This post is a response to Fandango of This, That and the Other’s Provocative Question: Whether or not you have a Twitter account, how do you feel about Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the changes he’s made so far. Do you care one way or the other? If you currently are on Twitter, do you plan to continue actively using it?
I’m more than a little sick and tired of hearing about Twitter and Musk, as well as being annoyed that it probably does matter.
I do not now, nor have I ever had, a Twitter account. I cannot foresee any circumstance that would change that.
In the beginning…
When Twitter first started I thought: “what a bad idea! It’s sole purpose is to make people write little provocative blurbs. Way to kill thoughtful discourse!”
A while ago I wrote a post on a similar subject: This is not a Tweet. It was before the takeover. In it I point out that the whole “public square” idea is marketing, not reality. And that decisions would be made to optimize people staring slack jawed at the screen.
Since the takeover…
In a way I was wrong: Mr. Musk hasn’t been very business-like.
Recently with the layoffs followed by “oops we really didn’t mean it”, Mr Musk has demonstrated that he didn’t think things through and doesn’t know how to operate the business.
But it has also demonstrated that if you are really talented you do not want to work for Twitter. Yes, they may call some people back and they may come, for now…but they will always be looking for a better job, because they know that Twitter’s management is both incompetent and capricious. In a publicly traded company employees might expect for the excesses to be reined in over time and stick around. With a one man show it’s WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get).
In the case of twitter, as mentioned in the Jon Favreau Offline video, the experience of using Twitter is crucial for the company to succeed. If it’s lousy, then people will leave. Since Twitter is basically selling eyes on advertising, a shrinking user base = shrinking profits.
The key to a good user experience is the programming. In other words he is relying on abused and disgruntled employees to make a success of things. It will be interesting to see how it goes.
His “buy a check mark” scheme is just another form of advertising: you are buying eyes on your stuff.
Good thing he doesn’t need investors, because he clearly doesn’t have a good business model.
…after faux pas
Tweeting, then removing, crazy garbage, and people feeling freer to be obnoxious was followed by trying to back off and say “nothing has changed yet” when there was a backlash from advertisers. That is disingenuous at best.
My interpretation of his sudden desire to go through with the purchase was that he was hoping to cash in on Truth Social’s demise. He has been clearly trying to market to that audience with his tweets and bravado interview statements.
He seems genuinely taken aback that most people find that stuff nasty and that advertisers would rather not be associated with material that puts off customers. That speaks to a lack of market research on his part.
The video by Beau talks about that.
As I said, I don’t use, have never used, and do not anticipate using Twitter. I’d love to have other people stop making it important by buying into the “public square” nonsense, and media should stop reporting Tweets as news. I’d as soon never see or hear about a Tweet ever again.