As Twitter descends into chaos, VTubers are questioning the future of social media

Twitter has had a tumultuous first week under Elon Musk. From mass layoffs to the controversial Twitter Blue app, the future is uncertain. For VTubers who have made the platform their home since the beginning, it’s a very worrying sign — but it’s not all doom and gloom.

Twitter is the primary social media platform for VTubers. While creators can stream on Twitch, YouTube, Bilibili, and other various sites, everyone joins Twitter to share more personal messages and thoughts in the “public square.”

“There is no website like this that becomes a central hub, mixing vessel and flexible medium for content creation,” VTuber artist ‘KeyokkuDexerto said.

“Imagine any other platform like Pixiv or DeviantArt, there would be nothing to post in between your long art process. Instagram or TikTok has to be a well-curated video format that artists can’t often do. Or communication-focused platforms like Discord, where no one will randomly meet you.”

However, this public square is potentially under threat following Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. The $44 billion deal gave the Tesla and SpaceX CEO the keys to one of the biggest social media platforms, and the first few weeks under his reign have been tumultuous, to say the least.

Immediately after the deal, Musk pushed to verify everyone via Twitter Blue. The subscription service, which once offered ad-free viewing and various other perks, would become the only way to get the coveted blue checkmark verification (it has since been shelved for now). This led to a number of issues as users took advantage of the lack of moderation to impersonate big brands and names, as well as discrediting previously verified accounts.

“As a content creator I feel that [Musk is] doing us a disservice by not offering us a secondary way of measuring credibility like all other platforms, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, [and] Twitch’, Cloud9 VTuber Vienna, verified before Blue was implemented, he said on Twitter.

“I used to get accused of pretending to be in my organization or being a fan. Verification for the last year or so has narrowed this down significantly for me, but now I have no way to demonstrate legitimacy.”

However, for many content creators, this was not the biggest concern. Musk had bluntly stated that users would have to pay if they wanted their posts to be more visible in answers and search, as the algorithm would change to heavily weight verified users. “Trolls and bots” would be relegated to the bottom of the results – assuming everyone had the $8 a month to buy Twitter Blue.

This led to abject panic in the VTuber community prior to its implementation and then complete despair. When the software was released on iOS for users in select countries, there was immediate concern. Will posts outside the algorithm be demoted now? Should VTubers pay to stay visible on Twitter? What if you didn’t live in one of the few countries that offer it?

Some VTubers ended up coughing up $8 a month for a variety of reasons. One was popular indie’Senz,” who didn’t beat around the bush with their reasoning: “I honestly just wanted to see if I’d get the checkmark,” he laughed. “I canceled my subscription right away anyway, although I will say the features that came with it were pretty cool.”

Others were more afraid of losing the visibility that the algorithm changes might have prompted.

“I was going to wait and see how it would affect the algorithm,” Keyokku said, though they never bit the bullet on the subscription market.

“We were concerned that it would prioritize verified posts, but it also didn’t say anything about the homepage’s main timeline. My concern was also about impersonation and degradation across the entire platform, as anyone can abuse these powers. and we saw it happen.”

Twitter Blue’s poor implementation is just a subset of the problems that are causing VTubers to look elsewhere for their future. Many who spoke to Dexerto reported other forms of mismanagement at the company since Musk’s takeover in late October. Mass layoffs, reduced moderation, user safety and privacy second to profits. While Twitter Blue is the scapegoat for now, trust is eroding fast.

“I don’t mind if they take [Twitter Blue] away, but I would say don’t trust Twitter right now because it’s under new ownership and everything is a little shaky right now,” Senz said.

“We’re already seeing the decay and entropy of Twitter,” Keyokku added. “According to the developers, Twitter will literally shut down in a week until it’s useless. My platform and my livelihood are disappearing because of one person’s hubris.”

But this begs the question: where can these online communities be rebuilt? If the existing platforms do not meet the needs, compromises must be made or new houses built. This led to the rise of Mastodon, a platform that presents itself as a decentralized Twitter-like platform.

While it launched in 2016, the VTuber community was one of the first to adopt it after Musk’s acquisition. There are various communities built on top of the platform — which is not so much a single location, but an interconnected web of instances within a “federation” that can freely communicate with each other.

vt.social is the largest of these spaces on Mastodon for VTubers. Since the very public collapse of Twitter Blue, admins ‘Luna’ and ‘Asahi Lina’ from the nullptr::live co-op have set out to create a space for virtual content creators on Mastodon. They now process hundreds of requests to join the space every day as more users diversify their social media presence.

“The same day Musk took over, we were already toying with the idea of ​​launching our own Mastodon paradigm,” Luna told Dexerto.

Luna was gloomy about Twitter’s future, saying it won’t last “long with how Elon [Musk] he mismanages it.

“A lot of people who knew what they were doing are no longer with the company and it’s up to the engineers who don’t have the deep knowledge of the systems to put out the fires.

“Anyone left is forced to rest, even to the point of sleeping in the office, while Elon Musk tweets whatever toilet he thinks can quickly change the direction of the product at any moment.”

Mastodon isn’t a perfect replacement for Twitter, Luna and its users, including Keyokku, admit. There are certainly advantages to the platform that negate some of the issues Twitter now faces, but it’s not without its flaws that come with something that’s decentralized.

“Platforms have more stability, as one company going down won’t hit the entire network,” Luna said, detailing the positives. “Platforms have varying degrees of user control when it comes to determining what a user wants and doesn’t want to see.

“[However] “Federation means that some servers are created by people who explicitly want to harass others,” they continued. “We have tools to deal with them, but how and what is dealt with is highly dependent on your server host.

“Many ‘miscellaneous’ servers are not built for traceability, which means we have to solve this issue ourselves and hopefully get his contribution up.”

vt social mastodon sitevt. social

vt.social is the biggest VTuber example on Mastodon, but it’s not the only one.

It’s also small compared to what Twitter and its hundreds of millions of monthly users can offer. The vt.social Mastodon site only has a few hundred users at the time of publication and the site as a whole has 1.5 million monthly users. That’s decent, but nothing close to Twitter.

Twitter’s reach is undeniable, and content creators can hurt themselves by jumping from one site to another.

“I don’t know if it can replace Twitter and create that kind of reach and influence, but it has its perks,” Keyokku said. “It feels like a tighter community because of the cases, and there’s no algorithm to figure out what a weird experience is. I believe there is a future and familiar faces are emerging as I continue to support it.”

But everyone agrees that Twitter’s chaos since Elon Musk’s acquisition has highlighted the importance of not relying too much on a single site. Mastodon isn’t the only thing that users of the social media platform are trying to get a presence on: Inkblot has become an artist favorite, especially since DeviantArt announced their new AI creation.

Tumblr has seen a resurgence. TikTok still exists, and legacy platforms like Facebook and Instagram could be potential new homes. There is uncertainty ahead and Twitter may end up stabilizing. But with the water rushing in, many aren’t taking any chances and are trying to diversify their range in case it all hits the fan.

“I already had plans to diversify and was slowly working on it: I’ve had Twitch, Pixiv, Patreon, Discord brewing for years, but I thought I had more time,” Keyokku said. “It’s almost like mortality—you just think there’s always more time and you never think it could be the next day, suddenly you can lose so much.

“I think content creators should try to build audiences on every platform at the same time,” Senz added. “It increases your chances of getting noticed and growing on everyone, which usually comes down to mixing and sharing numbers and having backups where if one of them becomes irrelevant, you have the others there for you as a safety net.”

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