Mastodon and Instagram Can’t Replace Twitter

They operate with completely different dynamics and intent.

Rachel Presser

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Black abstract image of blue and purple smoke with distorted Twitter logo on the right, and Mastodon and Instagram logos on the left
Created by me

In the matter of barely of fortnight, a $44 billion shitpost upended countless lives as employees flee or get fired for the tiniest transgressions.

There’s a whole other essay in the wings about how no one should have that kind of money to just cavalierly buy a massive mode of communication that millions of people rely on for everything from news to community-building to dating, but it won’t change the fact that this is irrevocably messing with peoples’ lives and livelihoods.

Speaking as a games industry professional, Twitter was essentially our LinkedIn. Most of the very online set of games folks have migrated to Mastodon, Cohost, and Discord. But these platforms are just absolutely nothing like Twitter.

They’re a stopgap for the foreseeable future. But there is no way they could possibly replace Twitter for both industry-facing purposes and connecting with fans, the press, and people who may have never played a game in their lives then found themselves unable to turn away from a point-and-click adventure game that was barely discussed.

As someone who’s lived through various eras of the Internet, lately I’ve been parsing why people migrated from various platforms even if they weren’t shut down or drastically changed as the result of a hostile takeover.

Before we dive into why moving to another social media just isn’t the solution in the present, let’s first look to the past.

An eminent example that comes to mind are two sites I frequently inhabited in my late teens and early twenties: Newgrounds and MySpace.

via archive.org, what the front page looked like in 2008: a few years after Newgrounds’ heyday ended but before the death of Flash and birth of mobile-first Internet culture

There’s a reason I bring them up, aside from the obvious frequent personal usage back in the day. The two sites didn’t “cross beams” that much, unlike how people cross-post content to different social platforms constantly today. There is far more ubiquity in the modern Internet even if people like to have it all…

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Rachel Presser

Game dev, writer, small biz & tax consultant to indie devs. That loud socialist Frog Slut from The Bronx, now in Angel City. https://linktr.ee/sonictoad