I’ll never forgive Elon Musk for what he’s done to Twitter - GulfToday

I’ll never forgive Elon Musk for what he’s done to Twitter

Elon Musk's brief stint at Twitter has been a roller coaster ride.

Elon Musk's brief spell at Twitter has been a roller coaster ride.

Vix Leyton, The Independent

With Twitter seemingly on the brink of disappearing, locking horns with Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads as the battle between billionaires for social media supremacy reaches its end game, some will celebrate the seemingly inevitable demise of the platform.

But I will always remember the glory days. Twitter has been a little digital home wherever I was in the world (or in my head) and in a way I owe my life to it. So as the curtain comes down, I have had reason to think about how different things would have been without it. There was so much promise, so much potential, when Twitter first burst into our lives.

Before it became an industry in itself, celebrities were managing their own twitters, suddenly giving you an unfiltered view of who they were outside of their PR messaging — Adele famously had hers taken off her as she was a little bit too much herself (usually after a couple of pints). For the first time there was an opportunity to be seen by the A-list in a way you never had before. I got an inexplicable follow from Britney Spears early in my time on Twitter, and I check in every now and again to see if she still does. I’ll laugh at the notion of her occasionally logging in and being greeted with a sandwich I am particularly proud of, or a 10-tweet rant about paying £5 for a Diet Coke. An admittedly flimsy connection, but a connection nonetheless, to someone otherwise as remote as the stars.

As a result of this unprecedented access, you saw endless people shooting their shot — tweeting famous people to do everything from pay their dental bill for teeth knocked out in the mosh pits of their shows, to inviting them to their prom. Occasionally the shot landed — just often enough to keep everyone’s hopes high. Small businesses were saved by a single tweet leading to a flurry of sales, and love stories were created by people uploading a photo of someone they had a fleeting magical evening with, pressing “post” with the flourishing sign off of “Twitter, do your thing”. Twitter went quickly from reflecting and talking about the news to becoming the news. You felt “it” — whatever “it” was – really could happen to you.

I know it could, because it happened to me. “It” wasn’t always necessarily positive. I once had one of the worst days of Twitter in my life replying to some criticism of Lizzo — a woman I love, admire and aspire to be like — for signing up to be a Weightwatchers ambassador. It never occurred to me in a million years that she would see it, let alone reply to it, and the deluge of Lizzo fans piling in to tell me off was a lesson I will never forget in making assumptions. No doubt she forgot me almost immediately, but I’ll probably cringe about accidentally trolling one of my favourite musical artists every night before I fall asleep for the rest of my life. Lizzo, if you are somehow reading this, I’m sorry.

But the biggest Twitter-fuelled life change came for me four years ago, when my favourite comedian Mark Watson followed me back after I boldly joined in on a conversation he was having with fellow stand-up Katy Brand as the two mocked Hollywood takes on real-life jobs. I remember being delighted to see that “follow” in my notifications. I was a huge comedy fan, but I never dreamed what would happen after. In a bid to get over a fear of public speaking I did a stand-up comedy course months later, tweeting that I wasn’t cured but I was keen to try doing an actual stand-up gig. Mark Watson happened to be checking Twitter at just the right time, saw my tweet and gave me that very first gig. I am now — through a chain of events that started with that one brief post — a professional comedian taking my second show to Edinburgh Fringe.

Yes, Twitter has been a toxic place at times. But it has also been a global community like none other, creating friendships, opportunities and chaos, and providing us with one giant water cooler to gather round in one of history’s most absurd periods. Many companies will try to capture the magic of the company’s heyday, and it remains to be seen how successful they are. But I’ll forever be grateful that I was there for the first time around. Thanks Twitter, it’s been emotional.

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