Sure, just staying on Twitter is theoretically an option, but frankly, so is moving to the next big platform. In terms of social media, Twitter is getting old and irrelevant; many online creators mainly focus on TikTok or Instagram. Like Facebook, Twitter stopped being cool as soon as its core user base got old enough to spend more time talking about 401(k)s and mortgage rates than pop culture. Of course, some of us stayed there to live-tweet Scandaldissect Game of Thronesand talk about politics. But for many of us, it’s our job, not just our leisure activity. And it came with a price, whether it was being stalked by trolls or just feeling drained from the day’s drama. And sure, some people have lost careers or relationships because of things they said online. There were others bullied entirely by social media.

There’s always the risk of being a semi-public figure—after all, while attention can be great, it can also be destructive. Being online is in many ways a gamble with your future, because you never know who or what you’ll run into.

Of course, my view of Twitter’s trajectory is shaped by my long history online. I came to Twitter from LiveJournal, a blogging platform that officially died after it was purchased from a Russian company SUP Media. But he was dying in America long before SUP entered the frame. Users were already on one of LiveJournal’s clones — Twitter, Tumblr, etc. And we had no idea that Twitter would win as the leading place to transition, so we opened accounts in several places. For at least the last two years, people have been creating accounts on Mastodon, Pillowfort, and a host of others. Because fundamentally, platforms are for the people, not the owners. And Twitter’s leadership was unpopular long before Musk offered to buy the platform. Users who relied on Twitter for crowdfunding, organizing protests, raising awareness of social issues and more struggled with how the company seemed determined to create features that made advertising easier but connecting harder. It’s impossible not to wonder if what we’re seeing now isn’t just the next turning of the larger wheel of internet culture. As technology changes, can each platform be the only one that matters, or will we always move on to greener pastures as our needs change?

Twitter has dominated for so long that it’s scary to imagine the actual end of the line for this form of microblogging. But now more than 50% of Twitter’s biggest users really don’t use it anymore. This is for a variety of reasons, but it’s always the case when the platform starts to crash. Going viral the way I did with hashtags in 2011 may not happen again on another platform, although all signs point to virality being a permanent aspect of online life. When making an impact became a career goal rather than just an accident, the writing was on the wall for any platform that seemed too big to fail. Where celebrities and cultural influencers go, so will everyone else. This is perhaps my most chronically online hot example, but Musk seems to have bought a millstone rather than a cultural touchstone.

The importance of Twitter five years ago cannot be overstated, but now that we’re looking at the possibility of a future without Twitter, will anything really change for the average person who uses the Internet but doesn’t live on it? Social media users who lose their connection to Twitter will find themselves again on different sites. I have friends I first met on AOL chat rooms in the 90’s! I have been found on other platforms for the very simple reason that I have a distinctive username. For those making their big break on TikTok or YouTube, their audience will have an even easier time following them. But not all content creators like micro-celebrities. Many will get what they need from social media and then phase out their online careers.

For many users, social media is a tool to use to get what you want, but not a place to live your life. In many ways, Twitter’s massive popularity depends on our ignorance of its potential impact, but now that we know what it’s worth? I’m not sure we’ll miss it enough to keep paying that price. Maybe Musk will make money from the deal, but even he seems to suspect that Twitter is dying. And even though he may think he can resurrect him, nobody likes zombies.

Mickey Kendall is a writer, occasional feminist, and author of Hood feminism.