That’s Elon Musk’s timeline now, we’re just tweeting on it

Well, there it is: your reminder for the moment that we never are does not playing a rich man’s game. Over the past month with Twitter dramas, at least that rich man (conveniently for our narrative-driven purposes) is not just one person, but also, as it happens, that rich man – a perfect protagonist who has decided to apply his background in payment transactions, transportation and emergency rescue in the back seat to the minor issue of free speech, which may or may not be confused with the less conceptually complex idea of Elon Musk to get to do what Elon Musk wants to do as a go, talk Phineas and Ferb Grade. Who should say !?

What amazes me about Musk’s $ 44 billion line item on his ever-growing entertainment budget is the realization that someone smart enough for rocket science could observe Mark Zuckerberg path from rise as a rebellious tech bad boy to – yes, fall is not quite the term one should use for a standing billionaire – no matter what an enviable ucool perch includes being ridiculed as a non-flashing android and being grilled by Congress, and still remain … interested? In some way? Becoming the public face of a platform notorious for spewing vitriol and insanity in equal parts does not seem like the mood you would cultivate if you are someone who already draws associations to Iron Man, or who has secret offspring with Grimes or who seems to get an incredibly reliable dopamine hit from making stoner jokes as a 50-year-old man. However, this is the thing you historically do as a more or less uncontrolled power – why buy yourself a small newspaper when you can snatch so much larger town square itself? Why try to control the narrative, or a measly media operation, when you can own the stage?

Of course, it’s not about the money, as Musk himself has said, and it’s almost a relief that we can just agree to shed that pretense after participating in the last two-ish decades of Web 2.0 and the tasteless results of to monetize clicks that have given us a mostly advertising hellish landscape of short-form videos and algorithmically optimized hate. We have seen what social platforms optimized for advertiser interests and shareholder value look like; via Substackaissance and a more closed internet, we also see how increasingly shattered, subscriber-focused media and cabin platforms – guys, is this BeReal’s moment? – looks like the answer.

Compared to the rest of the scene, Twitter has always struggled to take full advantage of both. Perhaps the blue bird will find its foothold now, or at least achieve some sort of blessed clarity in its latest, most simplified purpose: to serve Elon Musk’s ego, no other measurements required. Everything could change, or we might just get a little more of the same. Honestly, I can not decide what would be worse – which is what leads to the question of the hour: Have we, especially media workers, fucked around as part of Twitter’s most vocal contingent, and plan to find out?

For a small temperature reading, I checked in with a dozen media Twitter heavyweights – average number of followers: cool 87,000! – to see if there were any particularly strong convictions to leave Twitter less than 24 hours after the news of the acquisition broke out. Should we stay or endure it? Below is a selection of the results:

John Paul Brammer, author, Hi Dad!: I keep going, but if it dies, I think it’s exciting because it means I want to die too, and I’m ready to either get up or sleep (digitally).

Max Tani, journalist, Police: Every time I tweet about basketball, my post becomes like five favorites, which given how many followers I have, is pretty solid proof that the tweet was bad. Still, I keep doing it. So I can not realistically see myself quitting at first.

Sarah Hagi |, author, Gawker: I spent six months off Twitter in 2020 and I ended up getting into fights on LinkedIn. Everything is toxic, all these platforms are owned by bad people. I certainly do not care.

Chris Hayes, Host, MSNBC: My on-the-record response is the GIF of Charlton Heston saying “From My Cold Dead Hands” because of course I’m not leaving. But more seriously, I’m really worried he will make the page worse and hope he does not. And I think all the difficult questions about speech / public square vs. private companies in a deep way are insoluble and will not disappear.

Safy-Hallan Farah, author / artist: I have had reservations about Twitter because the way many people interact now has a distinct “scoot over” feel. The quote tweet feature has allowed strangers to jockey for space and a false sense of authority on other people’s tweets. Sure, it’s garden variation cloutsharking, but it feels more personal than that? The platform is me-centered, so it feels like someone wants to write in your diary, or someone is trying to control the music or the taste of birthday cake for your birthday party. I’m not sure how Elon Musk could make this place any stranger than that, nor do I think he’s any different from the rest of the tech heads. However, I could imagine that he, like Clubhouse and Substack, artificially lifted some of society’s worst thinking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *