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Twitter as slow motion trainwreck

Written By: - Date published: 11:11 am, November 12th, 2022 - 42 comments
Categories: twitter - Tags: ,

It is really quite something to be watching in real time, the implosion of twitter at the hands of Elon Musk. The latest installment played out in the past few days. Background from Wikipedia for the tweets below,

Musk completed the acquisition on October 27, 2022 for $44 billion. Musk immediately fired the top three Twitter executives. About a week later, he began laying off about half of the company’s approximately 7,500 employees.

A week after the takeover, Musk revamped Twitter Blue, increasing its price to $8 per month and adding new features, including the “blue checkmark” verification that had previously been reserved for high-profile confirmed users. This plan was criticized by several outlets, fearing that the potential for misinformation would increase since anyone could pay to appear to be verified through Twitter Blue. Musk opted to delay the changes to blue checkmarks until after the 2022 midterm elections in the U.S. over these concerns, and stated that accounts that were faking identities, outside of parody accounts, would be terminated.

In case that’s not clear, Musk enabled the general public to buy ‘verification’ of real life identity. Jean Luc Picard doesn’t have enough palms for that one.

People then took a hatchet to Musk’s idiocy and arrogance,

Here’s a sampling, but click through to the thread for the full experience. Roblox is a large US online gaming platform that has been criticised for how it exploits children,

AIPAC is a US pro-Israel lobby group,

So far, so funny, the internets love taking the piss. More serious is the loss of trust, not so much of Musk (it’s a given), but of the platform itself,

To really understand what’s going on here,

Sounds good, right? Musk as social do-gooder. But it’s post hoc PR. Five days earlier it was this,

The underlying values there are libertarian capitalism: you can pay for the good stuff, or choose not to (in Musk’s world, everyone can afford $US8/month) and put up with a shitty experience. Your choice.

Expect twitter to shift from an ad-revenue, free social media platform with relatively equitable access, to a place of  class divisions. The most damage will be done to the culture, but many of us are philosophical about this because it’s been obvious for a long time that the tech giants are run by people without the social intelligence to do it well.

If you want social media for more than the laughs, shit posting, and politics, check out Mastodon. Lots of Kiwis over there now, different rules, different vibe. Mastodon is social media created by people who know what ethics are and understand that people want to relate with each other in human ways.

42 comments on “Twitter as slow motion trainwreck ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    C'mon, its hilarious

    Watching in real time as Musk dispels once and for all the idea that billionaires are some sort of savant class his fantastic.

    Although he managed persuade the Saudi's to pump in seven billion, so I expect some bone saws might be getting dusted off…

    • weka 1.1

      Watching in real time as Musk dispels once and for all the idea that billionaires are some sort of savant class his fantastic.

      that's worth its weight in gold.

  2. weka 2

  3. Ad 3

    The Twitter, Amazon, Alphabet-Google, Facebook and Jack Ma variant collapses surely count as the single largest and quickest value burn outside the Tulip boom.

    So many Sharesie tears, high Kiwisaver rage, NZSuper andACC fund multibillion burn, retirements delayed.

    Ain't no political upside to assets evaporating.

    • AB 3.1

      These assets are fictitious – they evaporate when people stop believing.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        How many job losses does it take to penetrate your reality then?

        11,000? That's Twitter alone

        25,000? That's Twitter and Alphabet in 10 days.

        150,000? That's the impact of those two on subcontractors.

        200,000 jobs gone perhaps? That's a fair number of mortgaged families in deep stress.

        Still I'm sure you can find the sunny side.

      • Incognito 3.1.2

        They are called digital assets.

  4. roblogic 4

    It's beginning to look like deliberate sabotage. Too much truth leaking out to challenge billionaires and power brokers around the world.

    • joe90 4.1

      Yup. A mere $44 billion to kneecap a tool that can be used in real time by disparate groups to organise opposition against rising authoritarianism.

    • roblogic 4.2

      More evidence for the sabotage thesis. (whole thread is worth a look)

      • weka 4.2.1

        your tweet from before too,

        • roblogic 4.2.1.1

          Likely because of Elon's "hardcore" ultimatum that basically required everyone to submit to slavery, or else take redundancy. Looks like most people were happy to take 3 months severance pay and look for work somewhere more sane.

  5. X Socialist 5

    A great lesson for socialists to learn from. Capitalism and Choice. A choice to move onto a different platform if you don't like Musk and the changes he's brought to Twitter. No need for government intervention and legislation and sticking noses in where they're not wanted.

    But, hold on! Musk's companies have received billions in federal subsidies. I don't know what that makes him. But we shouldn't talk of libertarian capitalism and Musk in the same breath.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/16/business/elon-musk-politics-twitter.html

    • weka 5.1

      what platform is a substitute for twitter?

      • X Socialist 5.1.1

        You mentioned Mastodon.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          Mastodon is not a twitter substitute. It's very different from twitter. I'm not aware of anything else like twitter, which is why it's a pretty big deal this is happening.

          • arkie 5.1.1.1.1

            It's interesting to read the history of twitter. It was created from a system developed by protestors and activists:

            While Dorsey has made something of a career out of claiming to be the inventor of Twitter, the truth is that, like many other technical innovations, Twitter didn’t leap fully-formed out of the mind of a solitary genius. It built on substantial prior work.

            Twitter’s roots can be traced back to the 2004 Republican National Convention, when protesters relied on custom-built software to coordinate actions, report on police movements, and share their whereabouts. There were in fact two such systems in use during the 2004 RNC. The most popular was a system called TXTmob that the Institute for Applied Autonomy and I built to support protests at the Democratic National Convention earlier that year. There was also another, similar service inspired by TXTmob that Nathan Freitas and a bay-area activist organization called the Ruckus Society developed called RNC 2004 Text Alert Service (TAS). Both systems offered Twitter-like features, including the ability to send and receive brief status updates via mobile phones and the web. TXTmob also supported the use of hashtags to denote metadata and system commands.

            https://medium.com/@tadhirsch/txtmob-and-twitter-a-reply-to-nick-bilton-eedbde2abbcd

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              interesting, cheers.

              The thing I don't understand is why we don't have more diverse social media platforms. Part of it is probably that while small they're very tech cliquey (Mastodon is a challenge because of this, it's not easy to understand and the lanuage used is obviously geek not mainstream). But also how to get enough people using it so that it works. Something like TXTmob sounds awesome. Why aren't there small scale, ethical, secure options like this for a range of uses?

              • Craig H

                Either nobody has figured out how to sufficiently monetise them to bother, or they have attempted to and either gone large or failed, so there's no middle ground.

                • weka

                  there's a lot of software out there done by geeks for the love of it without major capital. Why is this area different?

                  • Craig H

                    Takes a lot bandwidth = cost. Also, social media with the ability to curate one's own groups is available, so a question is why have a separate platform when people can make their groups on current platforms e.g. Facegroup Groups, Reddit, Discord etc.

                    It's also hard to keep something that's good and free small-scale. Mass begets mass, basically.

          • X Socialist 5.1.1.1.2

            The problem now with Twitter is the same as popular music in the early 90s. Once tech changed,music lovers split into tribal groups. Now we have a new generation of young YTubers discovering music they didn't know existed ( AC/DC is very popular),

            Until ex Twitters decide on an alternative, there's going to be a variety of apps jockying for position.

            https://english.jagran.com/technology/twitter-alternatives-in-november-2022-7-apps-that-are-emerging-as-twitters-substitute-amid-backlash-10054068

      • Stuart Munro 5.1.2

        The Russosphere uses Telegram – haven't tried it myself.

  6. Joe90 6

    A once in a lifetime opportunity.

  7. joe90 7

    It's all fun and games until the RL consequences become apparent.

    On October 28, Twitter users woke up to a new reality: Elon Musk had taken over the platform and almost immediately begun making changes. For people with disabilities who’d found an emotional support system on Twitter, anxiety over Musk’s upheaval was especially sharp. Twitter had been one of the most user-friendly social media platforms out there—with a world-class team that made sure it was usable by people who had a variety of different needs. Plus, it’d been a megaphone and a lifeline to the outside world, for those who’d been especially vulnerable during the pandemic and mostly stayed indoors. Everything was now up in the air.

    https://time.com/6230469/disability-users-twitter-elon-musk/

    https://archive.ph/Xhfud

  8. Sabine 8

    i can't help it but i find some of these tweets funny and fwiw also very apt. Lockhead Martin should not be in business, Insulin should be free of charge, Israel is an apartheid state, and so on and so forth.

    If anything, people should have a look at the @ and maybe that is the issue. Blindly following someone rich and famous for their blue tick and pretending that they have something worthy to say. And for 8 bucks anyone can play.

    But i am sure Mastaton and Tribel will be nicer and cleaner spaces for those that don't like messy twitter.

    In any case, twitter was supposed to do initially a platform for people to engage and share information etc, much like reddit, facebook, discord, wechat etc, and people can chose to participate or not. No one is forced to have an account. As for the 'best source of information', well that always depended on ones bias, and fwiw, it still is a good source of information for those that can read the @ and bio to discern if this is a parody account or not. But some people can’t be cancelled into oblivion anymore and twitters new business model will be to monetise everything, after all capitalism is still a thing.

    I mean the BP parody account tweet could be straight from the Stop Oil dudes/ettes. And i for one would not call that tweet misinformation.

  9. weston 9

    How could any discussion about Twitter not include information like this ??

    https://declassifiedaus.org/2022/11/03/strongmassive-anti-russian-bot-army-exposed-by-australian-researchers-strong/

    Doesnt matter who owns it if it can pump out misinformation and propaganda on a grand scale like this surely its dangerous for the entire community !!??

    Twitter apparently officially recognizes its site contains 5% bots but that figure is ridiculously underestimated according to the Adelaide University study .

  10. Hanswurst 10

    Twitter, in and of itself, is a bad thing overall. Yes, the element of anybody being able to post their musings to as large a potential audience as anybody else’s, regardless of wealth, power or prior prominence, is an improvement in terms of openness over previously existing channels of information, but basically, looking at two broad scenarios:

    • In the world prior to Twitter, a world of print, blogs and even Facebook, a wanker puts up a two-sentence shitpost, and nobody considers it long enough even to think, 'Oh, a wanker just put up a two-sentence shitpost.'
    • A wanker tweets a two-sentence shitpost, and there is a more than decent chance that it will be considered noteworthy, or even newsworthy, by a significant group of people.

    The second scenario risks an all-encompassing race to take pole position in a social dynamic governed exclusively by reckons, half-baked ideas and shitposts. Now, it may be inevitable, with the technological stage we have reached, that the world ends up working that way, and that the future is already baked in as a world of good people fighting shit with shit in a world of shit, but regardless of whether it is or isn't a foregone conclusion, the world would still be the poorer for it.

  11. William 11

    The left's complaining because there will be two sides to any argument again. Hey, but don't fret I'm sure the so called hate speech laws will put paid to that, along with our democracy but then everything comes with a price, right?

    • Hanswurst 11.1

      I don't think anybody thinks it will be reduced to just two, but the problem is the reduction in viewpoints, yes.

  12. Sacha 12

    Mood.

  13. roblogic 13

    The myths about Elon Musk are being completely shattered. He is an incredibly skilful liar and grifter. Thread:

    And sleazeball:

  14. roblogic 14

    This is just f#cked. We are watching the destruction of $40 billion of Elon's ill gotten wealth (yay!) but also the thoughts and creativity and fun and community of millions of people.

    A massive waste of human genius, social solidarity, and connectivity unparalleled in history. The promise of the internet snuffed out by a malevolent oligarch.

    Socialism & democracy built the internet. Useless greedy fuckwits like Musk are killing it.

  15. #RIPTwitter is trending…

  16. Joe90 16

    Oh dear

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