in a way, this is how it should be
Although I rarely use Twitter, I have loved hearing about all the ways it's totally messed up. Actually that's half-true: I like hearing about all the ways it's messed up technically; I don't like hearing about the people sleeping on the office cots. Even when I'm not using the thing, I'm always hearing a new, really funny fact about it.
Here's my fuzzy understanding of where things are at: everyone thought Twitter was going to vanish instantly shortly after half the company got laid off, but what's actually been happening is it's kinda like the site's brakes got cut and it's just coasting along trying not to run anyone over. Elon Musk wanted people to pay $8 for a Sneetch star/actually useful indicator of authenticity without realizing that these two ideas are kind of opposed to each other. So he introduced a yellow icon and square avatars for some accounts, and also made it so that everyone had to see his dumb posts in the feed. Meanwhile, the site is less reliable and more unstable than ever. Last week, he tried to remove "legacy verified" status from accounts. I logged in on my supposed last day as a Verified to share important ideas, like some funny guys I came up with named "3M Dog Night Shyamalan" and "BABÁR" — but apparently the culling didn't work because removing verified status from accounts is more complex than it seems. For April Fools' Day, he changed the bird icon to the doge dog, only he did it two days later because... who knows. Also, he open-sourced the Twitter ranking algorithm that revealed he had an explicit carveout for himself. Internally, he's saying the company is worth less than half of the $44 billion he bought it for. Earlier this week, Substack introduced a feature that allowed users to publish things they had typed into boxes, which Twitter thinks is dangerous competition, I guess. So now it's doing a basic string-match for "substack.com" and limiting the ability to share links with that string on Twitter. I can't say definitively whether this guy is dumb as a brick, but based on the last six-ish months, the data paints a picture.
And yet: this is kinda how the web should be, no? I don't really think there should only be three big sites where all of the people on earth go to freak out about videos culled from a fourth site. I prefer the web most when it's kinda messy and janky, and things move quickly inter-platform as opposed to intra. And I do think we'd all benefit a little from continued awareness that our websites are made by a few guys who may or may not suck. My current theory of Musk is that he's a guy who did a lot of coding many, many years ago and it made him very rich and confident, and so nobody who still works at Twitter has the energy to correct him when assumes, "If we go into the
<img> tag and change
doge.png, we'll have ourselves an epic prank." I mean, if you need to create a carveout on your service for one person not just on Earth currently, but ever in human history forward or backward, why not just hard-code that thing at the source? It's not like the value of "user who is precisely Elon Musk" is going to change dynamically any time soon.
Being able to sense someone messing with a website in real-time, moving the menu items around and forgetting to close an HTML tag here and there, is a neat feeling. It feels scrappy. I don't mean to excuse any of this and I feel kinda bad for people who still rely on Twitter. But as someone with no skin in the game, I am enjoying the process, if not the result. I honestly prefer the dynamism of a guy who keeps changing the layout of the world's most expensive MySpace page to sites of comparable scale promising me a new, inconsequential feature.
OTHER LARGE PLATFORM: We will be making the button a little rounder. It's currently in beta-testing and then we will test it for 6 months in New Zealand before introducing it in Brussels. American users may or may not ever see it in 2026, pending local rules and regulations.
TWITTER: All Tweets now feature the Domino's Pizza Tracker. We pushed this feature directly to prod 6 days ago.
It's kinda fun to see someone mucking up a website for any reason other than delivering value to the most users and/or shareholders. Or at least, doing it for that reason in the stupidest, most roundabout way.
Very much in the abstract, I'm sorta aligned with him (IN THE ABSTRACT) on the idea that if I have a website, I should just be able to change something and see that change manifested on next refresh. Are my users talking about a website I don't like? Run a simple
.replace() on all posts. Want to change the logo for a fun, li'l prank? I would simply go into
index.html and change the file name. Need to removed verified status from an account? I change
But that's not really how it works anymore. The way the web works now is: You have to compile your Node.js bundles into the dockerized Kubernetes, and once the Redis caches are asynchronously flooberized into your AWS Red Hat instances with optimized SQL queries, you can start distributing JWTs, interpolating string literals, and distributing content over CDNs with performative grombulations at 10x, assuming you've A/B tested correctly and the user doesn't have AdBlock enabled. This ever-growing heap is why software engineers are paid $1,000,000 per annum and get 180 days of vacation (with rollover).
Fundamentally, I think people are mad and freaking out about this because they have spent the last decade slowly ceding all of their creative power and infrastructure to some other guy. Everything's moved a layer or two up in terms of abstraction. Whereas a web user could once change an
<img> tag, and font size, and page layout, and what happens when you click a button, they can now only get the instant gratification of changing the web by updating their profile pic on someone else's thing. Makes you think. Okay bye.