As Twitter descends into chaos, VTubers question social media future

Twitter has had a turbulent first few weeks under Elon Musk. From mass layoffs to the controversial implementation of Twitter Blue, the future is uncertain. For VTubers, who have made the platform their home from the start, this is a very worrying sign — but it’s not all doom and gloom.

Twitter is the main social media platform for VTubers. While developers can stream on Twitch, YouTube, Bilibili, and other various sites, they all unite on Twitter to share more personal messages and thoughts in the “public space.”

‘There’s no other site like it that’s becoming a central hub, mixing pot and versatile medium for content creation’, ‘VTuber Artists’Keyokku‘ said Dexerto.

“Imagine any other platform like Pixiv or DeviantArt, there was nothing to post in between your long art process. Instagram or TikTok needs to be a well-curated video format, which artists often can’t. Or communication-oriented platforms like Discord, where no one stumbles across you by accident.”

However, this public space may be in jeopardy following Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. The $44 billion deal has given the Tesla and SpaceX CEO the keys to one of the biggest social media platforms, and the first few weeks under his rule have been tumultuous, to say the least.

Immediately after the deal, Musk pushed to give everyone confirmation via Twitter Blue. The subscription service that once offered ad-free TV and various other perks has become the only way to get that coveted blue tick verification (it has since been shelved for the time being). This created a slew of problems as users took advantage of the lack of moderation to pose as big brands and names and demote previously verified accounts.

“As a content creator, I feel like [Musk is] Doing us a disservice by not offering a secondary method of measuring credibility like all other platforms, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, [and] Twitch”, Cloud9 VTuber Vienna, which was verified before implementing Blue, said on Twitter.

“I used to be accused of pretending to be in my organization or to be a fan. Being verified for the past year or so has curbed that significantly for me, but now I have no way of showing legitimacy.”

For many content creators, however, that wasn’t the biggest concern. Musk had been blunt that users should pay if they wanted their posts to be more visible in answers and searches, as the algorithm would change to heavily weight verified users. “Trolls and bots” would appear at the bottom of the results ⁠ – assuming everyone had the $8 a month to buy Twitter Blue.

It caused deep panic within the VTuber community prior to implementation and total despair afterwards. When it launched on iOS for users in select countries, there were immediate concerns. Would posts now be banned from the algorithm? Do VTubers have to pay to stay visible on Twitter? What if you didn’t live in one of the few countries that offer it?

Some VTubers have given out the $8 per month for various reasons. One was popular indie’sent‘, who didn’t beat around the bush with their justification: “I honestly just wanted to see if I could get the tick,” he laughed. “I canceled my subscription immediately anyway, although I have to say the features that came with it were pretty cool.”

Others were more afraid of missing out on the visibility that the algorithm changes could have brought about.

“I wanted to see how this affects the algorithm,” Keyokku said, although they never bit the bullet when purchasing the subscription.

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

However, Twitter Blue’s poor implementation is just a subset of issues that are causing VTubers to seek their futures elsewhere. Many who spoke to Dexerto cited other forms of mismanagement at the company since Musk’s acquisition in late October. The mass layoff of employees, the reduction in moderation, user safety and privacy taking second place to profits. While Twitter Blue is the scapegoat for now, trust is quickly eroding.

“I don’t mind them taking it [Twitter Blue] gone, but I’d say don’t trust Twitter right now because they’re under new ownership and everything’s a bit unpredictable right now,” Senz said.

“We’re already seeing the decay and entropy of Twitter,” Keyokku added. “According to developers, Twitter will literally go down in a week until it’s unusable. The platform is disappearing along with my livelihood due to one person’s hubris.”

However, this begs the question: Where can these online communities be rebuilt? If existing platforms do not meet the requirements, compromises have to be made or new houses have to be built. That has led to the rise of Mastodon, a platform masquerading as a decentralized Twitter-like platform.

While it launched in 2016, the VTuber community was one of its first adopters after Musk’s acquisition. Various communities are built on top of the platform ⁠ – which is less a single site and more an interconnected web of entities within a “federation” that are free to communicate with each other. is the largest of these sections on Mastodon for VTubers. Since the very public crash of Twitter Blue, admins “Luna” and “Asahi Lina” from the nullptr::live cooperative set out to make a place for virtual content creators on Mastodon. They now handle hundreds of requests to join the space every day as more users diversify their social media presence.

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

Luna has been grim about the future of Twitter, saying it “won’t last long like Elon [Musk] mismanage it.

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

“Those left are forced to work their ass off, even to the point of sleeping in the office while Elon Musk tweets his toilet thoughts, which can quickly change product direction at any time.”

Mastodon isn’t a perfect Twitter substitute, admit Luna and its users, which include Keyokku. The platform definitely has advantages that negate some of the problems Twitter is now facing, but it’s not without the shortcomings that come with decentralizing anything.

“The platforms are more stable because a failure of one company does not paralyze the entire network,” Luna explains the positive aspects. “Platforms have varying degrees of user control when it comes to determining what a user does and does not want to see.

“[However] Federation means that some servers are made by people who specifically want to harass others,” they continued. “We have tools to deal with them, but how and what is dealt with depends heavily on your server’s host.

“A lot of ‘Fediverse’ servers aren’t designed for discoverability, which means we’ll have to address this issue ourselves and hopefully contribute back upstream.”

vt social mastodon is the largest VTuber instance on Mastodon, but not the only one.

It’s also a small fish compared to what Twitter and its hundreds of millions of monthly users have to offer. The Mastodon site has only 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.

The reach of Twitter is undeniable, and content creators could be harming themselves jumping from side to side at full throttle.

“I don’t know if it can replace Twitter and build that kind of reach and influence, but it has its perks,” Keyokku said. “Because of the instances, it feels like a more connected community, and there’s no algorithm to understand what an odd experience it is. I believe there is a future, and familiar faces are emerging as I continue to push for it.”

However, everyone agrees that the Twitter chaos since Elon Musk’s acquisition has highlighted the importance of not over-relying on a single website. Mastodon isn’t the only social media platform that users are trying to have a presence on: Inkblot has become a favorite for artists, especially since DeviantArt announced their new AI art generator.

Tumblr has seen a resurgence. TikTok still exists, and older platforms like Facebook and Instagram could be potential new homes. Uncertainty reigns and Twitter may eventually stabilize. But with the water pouring in, many are taking no chances and trying to diversify their range in case everything hits the fan.

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

“I think content creators should try to engage an audience on each platform at the same time,” Senz added. “It increases your chances of being noticed by everyone and growing, which usually results in them being shuffled and sharing numbers and having backup media where you have the others as a safety net for when one becomes irrelevant.”