What the barking crow would do without Twitter – The Barking Crow


We, the media at large, talk about a lot of things that we know ten percent of. It’s a bit of a job. We are not scientists, but we know enough about science to talk about it. We’re not professional sports executives, but we know enough about roster building to talk about it. We are not sociologists, but we know enough about life to write chronicles. It’s kind of the premise of the media: once in a while there will be a crossover event where an economist gets his hands on a word processor, but for the most part the media is an intermediary between experts and the public, or – more often on the sporting side, anyway – a commentator with no credentials.

It’s not all media, of course, but it’s a long way to get my point across, so let’s keep going anyway. What I’m trying to say is that we here at The Barking Crow don’t know what’s going to happen to Twitter. It’s certainly tumultuous right now, we can see – that many employees leave a company at the same time is a big deal – but we’re not sure if Twitter is something that relies on institutional knowledge to stay afloat or if new recruits could support him at the top. We also don’t know if a non-technical decision could doom or excite the site in an existence-altering way. But the feeling Is this where for millions Twitter may be disappearing, and because we’re in the media business, it’s kind of scary.

The Barking Crow is not a mainstream medium, and as such it relies on Twitter a bit more than even the most Twitter-addicted “big-J reporters”. For many journalists, Twitter is an active space, but their livelihood comes from their point of sale. For us, Twitter is how we drive our fanbase, and it’s how we often acquire chunks of that fanbase. It is also, and importantly, a useful networking tool. And, of course, that probably fuels the smoldering fire of anger we carry with us against the state of society, at large, among other mental and emotional costs.

Twitter is a few things, but one way to assess it is to say it’s a public curse and a private good. Twitter is probably bad for society. But it’s good for a lot of people, including—we think—us. It’s so essential to the media industry that demand as a concept seems likely to rage whether or not capital-T Twitter continues to exist. It’s that last bit that nicely segues into what we really want to talk about, which is what The Barking Crow will do if Twitter crashes, whether it happens in a big fireworks display or a gradual disintegration that leaves Eddie Willers alone in a train to the desert.

A perception we have gained is that it is easier to gain followers in the early days of a social media platform than when users have been using the platform for a long time. There is more of a propensity to follow many accounts when a user is new to the space than when they are familiar with how they use it. Or, you know, something like that. The idea behind this is that if a Twitter-like service emerges in its place, it could be very good for us, allowing us to carve out some space in the early stages. If a new Twitter weren’t to spring up, however, and if we were stuck with what we have, we’re not so sure what we would do. The blog would be fine, we think – the gigantic majority of our traffic already goes through search engines – but we would lose direct contact with many of our fans and some of our industry connections, and so on. is scary. Facebook is chaos. Instagram and TikTok are performances for an audience. Twitter really is, in a way, the proverbial town square. Most of what you do on it is talking to people. And for a blog that shares lots of quick info (Joe Stunardi) and cracks quick jokes (NIT Stu), it’s a useful platform.

I do not recommend our readers who do not use Twitter to start using Twitter. If we weren’t indebted to it (and I’m the least indebted of the three of us Stu), I like to think we’d let it disappear from our own lives, along with much of social media. But we owe it. It’s a big part of working in media, at least the way we do media, and there are ways to build followings elsewhere, but we’ve definitely grown in the mold of Twitter. The Barking Crow is heavily shaped by Twitter. If Twitter fades, will we pivot hard to Facebook? Putting more visual content on Instagram? Produce more video content on YouTube or TikTok? Are we looking at email more, potentially via Substack? How, in this possible world without Twitter, do we get people to consume the things we create, whether on a social media platform itself or here on our website?

It’s hard to say right now, and my best guess is that Twitter isn’t going anywhere for at least a few years here and we won’t have to answer it, but I’m very wrong. I guess I don’t have many answers. We should probably work on changing that. Maybe it would help us even if Twitter survived.


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