Something About Twitter

Elon Musk is buying Twitter because… reasons.  He likes free speech, or he doesn’t like content moderation, or he likes to show off for his fans, or he wants to stroke his ego in front of us all, or he wants to prove that the ultra rich can do whatever they damn well please, pick your poison.

Tweet, tweet motherfuckers

And this has caused a bit of a panic in some.  If you simply don’t like Elon that is certainly a good enough reason to dump the platform.  And if you’re worried that he’s going to turn it into a toxic stew of harassment by entitled assholes… more so… then you might at least be eyeing the exits, looking for alternatives.

The whole state of affairs hasn’t exactly put a spring in my step.

But I am not running for the exits myself.  Not yet at least.

To start with I am not sure where I would even go, except for “away.”

What am I going to do, move to Facebook?  That would be a leap from the frying pan into a toxic waste fueled fire.  Instagram… Facebook lite… is garbage except for cat and old car pictures (Fiat 124 Coupes for the win), Tumblr is garbage in general whether it is mostly porn this week or not, Google+ is long gone (and was garbage), LinkedIn is business Facebook and, unless you’re looking for a job, is a lot of self-promoting garbage.

Frankly, part of what appeals to me about Twitter is that people are limited to 280 characters.  That keeps the amount of noise in one post down to a manageable level.

Of course, there are a bunch of “We’re going to make a better Twitter” alternatives out there, some of which planned to go full free speech relative to Twitter’s rather modest content moderation scheme… who really either planned to moderate even more harshly Twitter or found out the hard way that content moderation isn’t optional and free speech is a dubious proposition on social media for all sorts of legal, moral, and financial reasons.

Also we’re all a bunch of jerks really, and seem to remain so no matter where we go.

I do not subscribe to the “anonymity + audience = raging idiocy” school of thought, if only because I’ve been to Facebook and know full well that anonymity does even enter into it.  People will say the most ignorant, offensive things you can imagine and post it with not only their name but their real life picture on it.  And if there are even the most minor of consequences… which there so rarely are… they’ll be flabbergasted and complain about being censored and bring up the first amendment and what not.  Sometimes I think we deserve all of this.

Anyway, I digress.  I am not going to leave Twitter mostly because I am comfortable there and have, over the last dozen years, honed a list of people to follow who keep me informed on the things that interest me.

I am loathe to give up on that list.  I wouldn’t even know where to find most of those people elsewhere on the internet.  How would I ever get by not knowing how Alikchi’s epic year and a half long so far game of War in the Pacific turns out?  Priorities man.

I am also not in the panic some are in.

Elon Musk can be a chaotic, immature, mercurial, self-absorbed, egotistical twat, but he isn’t a complete idiot.  He was born rich, sure, but he has made himself obscenely rich since then, so he has something going for him.  He hasn’t, like certain ex-presidents of the United States, blown his father’s fortune on bad investments and only pretends to be a billionaire.

As such I don’t think he’ll burn Twitter to the ground by removing all moderation or whatever people think will happen.  Rich people don’t stay rich that way.  They stay rich by getting their good investments, like Tesla, to buy out their bad investments, like Solar City, to stick the bad decisions on the stock holders.

Also, he is financing $25 billion of the deal… again, rich people don’t need to spend their money because banks are sure they’re worth it… so there will be lenders who will be able to pressure him to not make a mess of the whole thing.  The worry should probably be that they’ll insist that he monetize the crap out of Twitter to pay them off sooner, because the deal will leave the company heavily leveraged and one of Twitter’s larger problems has been generating revenue relative to its perceived influence.

And the deal might not even come to pass.  Things could happen.  He might not get the financing lined up.  Tesla or Twitter… or both… might fall in value enough to make the deal non-viable.  Or some new shiny object might grab his attention.

Anyway, I am following my usual course of laziness and sticking around for now.  This post was mostly to remind myself in a year that this was a thing so I can see what happened.

5 thoughts on “Something About Twitter

  1. zaphod6502

    As someone who does not use Twitter I do not know why Elon Musk has such a strange fascination with the service. I also do not understand why a service like this is worth $44 billion. Absolutely hilarious.

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  2. Marathal

    I’m hopeful he has an idea of how he sees the platform. He’s said those on the extreme right and left will not be happy, and that he wants free speech according to the law. It will be interesting to see how many employees leave, but certainly based on the information about political donations, the overwhelming majority of employees are to one side of the aisle. I do see him poking into what’s been done in the past and having no qualms about pulling back the curtain if he feels that in the end it will improve Twitter. I left years ago because I felt like I was being insulted daily by having an opinion different than those with thousands of followers. I came back before musk put in the offer and I’m watching and listening. Going to be interesting to see how it plays out.

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  3. Emily

    I’ve left Twitter before, I can leave it again if things get out of hand with toxicity which is why when I returned there I decided to be incognito and just tweet blog content.

    Hell I already left Instagram when they did nothing to help me recover my hacked account. Where else do I have left to go. The only reason I have Facebook at this point is to stay on touch with friends and I just mute everything I don’t like to see. Then I rediscovered Snapchat.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. PCRedbeard

    Twitter is one of those places that is toxic to me, because it is so damn easy to punch in 280 characters and spew out into the void without thinking about long term ramifications. It is the world’s id on display, and if I were to ever use it I’d likely find myself in hot water with people (pick one: friends, family, wife, coworkers, kids, etc.) within a week.*

    Still, in the hands of the media savvy, it can be a tool of oppression unlike any other. Or the tool of enlightenment unlike any other.

    If Elon does buy Twitter and then turn around and remove all of the (minimal) content moderation protections, he’ll find himself owner of a software app that mainly caters to the Americas. India and China are already off the table, and the EU will ban the app if Musk removes consumer protections and lets the loudest voice in the room rule. People fleeing Twitter would likely outnumber people joining, so he’d own a product with a smaller reach than before, lowering the viability of the service he provides. Maybe that’s what he wants, but I think he wants a personal playground just to cheese off his enemies and his rivals. We’re just the collateral damage in his pissing matches with Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page.

    *Full disclosure: I have a Twitter account, but I don’t use it. I only created it to DM someone who wasn’t responding via email and I was concerned about their health. They did get back in touch with me, so mission accomplished, and I’ve never touched the account since. I should delete it, but I keep it in reserve just in case.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marathal

    I was on it for a long time, and I can see where Jack Dorsey has a problem with where it started to go wrong. It was almost noticeable when Wall Street started pushing their way in, and the company fell victim to corporate dollars. Promoted Tweets, high profile celebrities, pushing trends to get people to follow more and more. And I watched the rise of those that got up on their keyboard soap boxes, created their Patreon accounts and the Buy me a coffee accounts. I wouldn’t go so far as to say some were shill’s, but definitely there were many looking for financial support for their hobby. The amount of people with their hands out, on top of everyone else looking for paid subscription fees. It was like walking down a street full of pan handlers. I left when I felt that I was being insulted every day because of my age/gender/race/views

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