So I’m largely off Twitter. You may not have even known that I was on Twitter but it is (or perhaps was a thing) so for many years when I made a post I also posted a link to it to Twitter.
Now of course the world’s richest human Elon Musk has purchased it, fired half the staff and basically it’s been running mostly on autopilot. Musk is doing what he usually does when he acquires a company: sending it through great upheaval, firing people right and left and basically feeling his way through retrofitting it.
Supposedly he wants to make it profitable again, but the evidence is that he massively overpaid for it to the tune of about $44B dollars. Advertisers are largely running away and he keeps changing his mind about the new rules for the platform. Donald Trump is invited back but apparently feels contractually required to use his “Truth Social” platform instead, ostensibly for legal reasons, so he’s not back on it. Musk wants to make it a great free speech platform again, while still restricting some content willy-nilly based on rules he gets to make up because he owns the place now.
Meanwhile, Musk is showing he’s very right wing and antisemitic. In fact, he’s succeeding brilliantly in making a complete ass of himself. I really don’t see much difference between he and Donald Trump, except Musk is actually rich. Twitter shows all the potential of being a very expensive platform for doing what he wants it to do, and it’s not so much raising money as it is allowing him to do things the way he wants. He doesn’t seem to know what that is yet but as with most of his acquisitions, he’ll make it up as he goes along and claim later it was all brilliant.
I’m very skeptical Twitter will be around a year from now. It’s likely to keep hemorrhaging money. For the moment simply keeping it from collapsing altogether is the big challenge. It seems to be running mostly on autopilot. Meanwhile, Musk seems determined to use it in a way he thinks is best. Similar to Donald Trump, its true purpose seems to be to exist primarily as a vanity project. As an investment, it’s likely to prove a bad one, kind of like Meta since it emerged from Facebook and lost three quarters of its value. It’s unlikely that Mark Zuckerburg’s vision of a virtual avatar world will get fulfilled by creating Meta, but Facebook has been dying for a while too. The whole social media landscape is changing. Zuckerberg and Musk are placing bets on where it goes next. Both are likely to discover they’ve squandered their companies and billions of dollars of shareholder value on vanity projects to stroke their own egos.
It’s the tyranny of the billionaires. As long as we keep using their platforms, we have to keep following their rules. But many are saying there’s no point in bothering. They are off to new platforms like TikTok instead and have given these billionaires not even a passing glance on their way out the door. If you are going to live in a free market economy, you can’t expect to control a free market. People will move online to places they want to be.
I never quite understood Twitter’s appeal. I guess it did let you communicate, or at least get snippets of news or opinion, from largely diverse communities including people you would not encounter otherwise. It’s nature though has always struck me as ad hoc and unorganized. Which is why I’ve only linked to my posts on the site. I don’t bother to contribute any actual content to it.
And now I don’t even bother. I haven’t closed my account yet, but I’ve moved to Mastodon, a sort of open source Twitter-like clone, which is also not centrally owned. I can create my own Mastodon server if I want, but it’s easier to use someone else’s. So you can get links to my “tweets” here:
You can also if interested leave me direct messages there, favorite posts or comment on anything there. But the content won’t be there. It will be at https://occamsrazor.info instead. So at best use Mastodon to search for new blog post notifications.
What do I really think of Elon Musk? I think he’s good at making gobs of money, mostly through obsessive tenacity and exploiting people. He’s basically an engineer and has that perspective. He likes crazily hard challenges. He wants to be the Henry Ford of the 21st century. I think he feels his way through life. It doesn’t appear that he has any plans, just figures that with drive and tenacity that his special skill can show he is superhuman. In the process he causes a huge amount of wreckage, but obviously he doesn’t care. Like Donald Trump, he is basically a psychopath. I’d never work for the guy. He’s only interested in very talented people who will basically give their lives over to him, and don’t mind being ruthlessly exploited to try to fulfill his ever changing visions.
If there was ever a case of a toxic American, he would be its poster child. At one time we would admire men like him. In the 21st century, his model of doing things looks dysfunctional and crazy.
Too many Americans still assume that wealth and business acumen means some great mastery of life in general. But these people are often unable to see the forests through the trees. When everything is about me, it’s impossible to understand the value of us. Meaningful change is a result of collaboration and consensus, but the Musks of the world won’t tolerate alternative visions.
He’s an extremely toxic person you should avoid. He’s not smarter at other aspects in life than you are; in fact, he’s woefully deficient. He never mastered the people and social skills needed to orchestrate what society and business need. In fact, he does just the opposite.
I can’t see myself buying a Tesla or using his satellites. To the extent that I can ignore him, I will, for my own sanity and peace of mind. If you value you mental and physical health too, you should do likewise. He’s good at making money and manipulating people, but overall he’s a terrible example of a human being. He’s a giant train wreck of a human being, affecting anyone near his orbit. He doesn’t deserve your time, attention or money.