“will sluts be the end of Twitter?,” it asked, more or less) and eMarketer two months after that (“data on Twitter decline stacks up.”) Perhaps it’s most salient, however, that two years prior to this latest death knell, The Atlantic published another decline-of-Twitter piece:
In general, it seems to me that the people I once conversed with the most are on Twitter far less often than they used to be, but it’s possible that they are just not there at the same time that I am … All of this makes me wonder whether Twitter as a vehicle of conversation doesn’t scale very well.