Twitter says on April 1, users who had a blue check verifying their notable account will lose that validation unless they pay today.
Users must now pay $8 monthly for that digital brass ring. It is an inflection point in journalists' love-hate relationship with the platform since its inception nearly decades ago.
As I've done, I expect intelligent journalists to resist the urge to be held hostage for a blue check and decide to leave the platform for good. It doesn't benefit their careers, doesn't drive traffic to their employers' websites, and opens them up not only to defamation litigation and charges of bias but also to threats and risk of bodily harm. As Mark Cuban likes to say... And for that reason, I'm out!
That wasn't what writers, whether experienced or just starting, once believed. A decade ago, many editorial executives promulgated the notion to journalists that having a following on Twitter would build their careers. They would be entrepreneurs, under this scenario, building their brand by promoting their stories, and in so doing, Twitter would drive readers to their publications' sites. But ultimately, that practice has had more pitfalls than it's worth, both for journalists and the publishers that employ them.
Poynter indicated that developing a following on Twitter requires a sensibility that differs significantly from traditional news reporting. Twitter rewards users who are "authentic" on the platform — who act not just as robotic chroniclers of news but as real people who engage in back-and-forth interactions with readers about the information.
The platform's current owner would seem to be okay with that outcome. Musk is well known for his antipathy toward the mainstream media. Despite his claims of free speech absolutism, as many predicted, within months of his takeover, he was suspended from the platform by journalists he perceived to be against him. And among the drastic layoffs at the company was the entire press relations department. Inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org now generate an automated poop emoji response.
That alone should prompt journalists to question their reliance on the platfoToday'say’s milestone marks a time for writers to reflect on the value they get from Twitter. Whether it merits their continued I'm, I’m hoping when they take stock of all of its drawbacks, they realit'sit’s finally time to quit.