HomeOpinionTwitter Jumped the Shark, Now It Looks Like MySpace

Twitter Jumped the Shark, Now It Looks Like MySpace

Elon Musk has good reason to laugh at those naysayers who predicted Twitter would crash as soon as he laid off half its workforce. Without engineers to keep it going, opined the critics, the platform would collapse. Two months later, the social media site is still alive and may have even grown.
Its demise, however, is still possible. Not because there’s a lack of talent to catch software bugs or keep the servers running, but because its time may have come. Recent gimmicks include reinstating banned accounts, introducing blue ticks for all, and pseudo-democratic policy decisions. At first glance, none of these alone herald impending doom, merely the whims of a billionaire showing off his new play toy.

But history may show this as the moment Musk jumped the shark. That term comes from the 1970s American sitcom Happy Days, which starred Henry Winkler as the leather-jacketed Fonzie and Ron Howard as freckle-faced Richie Cunningham. At the time, the series was one of the top-ranked shows on US television. By season five, though, its writers were getting desperate for new ideas, so they had The Fonz do a water-ski jump over a shark. That episode, although a ratings success, showed how farcical the producers had become in chasing attention.

The show went on for another six seasons, but the audience started to lose interest and its ratings slid dramatically. Jumping the shark didn’t kill Happy Days, but it signaled a peak in relevance and popularity.

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