Twit Can Happen

by Jay Cuthrell
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Yes - “It Can Happen” (1983)

Getting Informed

This week take a look at the recent challenges for Twitter, content drift, link rot, and archivist considerations.

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To understand the impact of Twitter, consider how simple it is to refer to a Tweet now.

  1. Copy link to a Tweet
  2. Paste link to Tweet
  3. Depending on the 3rd-party platform, a Tweet is embedded as a Twitter Card1

[Twitter avatar for @JayCuthrell@JayCuthrell @JayCuthrellVerifying myself: I am jaycuthrell on l-0lZ4glMvk6tCvMCrrflXWt8byPqx8QmiKs / keybase.iojaycuthrell (Jay Cuthrell) on Keybasejaycuthrell (Jay Cuthrell) is now on Keybase, an open source app for encryption and cryptography.](*/[7:09 PM ∙ Feb 1, 2020

1Like1Retweet](*/, imagine what happens if Twitter is set up as a paywall only service. Actually, you don’t have to imagine because the new owners of Twitter have already imagined it.

[Twitter avatar for @CaseyNewtonCasey Newton @CaseyNewtonMore news from Twitter today: Elon Musk and David Sacks have both discussed putting all of Twitter behind a paywall eventually, @platformer has learned… ![But all of that could be a prelude to the biggest change of all: charging most or all users a subscription fee to use Twitter.

Both Musk and Sacks have discussed the idea in recent meetings, according to a person familiar with the matter. One such plan might allow everyone to use Twitter for a limited amount of time each month but require a subscription to continue browsing, the person said.](]([1:47 AM ∙ Nov 8, 2022

5,699Likes2,061Retweets]( would happen to all of the embedded Tweets like this example above?

Would you have to pay to unlock the Twitter Card?

Would legacy Tweets be exempted from such a paywall?

It can happen to everyone eventually 🎶

One of my favorite writers is M.G. Siegler. M.G. is a multi-platform writer.

Here, on Substack, M.G. has raised some things worth considering as well.

It’s wild to watch what was a large company
operate at startup speed again in just a few days.
— M.G. Siegler

5ishA Total TwitshowAfter the past week, month, and six months, the internet doesn’t need another take on Elon Musk and Twitter published. So instead I’ll email it to about 10,000 of you. This is a train wreck we’re all watching aboard the train being wrecked. Not only can we not turn away, we’re in the middle of it! Elon believes he had to derail the train in order to fix…Read more25 days ago · 11 likes · 3 comments · M.G. SieglerPersonally, I’m not using Twitter beyond search these days and I am no longer a Twitter shareholder now that the transaction has closed. Also, in the wake of the transaction, my thoughts go out to the Twitter team members being impacted by the changes being made as well as my congratulations to those that found a hopefully positive liquidity event.

It’s a constant fight 🎶

When I was blogging more than I was tweeting, I considered the fight against link rot differently than the way than I do now. Granted, the signal and noise 14 years ago where I imagined a squelch knob2 was before I considered writing a newsletter again.3

Why does link rot matter? For the same reason domain names are perishable.

As the saying goes… what would possibly go wrong? Content drift.

Twitter avatar for @securintiInti De Ceukelaire @securintiHijacking a Trump tweet and inserting a dutch song about Russian prostitutes: ✓. Link:
#thecyber #privacy #oops Image
[9:14 PM ∙ Jan 23, 2017

41Likes10Retweets]( avatar for @securintiInti De Ceukelaire @securinti@securinti Also: 100% legal. Just bought an expired domain and twitter did the rest 😃9:15 PM ∙ Jan 23, 2017Notably, this would not be the last time the embedding and refreshing of cached URLs referenced in a Tweet would result in an unanticipated edit to the Twitter Card experience. Of course, barring more Twitter changes to banned users, this particular example, you would need to have a screenshot before this prank could be viewed again.4

Developing words that linger 🎶

Perhaps the solution is to archive. By archive, I mean archive in the sense as suggested by Shawn M. Jones, Martin Klein, and Herbert Van de Sompel.5

For example, if Twitter is truly operating at startup speed and wants to normalize revenue from advertising with valued added services — make the archive step just as easy and robust.

  • Will there be edge cases like editing or deleting problematic Tweets? Yes.
  • Will that matter? Perhaps not nearly as much as we might think.

Also, the Tweet for Pay motif might actually survive the A/B testing phase. I tried Twitter Blue briefly to make a video of editing a Tweet for my own testing but that might be just the beginning of a true content management offering.

Back in 2014, I figured that Twitter years with Ev Williams6 would eventually lead to the reconstitution of Blogger with each successive wave of new Twitter enhancements. Now, I only remembered my prognostication because it became less far fetched as I reviewed my Twitter Archives again in 2017.7

So, at the risk of a shot and chaser playback… sometimes, I’m scary accurate.

Shot: I theorize a longer format Twitter eventuality (2014)

Via my Twitter Archives circa 2017### Chaser: Twitter launches Twitter Notes (2022)

[Twitter avatar for @TechmemeTechmeme @TechmemeTwitter is testing Twitter Notes to let users create articles with rich text formatting and uploaded media, which can then be tweeted and shared upon publishing (@sarahintampa / TechCrunch)…
techmeme.comTwitter tests Twitter Notes with select users, for creating long-form content with rich text formatting and uploaded media that can be twee…By Sarah Perez / TechCrunch. View the full context on Techmeme.]([2:31 AM ∙ Jun 22, 2022

20Likes8Retweets](, what will be the next big feature drop (or dropped) at Twitter?

Until then… Place your bets!

A long time ago in an oEmbed far, far away…


I am linking to my disclosure.

1Read: About Twitter Cards

2Read: Van Halen ISO 9000

3Read: Balkanize, Rinse, Repeat ad infinitum

4Read: A Belgian hacker redirected the links in Trump’s old tweets

5Read: Robustifying Links To Combat Reference Rot

6Read: Ev Williams is the Forrest Gump of Internet

7Read: On Twitter


✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️

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