Will artists quit Twitter, and if so is this the time to invest into communities?

It being Halloween, there’s precious little industry news to report, so I’ll apologise now for the short shrift you’re getting below.

That said, all eyes are on Elon Musk and Twitter today, as various stories emerge speculating on the future of the company now he has taken ownership. Perhaps the biggest development currently doing the rounds is that the company is going to charge $20/mo for Twitter Blue, and that this will be the only way to retain your Verified blue tick.

For me, this perfectly illustrates the complexity of the problem Musk now has to solve. In this case, he’s confusing the purpose of the Verified tick. It serves as a means to demonstrate that this is the official account for a person on the platform, thereby confirming identity as bona fide. Musk appears to be thinking it instead could just show that one is a paying customer.

In the world of music, that blue badge has been something of a lifesaver in the past, helping artists establish that they are the genuine article and not some imposter.

Should this $20/mo deal go ahead, it isn’t hard to see fake accounts popping up all over the place, potentially conning users and generally making trouble for all involved. Misinformation may well run riot.

As a day one move then, this one feels pretty ill-conceived.

I use Twitter more than any other social network. The Motive Unknown Digest is published through its Revue platform (something I sincerely hope Musk elects not to mothball). Even so, part of me kind of hopes Twitter goes up in smoke.

Hear me out.

We are moving into something of a post-social world. Facebook is struggling, Insta feels like it is going the same way, and the only platform really surging in growth isn’t a social one at all (TikTok).

At the same time, Web3 is providing an alternative approach here – one in which you control platforms plugging into your own data ID, rather than your data being littered across all manner of different companies.

With that change may come a very welcome simplification of things. For some time now, artists have complained about burnout around social media. Shifting to a new landscape in which you seek out the artist’s community and join it, rather than all the artists clamouring for your attention in one centralised platform (i.e. Twitter, Insta etc) may not be a bad thing at all.

Factor in the means to sell directly from posts etc – as is possible on the likes of Lens already – and it isn’t hard to see this as a positive step forward that benefits artists, better engages fans and generally brings a greater element of equity around engagement, among other things.

Put another way: if like me you’ve spent 15+ years on Twitter, what do you have to show for it? Twitter has accrued all manner of data about you to sell, but what did you get?

So perhaps change is due. It may well prove a little painful getting there, but I still don’t think it will be a bad thing to move to a post-social world of smaller, more niche communities with a far greater sense of invested value in each one.

Have a great evening 🎃


🎶 written whilst listening to this amazing playlist of Drexciya-inspired electro/techno, selected by Father Dukes. Every one’s a banger. Enjoy!

P.S. Speaking of Lens – we are still able to fast-track whitelisting to join the platform if anyone’s interested. Just complete this form and we’ll process applications each Friday. You’ll need Metamask or any other ETH wallet to apply.

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