I joined Twitter back in March 2008, and it’s been 14 years since I joined it. I don’t remember the exact reason I joined it, but I think one reason is probably in the early days of iOS (iPhone) app development, many developers are on Twitter as well. In recent years, the platform has expanded beyond techies, and into politics, entertainment, breaking news etc. The breaking news feature of Twitter has been there for a while, in my opinion. We can find important news on election, on both domestic and international affairs such as war, and so on. Twitter itself grew quite a bit over last 14 years too. I still remember in its early days, it’s quite often to see the whale picture when the system was down. I vaguely recall when they started they used Ruby (Ruby on rails) a web technology was popular or getting traction then, and slowly changed to something more comprehensive or complicated.
For me personally I probably switched my interest there too, in last few years, I am mostly interested in FinTweets (financial or stock related tweets). I tried to stay away from politics, and it was not always successful.
Compared to other platform such as Facebook and LinkedIn, I think I am more open minded, or sometimes blunt, one reason is probably I don’t know a lot of people in person, another reason is probably the culture of Twitter itself is more open. Note Tweets by default is available to everyone in the world (something newbies on twitter sometimes did not realize).
The business of Twitter obviously was not doing well over its 10 years of public market presence, until Elon took it over recently. Elon may even has some of his points: on people’s desire to work or not work, and blue verified could help clean up the public / digital town square. Interesting to learn some of his other thoughts such as easy / smooth jazz mode, vs heavy metal mode (combat mode?), and also his X.com grand plan 22 years ago. This is a recent interview of Elon btw.
Back to Elon’s idea (or ideal) of public / digital town square. This reminded me of something. Note I grew up in China and free speech (like the 1st amendment in the US constitution) was not emphasized. But in 1980s when I was in high school there was still a lot room for feedback or open communication. So once the students in my class put up a feedback notebook, and things quickly went off rails (imagine the early days of the BBS or discussion forum, and then put high school kids to it). Good intention alone sometimes is not enough. I guess similar can be said about Elon’s dream about full automatous driving (self driving), as well as the robots that do all of our work (in addition to chores).