Elon Musk is doing a good job managing Twitter -- if his goal is to wreck the viability of the company that he paid $44 billion for, and now, according to Musk, already is worth less than half of that, $20 billion.
Musk's reputation as a genius is taking a big hit.
His mismanagement of Twitter also threatens the public perception of his other companies: Tesla and Space X. The only reason they're doing as well as they are appears to be that Musk has competent people managing them, whereas he's put himself in charge of Twitter.
I enjoy Twitter. It's a great source of information for me, given that I follow people who are experts in their fields: politics, law, local news, the Ukraine war, artificial intelligence, and other areas. So articles like Twitter is Dying sadden me.
Since Musk took over he has set about dismantling everything that made Twitter valuable — making it his mission to drive out expertise, scare away celebrities, bully reporters and — on the flip side — reward the bad actors, spammers and sycophants who thrive in the opposite environment: An information vacuum.
It almost doesn’t matter if this is deliberate sabotage by Musk or the blundering stupidity of a clueless idiot. The upshot is the same: Twitter is dying.
The value that Twitter’s platform produced, by combining valuable streams of qualification and curiosity, is being beaten and wrung out. What’s left has — for months now — felt like an echo-y shell of its former self. And it’s clear that with every freshly destructive decision — whether it’s unbanning the nazis and letting the toxicity rip, turning verification into a pay-to-play megaphone or literally banning journalists — Musk has applied his vast wealth to destroying as much of the information network’s value as possible in as short a time as possible; each decision triggering another exodus of expertise as more long-time users give up and depart.
Simply put, Musk is flushing Twitter down the sink. I guess now we all know what the dumb meme really meant.
On April Fools Day, the next — perhaps final — stage of the destruction will commence as Musk rips away the last layer of legacy verification, turning up the volume on anyone who’s willing to pay him $7.99 per month to shout over everyone else.
Anyone who was verified under the old (and by no means perfect) system of Twitter verification — which was at least related to who they were (celebrity, expert, journalist, etc.) — will cease to be verified. Assuming they haven’t already deleted their account. Only accounts that pay Musk will display a ‘Blue Check’.
This is just a parody of verification since the blue tick no longer signals any kind of quality. But the visual similarity seems intentional; a dark pattern designed to generate maximum confusion.
If you pay Musk for this meaningless mark you’ll also get increased algorithmic visibility of your tweets and the power to drown out non-paying users. Which mean all the fakes and imposters can (and will) overwrite the real-deal on Twitter.
Genuine users are rightly outraged at the idea of being blackmailed into paying Musk to prove who they are. These people — the signal amid the Twitter noise — are, after all, a core component of the value of the network. So of course they shouldn’t (and won’t) pay — and so their visibility on Twitter will decay. Which, in turn, will trigger more damage — as any remaining users wanting to find quality information will find it increasingly hard to come by… It’s death by irrelevance.
Here's some Twitter tweets that illustrate how badly Musk's attempt to make money by coercing users to pay $8 a month for a blue check ($1,000 a month for organizations) is going.