Twitter: Musk is the new boss

By the time you read this, the hoopla would have died down (I schedule almost every post here).

From punchline to deal in under 2 weeks: how Elon Musk won his Twitter prize | Financial Times

One banker who has led several hostile acquisitions in Silicon Valley said it ultimately turned into “a very prosaic process”, as Twitter’s directors succumbed to an offer that some of the company’s biggest shareholders urged them to accept. But the sheer speed of the deal, along with Musk’s use of his personal wealth and ability to harness outsized attention — including on Twitter’s platform itself — made it unlike any deal of its size before.

I don’t go into the drama of the social media platform, but I am still trying to understand its utility. In the western cultural context, it is called a public square. But to what effect? It has created unnecessary hierarchies (blue ticks) and we have no idea how it is distributed. I tried to apply for it to understand the opaque process, but it wasn’t feasible- unless you knew someone in the PR industry who get it done. It is likely that Twitter has specific teams to look into the profile of the user (and the content of the tweets). Unless, I see the internal dashboard on how they are guided to achieve these aims and objectives, it will be speculation.

It doesn’t matter how many billions Musk is ponying up to pay for it. I have a lingering suspicion that it is the core algorithm (which amplifies misinformation), which is the real gold estate. Everything else is perfunctory, since it doesn’t have any specific revenue to speak of. Besides, it’s the network effects of Twitter to be seen and “heard”.

Musk still has several matters to resolve, the biggest being how he will finance the $21bn cash component of the offer. People close to the billionaire said that he had yet to make a final decision but was fully aware that he was on the hook and was ready to sell shares in his electric vehicle maker if needed. In the meantime, he is talking with other potential investors about joining him, those people added. Whatever the outcome, it will be Musk who will be calling the shots if the 50-year-old finishes what he started and becomes the mayor of what he has called the world’s “de facto public town square”.

There’s another perspective:

Platforms change but cool URIs don’t. | Irrational Exuberance

In the long scheme of things, being founded in 2006 makes Twitter a young company, but the internet is different and over the past 16 years it’s become a central platform for many folks working in the technology field (among many others). Twitter has become especially important for folks writing content online, to the extent that it’s the most effective distribution mechanism for many writers. This is certainly true for self-published authors doing their own marketing, but I’ve also heard stories of publishers stipulating in their contracts that authors must be active on Twitter as well as partially filtering prospective authors by the size of their Twitter following.

Hmm. Twitter exposure depends on building up “followers” and algorithms again determine it. If publishers use that as a metric (instead of the content), it is a poor judgement.

Yet another perspective:

Why I’m (cautiously) optimistic about Elon buying Twitter

Chris Wetherell, the engineer who invented the quote-tweet button, later recognized what a disaster it had been. But the company has been reluctant to change the way the function works, probably because it’s worried this would reduce engagement. If anyone can figure out how to change the quote-tweet function so as to preserve engagement and discussion while not biasing the platform toward the formation of cancel-mobs, it’s probably Elon.

If this was a “disaster”, why wasn’t it rescinded? I have grown increasingly cynical of their public claims and actions. As again, social media offers zilch. As a user, you are wasting your time (and energy) in pursuits that only “might” classify you as a “key opinion leader”. It might look good on the resume, but those are just internet points. PR driven agendas on the public square amount for nothing. As again, I maintain my presence on Twitter, but hardly interact personally-I automate it. If that ability goes away in the future, I’d leave it. It makes no sense to spend valuable time there.

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