We've all seen how myspace slowly fizzled out with the introduction of facebook, and we've watched facebook die out over these past years, only kept alive by our parents' generation (meaning it will likely have to end when they do), but what happens when our familiar staples (the big sites) die? We've watched twitter be demolished over the past year by Elon Musk. Reddit's API changes being fully rolled out today, which in the weeks prior, saw many subreddits doing a blackout, making their content only able to view to people joined in those communities, devaluing Reddit as their content showed up less in simple google searches (What reddit relies on). Youtube has been testing ways to hinder those using adblock. What happens when sites like these end?
Now you might be thinking, I don't primarily use the internet to browse these big sites. Cool, I don't either, but I'm still concerned how this will impact the internet as a whole, seeing as these big corporations are running all the apps that are the bulk of internet traffic these days. Like it or not, we live in an era where many internet users have rarely used the internet outside of using it on their smartphones, and much less people using the internet commonly for things outside of twitter, reddit, instagram, youtube, facebook, tiktok, etc.
I've talked to people who have never browsed a forum (outside of reddit) before, people who don't remember a time before social media became the primary usage for most (enter the smartphone age).
Over the past year, whilst twitter has been killing itself, we've seen people migrate to platforms like mastodon, and push support for the fediverse (a community of decentralised social networks). There have been many attempts at making a new twitter, see Donald Trump's Truth social, Bluesky, and everything else under the sun. People proposing people move to reddit (which is now an unrecommended take for obvious reasons), tumblr (thank god it's still around, hey?), and just bringing back blogging. People have pushed for making personal sites as a replacement,
"delete twitter, make a neocities!" - a quote from someone that doesn't understand that neocities isn't a social media platform, but rather a webhosting platform.
While people desperately try out new platforms, and get frustrated and return to twitter, it still remains true that people are questioning their social media usage and how they use the internet as a whole, especially now that it is dire, with the 600 tweet a day viewing limit.
Of course, reflecting on internet usage has been a discourse outside of twitter discussion for over a year, as well. Reflecting on chronically online culture, discussions about algorithms, the condemnation of tiktok, the condemnation of tiktok by people who continue to use it despite their condemnation...
While people aren't necessarily taking action yet, they are still thinking about the ways they interface with social media and the internet as a whole.
With death comes rebirth, but what comes next? Well, there's many ways this could all go. The corporations survive, people pay for twitter subscriptions, forums become more monopolised and privatised by moving to discord forums (hell), people become less concerned with how they interface with the web and embrace scrolling without meaning.
Or maybe things could be less bleak.
For artists, this twitter situation is quite perilous. In the modern age of art, artists rely on social media interaction to market their services and make their livelihoods, both creatively and financially, they rely on these social media structures for success and existence. Many artists preferred twitter, and refused to go anywhere else, but that has now backfired. My recommendations for alternate platforms for artists (and they are preexisting platforms, as artists rely on social media that is convenient to consumers to survive these days): pixiv, newgrounds, instagram, tumblr.
Pixiv: a japanese art site, mostly anime/manga style art, I'm not sure how relevant this could be for people who don't speak japanese/interact with a japanese audience, or don't specialize in anime/manga art (the site is not exclusive, but that is what does well there), but it is a solid site.
Newgrounds: It's newgrounds. Could work for some.
Instagram: The app is unideal in many ways, but artists find success here.
Tumblr: People are moving over to tumblr, I can't say it's the best bet, but it certainly is an option.
What to do about reddit? Make actual forums, and I mean actual forums, not just DISCORD FORUMS. I hope discord forums die. Forum information needs to be easily accesible.
Overall: Reasses the way you interact with the internet, the way you form communities, connect with others, organize, conduct business, entertain yourself, over-entertain yourself, inform yourself, over-inform yourself. Find a way to interface with the net in a way that works for you, not the way that was prescribed to you by the big corporations, not the ways that work against you, not the ways that waste your time.