First-Gen Social Media Users Have Nowhere to Go

Matter movement, a megaphone for everyday users, and, through a wave of history-setting and history-unsettling US elections, transformed culture into a 24/7 participatory event. There is no #MeToo without Twitter, nor the beginnings of a racial reckoning in Hollywood. Twitter refashioned the look of communication through a vernacular of memes and GIFs, where resident collectives like Black Twitter and NBA Twitter excelled as virtuosos of the form.

It has now been a year since Elon Musk assumed control of Twitter, and in what felt like record time, he has taken a sledgehammer to everything that gave the platform its unique draw (issues of safety and inclusion were a problem under former CEO Jack Dorsey but have significantly worsened). There is a void in the social media universe that, until now, Twitter singularly occupied.

In its heyday, from 2008 to 2015, before digital currencies like retweets and views reoriented how users interacted with one another, no other platform offered what Twitter did, the way it did: up-to-the-second real-time conversation and analysis. It was a blank slate, and because it was a blank slate, it was a canvas to document what was happening to us and around us. It was revolutionary, and soon what we remember of it will be gone.