Tag Archives: Elon Musk

Who Will Build Another Twitter? (Hint – it’s not Meta)

Twitter is dead; long live Elon Musk’s X. Yes- many of us are still there – rather desperately posting or reposting potential world-altering words or deeds or events. Accompanied of course by photos, videos and live streams. We’re still there because government leaders and other world figures and organizations seem to have stayed. Even though many are openly horrified at what Musk in his mindless, libertarian quest for absolutely free speech now allows and often applauds.

Wasn’t Meta’s Threads supposed to be the savior of us all? Well – have you been there lately? It’s threadBARE. Meta rushed it out the last time X had an advertiser meltdown. Word was users were deserting the now sewer-like app in droves. Millions signed up to Threads with their Instagram accounts. To find – crickets. No world leaders. No way of controlling your feed. Odd symbols for repost and the rest. Meta’s algorithm determined what you saw in your feed and what you saw, even if you followed only news outlets, their reporters and opinion writers, was riddled with Instagram-like, off-topic nothingness. And the news stories were sometimes 4 days old! Like a Facebook feed which coughs up a “friend’s” old post every time someone finds it and comments.

Meta said when it released Threads it was supposed to be another chat-type app. Meta didn’t reach out to any news organizations and in fact mostly ignored the word “news”.

Not much has changed in the months since. But of bunch of newsies have been desperately trying to clone the old, pre-Musk Twitter on Theads. Not that the old Twitter was a paragon of propriety – far from it. But at least there were guide rails, Donald Trump’s account and those of others who aped him remained suspended after the January 6th insurrection. Others got warnings. There were basic rules and at least sometimes, they were enforced by Twitter employees who were hired specifically to – in a sense – keep the peace on the platform. Yes some people were harassed and doxxed. But that’s true of all social media. No one has yet figured out or cared enough to figure out a set of pan-platform public decency regulations to keep snark and threats to a minimum.

Here’s the thing. We need Twitter. Or a new Twitter. Even pre Musk there were always 2 Twitters. The one I saw – filled with news, analysis, legitimate video and comments from legitimate users. The ones with real names and real profiles and often with the blue checkmarks bestowed by the old Twitter to verfiy those entities and people. And of course the other Twitter – the ugly, cruel, hate-mongering Twitter so loved by Elon Musk. That one we definitely DON’T need. Let Musk keep it.

The rest of us need a Twitter because in an age when factual news and its evil twin misinformation circle the globe in nanoseconds – there has to be at least one place where leaders and those who report on them can “meet”. Where ordinary people hungry for real information can find it. My old Twitter was as close to that as we’ve gotten. And you can still find a great deal of legitimate news and information and comments on Elon Musk’s Twitter. Um, excuse me, X. But it’s only there because there is just nowhere else right now. And everyone still there for that reason knows they can’t stay much longer unless Musk the libertarian somehow has an epiphany, cleans out his septic tank and comes up with another, free method of verifying those who should be verified.

So I’m back to the beginning. We need a (new) Twitter. And we need it quickly. In the US we have a Presidential election in less than a year. Perhaps the most consequential election since Abraham Lincoln’s days. We are involved in two wars now even without boots on the ground. We need a legitimate platform for legitimate information and discussion. Maybe instead of all the rambling talk about AI and Chatbot GT someone who actually knows how to use the new technology can use it to create a new platform. With all the old Twitter’s “important people” and organizations and government entities. And an even better way to let users discuss politics, culture and change. And their intersection.

But get a move on. The sewer is cracking quickly. Major advertisers left again after Elon Musk seemingly endorsed very anti-Semitic comments. Despite Musk’s subsequent trip to Israel and live interview hosted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – X may not make it even to the New Hampshire GOP Primary.

Credits: Get it on black and white twitter logo png hq download

Dear Elon!

So for days I’ve been listening to all the analyst dissection of your $44 billion plan to buy (or not to buy) Twitter. And reading your tweets about counting bots and creating open source algorithms and having “fun” by opening the platform to just about anyone no matter the lies or misinformation or disinformation. Like reinstating President Trump. And his buddies. All of whom were banned for life after the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol.

So Elon (I hope you don’t mind my using your first name – kind of what to expect when you restore that old soapbox to Twitter). Anyhow – Elon – you say you want to take a public social media platform private. But I’m not sure you really understand about Twitter. You really CAN’T own it. Nor -actually – can the current shareholders. Nor the board members who represent them and whom I’ve been told never actually use the platform.

Seriously Elon. WE own Twitter. Really. All of us who use it. That, of course, includes you – but no more or no less than each of us. And have you actually looked at who “us” are? Well there’s me of course but I really don’t count. And all the yahoos who think they’re being really cool by being snippy and snarky and just plain stupid. You know – like a lot of them who tweet back at you. No – I’m talking about literally every leader in the modern world – except perhaps those who have banned Twitter in their countries because it IS owned by the rest of us. In fact I would call Twitter the newsfeed for the world. Presidents and Prime Ministers and Kings and Queens make their official policy announcements on Twitter. Movie stars and rap stars and universities and companies — and on and on — tell their Twitter followers first. With all the rest of us watching.

Twitter is too important to belong to one somewhat erratic, imperious but brilliant entrepreneur Elon. It’s not Facebook or Instagram or Telegram or any other social media app. It’s too important to the world to be judged on Wall Street’s standards of new monthly users or total advertising dollars. Maybe it started that way but it’s morphed into something very different now. Something quite unique. Something which is the center of official and unofficial world information.

So – Elon – you really can’t have it. It’s not your plaything. Give it back to us. To everyone who thinks or writes or governs or sings or has a winning tennis swing. Just go back to getting us to Mars . It’s really more interesting and needs your genius. Twitter doesn’t. It just needs everyone who matters in the World – including you – to keep tweeting. So those of us who don’t matter quite so much can continue to feel a part of something really, really BIG.