Twitter is here to stay and so is the abuse. Now what?

Recently I got a simple, but in my opinion very complex, question on lilyQA.com from a Russian journalist asking me what I thought was the future of Twitter. He believes there is no future, because there is less and less real conversation because of the automated bots and Internet trolls.

This is nothing new.

Social media abuse has been around, well ever since social media exists. What has changed though is how sophisticated these trolls have become, making it hard to distinguish fake from real conversations.

It’s hard to regulate Twitter, especially abuse, which was also publicly admitted by its CEO Dick Costolo during a discussion on social media at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. in February 2015.

Despite the challenges, Twitter has become a multipurpose tool for journalists, activists, experts or content curators, marketing and communication professionals, teachers and celebrities. Whether you’re covering breaking news such as natural disasters #NepalEarthquake or protests most recently in Baltimore #FreddieGray, we all turn to Twitter immediately. New apps are being developed to aid in live coverage and in my multimedia class, we recently tested Meerkat and Periscope for tweeting video live.

Is Twitter being misused, you bet it is. There is cyberbullying, various governments around the world using it to troll activists and journalists and spreading of terrorism (ISIS’s presence increasing on Twitter).

Is this the end of Twitter?

Twitter is not going anywhere anytime soon. It will continue to morph, change and adapt to people’s needs, but so will the abuse with it. You can hate it, love it, use it or just observe it, you should know and understand what Twitter (or insert any other social media channel) is capable of, adapt and always question it.

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