SGI, other Sask. organizations prepare followers for the possibility of Twitter's demise

Many on Twitter are worried the site is in its end days, due to mass amounts of employees exiting the company.  (Dado Ruvic/Reuters - image credit)
Many on Twitter are worried the site is in its end days, due to mass amounts of employees exiting the company. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters - image credit)

The future of Twitter has been a hot topic on the social media site over the last two days. The Saskatchewan government, businesses and influencers are responding to that uncertainty.

Late Thursday evening, as the hashtag #RIPTwitter continued to trend on the troubled platform, SGI tweeted to its followers, directing them to other platforms where they can follow the government service in case Twitter does indeed kick the bucket.

"Seeing a bunch of tweets about the potential imminent demise of Twitter, it made me think, well, maybe this is something that we should remind our audience. Part of it was a bit tongue in cheek, I would say," said Tyler McMurchy, manager of media relations for SGI and overseer of all the company's social media accounts.

The Crown corporation tweets every day from two accounts. But it also uses Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and a TikTok account.

So what is causing all this uncertainty on billionaire Elon Musk's new toy?

Thousands of Twitter employees are estimated to have decided to leave the beleaguered social media company following a Thursday deadline from new owner Elon Musk that told staffers to sign up for "long hours at high intensity," or leave.

The departures highlight the reluctance of some of Twitter's employees to remain at a company where Musk earlier fired half of the workforce, including top management, and is ruthlessly changing the culture to emphasize long hours and an intense pace.

Musk took to Twitter late on Thursday and said that he was not worried about resignations as "the best people are staying."

Now, many of the site's users are scrambling to download their data.

The departures from the company include many engineers responsible for fixing bugs and preventing service outages, raising questions about the stability of the platform amid the loss of employees.

On Thursday evening, the version of the Twitter app used by employees began slowing down, according to one source familiar with the matter, who estimated that the public version of Twitter was at risk of breaking during the night.

What would happen

Even though Twitter is not where SGI has its biggest audience — that accolade goes to Facebook — McMurchy said the platform is still very important, as its two accounts have been live since 2010 and 2011.

"In spite of what my personal feelings about Twitter and my own personal consumption of it is, which is probably not always healthy, we would definitely lose out not having Twitter," said McMurchy.

He said Twitter allows SGI two-way communication with its audience.

"When you are on Twitter, you are able to share info very quickly with people and that's obviously something that we've appreciated, whether it's a sharing company news or information about traffic safety."

Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

SGI has also used the platform to warn people about scams.

"The fact that people can quite easily retweet that, that amplifies that message and help, hopefully providing information that will keep others out of trouble."

McMurchy said SGI also uses the platform to engage with partners like law enforcement and organizations like MADD, SADD and other safety organizations.

"If Twitter were to disappear tomorrow and we weren't able to do that, we would miss out."

Still, McMurchy said he wouldn't describe Twitter's potential demise as "catastrophic."

Kirk Fraser/CBC
Kirk Fraser/CBC

Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan RCMP told CBC in a statement that it does not rely solely on any one platform, such as Twitter, to share stories, news or public safety information.

"Should any of these communication tools —Twitter, for example — cease to exist, we will continue using a variety of other means to share our messaging," said the RCMP.

The Saskatchewan government echoed this sentiment in its statement to CBC on the matter.

"We are confident in our ability to continue communicating effectively with the people of Saskatchewan," said the province.

In fact, the province recently launched a new Highway Hotline app. Highway Hotline's Twitter account is known for its frequent tweets on weather conditions, but the province is confident the app will fill that need.

For now, the world waits for more dramatic news about Twitter and its new owner.