In 2018, Twitter saw the “snooze button” — a pin on your profile page that locks down your account for 48 hours while you update your profile picture, enter or remove an account, and so on — nixed in favor of a harder-to-reach “unfollow” option.
It was quick, simple, and effective — it lets you snooze a story from earlier in the day and reinstate it with an update once you’re done. The ability to dismiss a post entirely is awesome, too.
I just used an account as my notepads for the last 12 hours. And it took me 3 attempts to delete most of it. Can anyone help me get rid of this entire mess? — Nate Nelson () September 23, 2017
As great as it was for a while, however, the option to unfollow became a means of total banishment, all because Facebook didn’t like how social media sites ranked posts in their timelines.
Conversations with friends were hard-pressed to get a mention. Mentions from contacts were few and far between. The updates from businesses and influencers barely mattered. Twitter died, right?
Until, Facebook went and made it easier to hide the entire problem.
Facebook launched a special trashcan earlier this year that allowed you to “dislike” posts.
Up until that point, “liking” a post was the only way to make sure that a friend was sharing their thoughts. Now, a suspicious-looking thumbs up could signify how dissatisfied you are with the content.
Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter is as relevant now as Facebook ever was, but it’s higher-profile for two main reasons: Its users are fonder and are more influential; and it’s where people go to share stories and discuss ideas. It’s where bold and creative posts get shared, to the delight of their enthusiastic hordes.
As Nicole Fang of Gizmodo put it, “No one has more traction than Twitter.”
Facebook? In certain popular ways, it certainly is relevant. People that post in the format of “I am the president” could, for example, get millions of likes. But social media was invented in a time when politicians were equally feckless and transparent, and power was only measured by votes. The rise of Twitter, a privately-run microblogging service, gave us politicians that shared thoughts and expressed views in a human, conversational way.
Meanwhile, Facebook is the forum for the most modern-day realities of wealth, class, and the ultra-rich. These realities are beautifully displayed through each carefully curated profile page (what Seth Freed Wessler described as Facebook’s “Selfie Wall”).
In turn, people flood their timelines and are consumed by their constant string of immaculate selfies — but are unaware of how their identities and communities are being reshaped.
“Instead of being the social powerhouse they’ve expected them to be,” writes Gwendolyn Doan of The Atlantic, “Facebook seems to be struggling to adjust to the shift towards sharing primarily in real time, with non-extremist opinions rather than attractive faces.”
As time passes, I’m wondering if Facebook will share a chilling irony with Twitter: That if we all turn down the light we’ll all be that much closer to the next election.