One of the chief criticisms about Elon Musk since taking over Twitter is that he runs it like a person who doesn’t actually know how the internet works. He’s so out of the loop and tech-bro-brained that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.
Never has that been more apparent than Friday when it was revealed that Twitter plans to pivot to video.
The company has also focused on growing video content on the platform. Vertical video now accounts for more than 10% of time spent on Twitter, another slide said.
Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson launched a new show earlier this month on the platform called “Tucker on Twitter.”
Twitter envisions that it could sell ads and sponsorships alongside videos from Carlson and other content creators, the source said.
The strategy, which has been attempted and failed at by countless content companies, is so well-known as a cautionary tale and meme that it has its own Wikipedia page.
“The controversial trend is generally described by publishers as a response to changes in social media traffic and changes in the media consumption habits of younger audiences,” reads the Wikipedia entry. “But according to commentators, it is in reality driven by advertising; only advertisers, not consumers, prefer video over text. Due to the numerous jobs lost as a result, the term eventually became a euphemism for layoffs, death, and termination.”
The sports media world is extremely familiar with the pivot-to-video strategy, most famously attempted by Fox Sports, which lost 88 percent of its digital traffic after ditching articles for videos. Fox wasn’t the only one as studies showed consistently that other websites that pivoted to video saw substantial traffic losses. Sometimes, layoffs were a part of this strategy and Twitter is no stranger to layoffs in recent months.
Of course, none of this has stopped “the smartest people in the room” from thinking they can be the ones to make video work on platforms that don’t make sense. And there are few people convinced of their own genius like Musk. So in a way, it was probably always inevitable that he would take a social media platform built on the succinctly written word and want to turn it into a generic video feeder.
As for the sports media world, Twitter was already losing its value in the eyes of many reporters and writers. A push to emphasize written content for long-form videos probably isn’t going to help it gain that value back.