just pouring one out for my twittr
When I was fifteen, I ran a little “e-zine” called Spire that was distributed on the cover CDs of various real, paper magazines. I thought it was pretty cool, and that nobody could possibly have known that it was run by a fifteen-year-old. (In retrospect, it was pretty obvious.) I interviewed people like Nicholas Negroponte and Roger Ebert; I opined about tech in a very nineties, use-a-dollar-sign-to-spell-Micro$oft sort of way; I explored hypertext as a format.
Somewhere along the line, I got it into my head that the ninth issue would be the epitome of what I was trying to do. I decided to rebrand. I went for dark mode, putting everything on a black background with white and neon-highlight text. Instead of the colorful, friendly logo, I used a chrome rendering of the all-lowercase word “spire”. And I numbered each release like an event. Instead of issue 1, issue 2, etc., the new product would be called Spire One, Spire Two, and so on. And the first, coolest version of this would be Spire Nine.
I was fixated on this name and the whole vibe of what I was making. Spire Nine. I’d say it under my breath sometimes. Spire Nine. Even now, I get a funny feeling in my chest when I say it, probably because it’s just so cool. Spire Nine.
It’s a lame name.
I bet Elon Musk says “X” under his breath sometimes.
It’s a measure of how beloved Twitter was that so many people are emotionally invested in its rebranding to X. It was such a deep part of so many people’s lives — it was the backchannel to reality for a lot of people — that removing it feels like a wound. Or, at least, that’s one way to look at it. Let’s be real: it was a multi billion dollar public company, not a beloved community public square. It supported itself through advertising dollars made possible by optimizing for and monetizing our attention. If it hurts, it’s because we bought the product.
Long before it was sold, it was already tarnished goods: an imperfect place with timid management where women and people of color were regularly subjected to abuse, that was used by grifters of all political shades to exponentially grow their followings with a comparative lack of…