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Monday, March 4, 2024

How Donald Trump and Elon Musk killed Twitter, with Marty Baron and Zoe Schiffer

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Decoder is my present about huge concepts and different issues. And at the moment, we’re bringing you a particular episode the place we’re simply going to speak about one very huge downside: Twitter. 

2023 will go down because the 12 months that Elon Musk killed Twitter. First, he did it in a giant method by shopping for the corporate, firing a lot of the staff, and destabilizing the platform; then, he did it in a small however necessary and symbolic method by renaming the company X and attempting to make a full break with what got here earlier than.

So now that the story of the corporate named Twitter is formally over, it felt necessary to cease and ask: what was Twitter anyway, and why had been so many highly effective individuals obsessive about it for thus lengthy?

Right here at The Verge, we don’t typically look again; we’re a web site in regards to the future, in spite of everything. However typically it’s necessary to cease, mark a second, and think about why a expertise or a device made us all really feel a sure method. And Twitter actually calls for that stage of consideration. 

The necessary factor to find out about Twitter is that its management by no means really understood the platform, particularly not at first. Twitter’s customers had been the place all of its greatest concepts got here from, from hashtags to retweets. The customers had been those who made Twitter a house for each absurdist humor and major social movements. Twitter’s customers additionally turned it into the beating heart of the news industry, the place information nearly at all times broke first and quick and the place journalists and their blue examine marks grew to become a part of a brand new social class that dominated the web dialog, for higher and for worse.

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And fittingly, it was Twitter’s customers who finally killed it. The basic story of Twitter is outlined by two of its most devoted energy customers: Donald Trump and Elon Musk. Each males had been hooked on Twitter, outlined Twitter, modified it, broke it, after which finally put it to relaxation. What’s left now, and what comes subsequent, remains to be an open query. 

To drag all this aside and make sense of it, I talked to 2 individuals with deep experience within the media, Twitter, and the way they work together. 

Marty Baron is the former executive editor of The Washington Publish. He ran the paper in the course of the Trump administration, when two completely different challenges reached fever pitch. First was President Trump’s usage of Twitter to wage an nearly day by day data battle. And second was the battle between particular person reporters constructing their manufacturers on Twitter and the wants of the newspaper as an establishment.

Try the episode, and stay up for extra Decoder episodes like this in 2024. We’re engaged on bringing you second episodes of the present each week that ship extra evaluation, storytelling, and interviews. Keep tuned.

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