By Rev. Marty Levesque
Twitter, once a vibrant and accessible platform, has gradually become a victim of its new owner’s chaotic whims, making it increasingly difficult for users to engage and communicate effectively.
After Elon Musk's purchase of the platform, it introduced various features and changes that have contributed to its dwindling usability, leaving many users frustrated and disenchanted.
Twitter's struggle with misinformation and the spread of fake news has further deteriorated its usability. After firing most of its staff, efforts to curb the dissemination of false information, misleading tweets are finding their way onto the platform in greater quantity, sowing confusion and mistrust among users. This issue has made it increasingly challenging for individuals to discern between reliable and unreliable sources of information.
The rise of bots and automated accounts has also impacted Twitter's usability negatively. These automated accounts often engage in spammy behaviour, flooding the platform with repetitive, irrelevant, and often hateful content. As a result, genuine user interactions are buried under a barrage of automated messages, making it difficult for users to have authentic conversations.
Needless to say, Twitter or X's best days are behind us now. It is time to start looking forward to where the new Agora will be to genuinely connect with the mission field and seekers. Three new platforms are moving to fill the space left by Twitter's impending demise.
The first is Bluesky. Jack Dorsey who founded Twitter and left the company when Musk finalized the purchase has backed this alternative social networking platform. Much like when Twitter itself launched those many years ago, the site is for members only but is growing regularly as a player in this space.
The next is Mastodon, which is a decentralized open-sourced federated social media platform, to which anybody can contribute code, and which anyone can run on their own server infrastructure, if they wish, or join servers run by other people within the fediverse network. The learning curve is a little steeper for the average user and uptake on the platform has been slow.
Finally, there is Meta’s Threads, linked to an Instagram account. And while the transition to Threads is much easier, especially if you are already familiar with Instagram, I worry about one company owning all the social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram and Threads would all be under the one banner of Meta and Mark Zuckerberg.
It will be interesting over the next year to see which platform will become the preferred destination. For the church at this moment, the most logical action is to migrate to Threads. But a word of warning, the landscape may shift quickly, especially once Bluesky moves from members only to an open platform.
The key to this shifting landscape is adaptability, be ready to shift your church's social media presence to be where the mission field is going rather than where it has been.
Rev. Marty Levesque is the rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo. He served as diocesan social media officer. firstname.lastname@example.org