surviving the twitter meltdown

…WTF have you done, Elon.

Hello, geeks

What a f**king mess.

Twitter. Elon. Verification chaos. Brutal job cuts. Bankruptcy threats. FTC warnings. And *that* Official label. Dumbest shit I've ever seen.

JFC. I don’t know where to start. Twitter’s social media manager summed it up perfectly.

The week kicked off with Elon’s brutal job cuts. But then things went from insane to super-cringe when this happened. That news destroyed my Twitter notifications tab for days.

And then I started getting fan mail. 😆

Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s $8 Twitter verification deal went live. You may have heard. It didn’t go well. But thank god… this guy is happy.

Suddenly, a swarm of newly verified Twitter Blue subscribers swaggered around Twitter. But the rest of Twitter saw things very differently.

And as for the social media managers…? Basically this EVERY DAY this week.

So yeah… Wild week. Thanks Elon 🙄

Before we get started…


Alrighty folks… Let’s get into it. These were the HOTTEST headlines in social this week:


  1. Twitter Is Now a Social Media Disaster Zone [OH ELON]

  2. Elon Musk’s $8 Twitter Verification Sparks Chaos For Brands [FFS ELON!] 

  3. Twitter Staff Warned Business Could Go Bankrupt [SERIOUSLY ELON?]

  4. Mark Zuckerberg Slashed 11,000 Jobs At Meta [ZUCKING HELL]

  5. TikTok Secretly Scores Influencers On Cooperation + Diligence [NOSEDIVE]

Elon Musk and Twitter dominated the news all week. Here’s your speedy rundown of everything else (non-twitter related) worth knowing about:

Instagram is testing an interesting new Stories privacy option…Instagram is also working on a profile AMA feature…The new web interface for went live… And Reels Achievements was officially launched (it looks like this)... Praise the lord, Instagram in-app scheduling is finally rolling out… and you now add music to static image posts.

Record labels are negotiating hard for a better deal from TikTok… Meanwhile, creators revealed how much they’re making from TikTok’s new ad revenue sharing program… Telegram added video message transcriptions and a new sub-groups feature called Topics.

📈 NEW SOCIAL MEDIA INSIGHTS | Discover the 3 factors driving social media success for top brands today. Steal these top tips to build your social strategy fit for 2023. | ➜ SHOW ME

Pinterest opened up its popular collage-making app Shuffles to all… YouTube revealed an enhanced YouTube Shorts experience for smart TVs… YouTube also launched two new live streaming features for creators: co-streaming and a live Q&A feature.

Ryan Reynolds joined Tumblr (you ok, Ryan?)... Canva added its own AI text to image feature… Substack added its own type of blue ticks by adding best seller badges… Donald Trump said he can’t quit Truth Social to join Twitter because his presence is keeping the platform alive (meanwhile Twitter is sick and dying anyway)... And finally… Adam Mosseri says he feels a sense of urgency to make Reels work (we got that vibe, Adam).


  • 🌟 INVITE-ONLY: Join The Official Geekout Group On Facebook [30k+ MEMBERS]

  • ✔️ BLUE TICKS: The Controversial History of Blue Checkmark’s [FASCINATING]

  • ✨ USEFUL INFO: The Image Sizes on Social Cheat Sheet 2022 [BOOKMARK]

  • ⚡️ TOP GUIDE: The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Algorithms 2023 [BOOKMARK II]

  • 💀 MEMES: The Twitter Blue Verification Memes Are Brutal! [SICK BURN]

Want more? Keep scrolling… Geekout analysis of Twitter’s insane week coming up next. And more memes. Soooo many good ones this week. 😆 👇

– Matt

P.S. Don't miss THE GEEKOUT WEEKLY DEBRIEF: Join us on Twitter Spaces at 4pm UK / 11am ET / 8am PT today. Last week's show has had 50,000+ listens, so don't miss today's edition as we chew over Twitter's woes, Meta's layoffs and more: LISTEN LIVE / PLAY BACK

Social Media Managers… Don’t Miss This! 🔥👇

2022 has been a BIG year of change in the social media landscape.

  • Elon Musk now owns Twitter… And it’s going great 😆

  • BeReal gave Meta a new platform to copy and clone 😳

  • Instagram’s Adam Mosseri terrorised social media managers with endless updates from his man cave 😭

So… what the hell will happen in 2023?

Join me and the experts at Talkwalker for the BIG Social Media Trends 2023 event.

👉 REGISTER HERE to get your free invite!

🚨 Everyone's talking about...

You know when you warn someone they're about to do something dumb but they do it anyway? Let's called that 'doing an Elon' from now on.

The revamp of the Twitter checkmark has been such a mess that as Geekout goes out today, we're almost back to where we were a week ago. Let's briefly recap the farce:

The Twitter Blue update giving everyone (on iOS, in certain countries) the chance to get a 'verified' checkmark rolled out early in the Apple App Store, with the verified tab briefly given priority in mentions. But people were annoyed because they didn't actually get a checkmark when they subscribed to Blue, because the feature wasn't ready. Slick launch.

Then it got delayed when someone at Twitter realised launching a potential misinformation factory the day before the US Midterms was maybe a bad idea. So the new Blue finally launched on Wednesday, on iOS only and with the UK as an additional new market.

Twitter had thought about the risks of impersonation and launched an 'Official' badge alongside the new new paid-for checkmark, so people could be sure which brands, organisations were the real deal. But that caused confusion as a seemingly random selection of celebrities and journalists (who Twitter had originally said would have to pay) also got them.

Then hours later, Musk killed the 'Official' badge, announcing this u-turn in a reply to a YouTuber. And THEN it turned out that the 'Official' badge would still be around so was not quite dead. But then it was gone anyway. 🤷

Predictably, the scams started immediately, with fake accounts all over the place. Quick fixes from Twitter, like removing the ability for verified accounts to change their display name, blocking new accounts from signing up to Blue, and adding more info about how an account was verified weren't enough to keep up with the hoaxes.

By this morning, Twitter Blue had seemingly been taken off sale and the official badge was back.

It seems payment wasn't the genius anti-spam feature Musk thought it would be. What will happen next? Stay tuned to Twitter to find out, I guess, but it probably won't be pretty.

Elon's problems didn't end on the product side of things, the fallout from slashing the company's headcount in half last week has been devastating.

The job cuts were done so hastily, Twitter reportedly didn't even have access to the @twitter account until yesterday. By Sunday, the company was begging fired employees to come back. Many reportedly said no because they felt used and thought they would be fired again soon.

This internal chaos has already led to technical glitches and there are well-founded fears that the faults will get much worse in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Twitter's ads business has been pretty much in limbo, as major advertisers choose to stay away from the maelstrom. Musk's threat to name and shame advertisers who quit the platform can't have helped, neither will his lewd jokes.

By Wednesday, Musk was on a live Spaces chat with advertisers. The number of brand accounts listening in showed how important this call was. But although it was good to hear more from nuance Musk than trollish tweets allow, advertisers were not convinced.

It all begs the question - if you worked at Twitter, why would you stay? Incredibly, Musk himself hadn't directly addressed the staff as a whole until an email earlier this week, followed by a short notice meeting yesterday. But with warnings that bankruptcy could be looming if the company doesn't improve its position... again, why would you stay?

Even the execs positioned as Musk's new stars a the company were reportedly out by late yesterday (though one seemingly denied it later). And with the leaders that oversee legal compliance at Twitter now having walked out, ridiculously leaving staff to ensure they were complying with all global laws on their own and risking billions in fines, again... why would you stay?

With the company's long-established remote work policy now dead and staff being flooded with job offers... why would you stay?

All this said, Twitter claims user numbers are at an "all time high" since Musk took over, and this is somewhat backed up by third-party data. Meanwhile, Musk is serious about ramping up monetisation for all forms of content. He's reportedly talked about paywalling the whole of Twitter (🤔), and plans to enter the payments business in what looks like a re-do of his old business.

But the maths don't add up as the banks that lent Musk much of the money to buy Twitter get twitchy. No wonder people are saying Musk doesn't know what he's doing, and even a friend, Chris Sacca, says he's winging it while surrounding himself with sycophants.

Bankruptcy would at least allow Musk to restructure his debt, so that seemingly nuclear option could be a strategic play. But still, the future of Twitter is even more uncertain that it has been at any time in this crazy year so far.

Word leaked out at the weekend that huge job cuts were imminent at Meta, and on Wednesday Mark Zuckerberg made them official in a message to employees, followed by a video.

The numbers of people leaving are enormous–around 11,000–and the cuts affect many areas of the business, including Zuck's beloved metaverse development team.

Zuckerberg said the cuts reflected the company's over-optimistic bet that ecommerce would continue to grow as the worst of the pandemic subsided. But they are also a reminder that Meta's foundation is crumbling, and a warning that the metaverse may not save the company.

But in comparison to Twitter's botched layoffs, Meta handled this week's cuts well. The exit package for US staff was well-received, including things like help with visas for those who need it, and extended access to company email so they could say their goodbyes.

And put in perspective against Meta's skyrocketing headcount in recent times, these cuts are not necessarily a huge setback for the company which reportedly had highly bloated ranks due to all of its failed projects in recent times.

Amid the chaos at Twitter this week, many hardcore users started to think about where they might jump ship to if needed. The Twitter-like Mastodon had a week of incredible growth as a result.

Operators of Mastodon servers struggled to keep up with demand as users rushed to try out the slightly-more-complicated-than-Twitter service.

The complexity that comes hand in hand with its federated nature mean it's a little like switching from Windows to Linux so it seems unlikely there will be a massive long-term shift across, although a certain kind of geek is right at home there (speaking of geeks, you can find me at @[email protected] and Geekout newsletter editor Martin at @[email protected]).

Meanwhile, longtime Mastodon users might be thinking 'there goes the neighbourhood' as Twitter users shift over. Cultural differences between the two platforms quickly emerged. Dunking on users is harder to do and frowned upon, while many Mastodon users like politics chat to be hidden behind a 'sensitive content' warning. A hellsite it is not.

👉 On-point tweets

These are just some of the tweets that perfectly captured the chaos of Twitter over the past week...

⛑ Twitter survival kit

Here are some tools to help you cope with Elon Musk's Twitter chaos...

And don't forget:

🎧 Worth a listen

This is not only a good podcast, but also the best podcast episode title of the week...

🐣 Brand tweets

Twitter is in chaos, but McDonald's has been tweeting through it. Or should that be throooooooooooooough it?

🤔 Did you know?

Today in 'things that wouldn't have happened if a Brit was in the room':

👀 Read of the week

This is a must-read perfectly explaining why an $8 monthly fee won't stop people using Twitter to spew their bile:

🤦 Fail of the week

I ALMOST just put 'ELON MUSK' in big letters here, but then this came along...

I mean... how does this happen?

😮 WTF?!

"Ramon Abbas used his Instagram account to flaunt a luxurious lifestyle - but it had been funded by crime. The social media star is a prolific international fraudster who prosecutors say conspired to launder tens of millions of dollars stolen in various online scams."

🧵 Top threads

Here's a great thread about what Elon Musk’s life on Twitter is REALLY like…

And here's a mega-thread on solving Twitter's content moderation nightmare:

💡 New feature spotlight

Instagram is working on a BeReal / Stories mash-up feature called Glimpse 👀

📈 Charts of the week

The job of a social media manager is not what it used to be...

And don't miss:

👉 MORE on-point tweets

Yes, there were just so many great tweets about Twitter this week that I just have to share some more

Meta News

"European Union antitrust enforcers are preparing to send Facebook a list of charges over the U.S. firm's anti-competitive abuses on its marketplace platform, two people familiar with the matter told POLITICO."

  • Meta has acquired UK-based audio tech startup Audio Analytic. []

New features and tests:


  • Facebook is removing its classic Pages experience as the new version becomes standard. [@MattNavarra]

  • Facebook has added a 'top commenter' badge for Pages. [@jonah_manzano]

  • Facebook is expanding its fight against climate misinformation. [Meta Newsroom]


  • Native Instagram scheduling is rolling out, letting creator and business accounts schedule photo, carousel and Reels posts up to 75 days in advance. [@MattNavarra]

  • Instagram has added unlockable achievements for creators posting Reels. [@MattNavarra]

  • Instagram is updating its web version to make the most of larger screens. [TechCrunch]

  • Instagram has been spotted offering an 'add message' button for Reels. [@oncescruadu]

  • Instagram is rolling out age verification via video selfies in the UK. [Sky News]

  • Instagram is testing an option to post Stories only to mutual follows. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram is working on an AMA feature. [@alex193a]

  • Instagram has been spotted offering an 'add music' option for posts. [@jonah_manzano]

  • Instagram is working on animated avatar sticker reactions. [@alex193a]


  • WhatsApp is testing a new 'New 'Auto-Mute notifications' feature for large group chats. [WABetaInfo]

The rest: Creator Studio/adtech/Quest and more:

  • Giphy has launched a Giphy Arts TV app. The company is still part of Meta for now. [TechCrunch]

Twitter News

"Elon Musk said on Sunday he won't ban the Twitter account that tracks the travels of his private jet because of his free speech principles. The account @ElonJet, run by 20-year-old college student Jack Sweeney, accesses publicly available air-traffic data to share updates about when and where the jet departs and lands and how long the trips last. Sweeney maintains more than 30 jet-tracking accounts."

  • Twitter Blue could be expanding fast. Musk has hinted at an Indian launch in less than a month. [TechCrunch]

  • Elon Musk says dormant usernames will be freed up to be reused... at some point. [@MattNavarra]

  • TweetDeck is apparently a priority for Twitter, despite firing most of the TweetDeck team. [@SillyRobin]

  • Joe Biden said Twitter "spews lies". [Axios]

  • Misogynist Andrew Tate is rumoured to have snuck back onto Twitter. [BuzzFeed News]

New features and tests:

  • Twitter now lets you search users who were verified through Blue, using the new "filter:blue_verified" operator. [@wongmjane]

  • Twitter is reminding users that it scans DMs for spam and abuse and may even manually review some DMs. [@MattNavarra]

  • Elon Musk says a version of Twitter Notes will return. [Mint]

  • Twitter has been spotted displaying a wiggling share icon. [@chrismessina]

TikTok News

TikTok has begun to share ad revenue with creators, but some early payments are tiny.

  • TikTok secretly scores creators on its shopping platform, ranking them for 'cooperation' and 'diligence', a new report claims. [MarketWatch]

  • TikTok has cut its ad revenue target by $2 billion due to the slowing economy. [Bloomberg $$$]

  • TikTok has restructured its US leadership. [Financial Times $$$]

  • Researchers claim TikTok suppressed get-out-the-vote efforts in the US midterms. [Gizmodo]

  • A TikTok moderation contractor in Colombia is under investigation for allegedly traumatising workers. [Time]

  • TikTok should pay more to record labels, major labels says. [Bloomberg $$$]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • TikTok has published an overview of its safety and privacy tools for teens and their parents and carers. [Social Media Today]

  • How the Washington Post is using politics to find younger audiences on TikTok. [AdWeek $$$]

💥 More social media news and updates

With his bid to return to the White House looming, Trump might not be begging Elon for an invite back to Twitter: "The former president has told his allies that he can’t leave his Twitter clone because he’s propping it up, and he doesn’t want a site so closely associated with his brand to collapse."

  • YouTube Music and Premium gained 30 million subscribers in one year. They now have 80 million global subscribers combined. [The Verge]

  • LinkedIn has won the latest court battle in its fight against data scraping. [Social Media Today]

  • LinkedIn ghostwriters are in increasing demand. [Insider $$$]

  • Some WeChat users have had to write letters of apology to get their banned accounts back. [Rest of World]

  • Pinterest says it has boosted pin performance through algorithm tweaks. [Social Media Today]

Insights to give you an edge at work:

  • Social media algorithms: A 2023 guide for every network. [Hootsuite blog]

  • Want to build a following on LinkedIn? The company has created a new guide. [Social Media Today]

New features and tests:

  • YouTube is rolling out 'Go Live Together' for co-streaming with friends on TikTok and Twitch. [Search Engine Land]

  • YouTube has launched a new Live Q&A feature. [The Verge]

  • YouTube is bringing Shorts to its TV apps. [The Verge]

  • YouTube has rolled out comment translations and smart replies to more users. [Social Media Today]

  • YouTube ad campaigns have new frequency capping options. [Social Media Today]

  • LinkedIn has launched new training resources for coders, in partnership with GitHub. [Social Media Today]

  • Tumblr has launched a double 'Important Blue Internet Checkmark' and will sell it to you as a way of turning shitposting into a business model. [TechCrunch]

  • Reddit is rolling out a community muting feature. [AdWeek $$$]

  • Pinterest has launched its Shuffles collage-making app to all. [TechCrunch]

  • Clubhouse is working on paid houses. [@alex193a]

  • Telegram has added video transcription and group topics. [Android Police]

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📖 Weekend reading

"What we call social media networks are anything but. Now that they're beginning to unravel, we should ask what it would take to create social media for people, not advertisers."

😳 And finally...

The metaverse is going to be a hoot.:

📅 Back next week...

…And that’s you fully Geeked Out. 🤯

I seriously hope Elon and Twitter calms the F down next week!

But if the crazy continues, I leave you with ONE piece of advice.

Good luck out there, social media managers. ❤️

– Matt


This newsletter is edited by Martin SFP Bryant

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