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Letter From the Editor: Yes, We Have to Talk About Twitter.

You don’t want to talk about Twitter. I don’t want to talk about Twitter. Nobody wants to talk about Twitter.

Letter From the Editor: Yes, We Have to Talk About Twitter.

The opinions expressed within this story are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Search Engine Journal or its affiliates.

Greetings, SEO pros, digital marketers, journalists, and curious minds among us. For I have the pride, the privilege, nay, the pleasure of addressing my very first official “Letter From the Editor” to such an esteemed audience.

And as much as I hate to kick things off on this note: We have to talk about Twitter.

I know, I know. You don’t want to talk about Twitter. I don’t want to talk about Twitter. Nobody wants to talk about Twitter. But would you rather talk about the U.S. midterm elections? Yeah, me neither.

Let’s start with an extremely broad timeline of events. You know the old trope: Billionaire Boy meets social media, social media gives into Billionaire Boy’s often nonsensical ramblings and, next thing you know, Billionaire Boy is offering (threatening?) to purchase one such social media platform, only to abandon it at the altar and come running back for an actual purchase.

Forgive me; I have a penchant for storytelling.

And since then, it’s been genuinely difficult to keep up – even for those of us who live in the trenches of this industry’s news.

How much does Twitter Blue cost (that is, if it still exists)? Are recently laid-off employees actually being asked back? What is “free speech,” anyway, when you’re not making jokes about Twitter’s new owner? And, honestly – what the heck is Mastodon? (I recently joined that last one, actually – but that’s a story for another day.)

I know we promised not to talk about the elections, but – hoo, boy. If not for them, we’d have little-to-no variety in this whiplash-inducing Tech Nerd News Cycle™️(of which I am a proud and willing participant).

As I said to a forlorn, non-industry friend (as if she doesn’t have enough to deal with as a high school science teacher) over brunch, “I am loath to give Billionaire Boy airtime in my personal life, but it’s all I can talk about because, apparently, I hate myself.”

But then, one of my esteemed colleagues made a good point: Why the uproar over Twitter’s massive layoffs, and barely a peep (at least, from a birds-eye view) about those at Meta?

It’s more than a fair point.

This move is just the latest in Meta’s modus operandi of airing its dirty laundry when it thinks no one is watching. For instance, on a significant holiday weekend or during an already chaotic news cycle when, say, there’s a major election cycle in the U.S. – or one of its industry peers is already making endless headlines.

And it’s not like Mark Zuckerberg is exactly the quintessential “good guy” – hell, he’s not even a modicum of a tragic hero – and is, at best, “the guy who charges you to grow virtual farmland,” as the same colleague put it.

In my opinion, the nonstop chaos of the situation at Twitter makes it hard to quit the drama of it all. So much about this takeover has been a complete mess since the beginning, starting with Musk’s oopsie-just-kidding-I-don’t-actually-want-to-buy-Twitter, ranging to the legitimately dangerous implications of the verification-for-hire feature (again – if it still exists).

Think back to the spring of 2018, when the company then known as “Facebook” faced an endless barrage of bad news; namely, when it seemed as though the U.S. news cycle couldn’t be bothered with anything but the notorious CEO’s congressional hearings.

Sure, another midterm election cycle was on the horizon. But it was too many months away to be a sufficient distraction, and it wouldn’t be for another few weeks that Musk emerged as Tech CEO Enemy #1 after a highly publicized (and bizarre) Tesla earnings call.

Indeed, the writing has been on the wall with Musk’s volatility for some time now. But it’s only a matter of time before the pattern repeats itself, and one of his industry peers once again steals away the Tech Nerd News Cycle™️ spotlight – especially since most of you, according to our own poll, aren’t ready to leave Twitter just yet.

But I’m giving it time. And over that course of time, my looming questions revolve around what will be left for Musk.

If enough users and advertisers alike flee the platform (and, by the way, where will they ultimately take their money and time?), and enough key executives resign – I wonder if Twitter will become a hollow echo chamber of one man’s proclamations. After all, if an ultra-rich dude yells in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

On that note – I think I’ve talked about Twitter enough for one day. And shockingly, there have been other newsworthy items that caught my eye this week:

  • We mere mortals (a.k.a., YouTube users) will probably have even less control over how many times we see the same ads. Google rolled out target frequency for YouTube campaigns earlier this week, letting advertisers control how many times an ad is shown. SEJ senior news writer Matt Southern gets into here.
  • John Mueller responded to Reddit rumblings regarding search console warnings about mobile usability leading to rankings drops. But according to Mueller, it was likely unrelated to mobile usability altogether, and had more to do with content quality. It’s a case study, writes Roger Montti here, in “how the most obvious reason for something happening is not always the correct reason … it’s only the most obvious.”
  • Social media managers, rejoice: Instagram is rolling out the ability to schedule posts and reels in the mobile app up to 75 days in advance. Finally. Full story here.

Whew! What a week to write my first letter. Thanks for reading – in the words of a man-bunned gentleman I recently went on a date with, “It’s been super pleasant to hang out.”

Until next time,

AZW

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Amanda Zantal-Wiener

Editor-In-Chief at Search Engine Journal

Amanda is a writer, editor, marketer, and “Golden Girls” superfan. Joining SEJ from HubSpot, her byline has appeared in Thrillist, ...

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