Twitter

What I’ll Miss About Twitter

When it was good, it fulfilled the promise of the internet.

Nancy Friedman
6 min readJul 24, 2023

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Ex-Twitter. Image via Vogue India (uncredited)

Since Elon Musk took over the company in November 2022, Twitter has been disintegrating in stages — and by “disintegrating” I mean “losing its integrity” as well as “falling apart.” The latest fragment to crumble has been the bluebird logo, replaced by Musk’s favorite letter, X. (See: SpaceX, Tesla’s model X, and the unpronounceable name of one of Musk’s children, X Æ A-Xii.) Very soon the Twitter name will follow the bird into the boneyard: the app’s corporate parent is now called X Corp. Tweets, says Musk, will be called X’s — by whom, though, remains unclear.

I name companies and products for a living, but what follows isn’t my professional take on the rebrand. (My unprofessional take: Dumb.) Instead, it’s a sort of requiem for the first social-media platform I enjoyed and embraced. That seemed perfectly suited to my interests and abilities. That made the internet personal, funny, enriching, and exciting.

MySpace had crested by the time I started paying attention. Facebook never appealed; the very term “friend request” still makes me cringe. Reddit was for cautious dips, not full immersion. LinkedIn was too corporate, too glossy, for an indie like me.

In the beginning I resisted Twitter, too. I was “invited to join” in January 2008 by a professional colleague — Twitter worked that way in the beginning — but it took me months to accept. Twitter was “banal,” I had sniffed in March 2007, when the service had a mere 60,000 users. It was, I wrote, “a symptom of our anxious, always-in-touch age, the era of helicoptering parents, texting teens, compulsively BlackBerrying middle managers, and, yes, the bloggerati.”

(Ah, yes, the BlackBerry. It too was essential before it wasn’t.)

And then? Two friends from the blogosphere — one of whom lived on the opposite coast and whom I wouldn’t meet in person for years — coaxed me into reconsidering Twitter. Within a week, as I confessed on my own blog, I’d completed the new-technology-adoption cycle, which for me goes like this: mockery, refusal, adamant refusal, argument, skeptical acceptance, grudging approval, enthusiasm, and — finally — obnoxious proselytizing.

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Nancy Friedman

Writer, name developer, brand consultant, idea-ist, ex-journalist. @fritinancy on Mastodon, Instagram, Bluesky, Threads, and elsewhere.