Tiffany B. Brown

25 April 2022

On Twitter

I wrote this post as a list of thoughts because I'm not sure there's much of a reason to make it a coherent piece.

  1. Elon Musk bought Twitter for an absurd amount of money.
    • $54.20 per share is more than Twitter stock traded for earlier this month when you could buy a share for about $40
    • That's still well below its 52 week high of $73.34, from back in July of 2021.
  2. Twitter has been my hangout since 2007 or so, although I deleted my original account shortly after creating my @webinista one.
  3. I've watched communities rise and fall, including Geocities, AngelFire, BlackPlanet.com, MySpace, Friendster, Pownce, Plurk, Patch, Tumblr, various internet forums, Mastodon and the fediverse, and the almighty blog. Twitter, however, is where my people are and have been for about a third of my life. I'm not sure I'll be able to give that up, although Musk's decision to buy Twitter and take it private gives me a great deal of pause.
  4. Musk calls himself a free-speech absolutist. He seems to enjoy being a troll or provocateur. That said, I can't see a clear reason why Musk would buy Twitter. It doesn't fit with his previous businesses.
  5. Twitter has become an agenda-setting mechanism for media and to a lesser extent politics. However, Musk is rich enough to say things and have people listen. Why buy a megaphone that he doesn't really need, at a premium price, for a company that has yet to turn a profit, using borrowed money?
  6. My suspicion here is that he is either out to destroy someone, or out to protect himself. After all, he hates journalists. He's deeply annoyed by ElonJet. It also goes down in the DMs. So my questions are:
    • Whose DMs is he seeking access to? Perhaps he wants to target the journalists who exposed rampant racism inside of Tesla. Tesla stock is currently the source of most of Musk's net worth, so it might be worth it to him to protect it at any cost.
    • Whose phone numbers does he want to know? Lots of us have been given over our phone number for multi-factor authentication, or to establish our burner / alt accounts.
    • Are there deleted tweets that he wants to see and unearth? (Deleted tweets are most likely hidden in the database, rather than deleted altogether.)
    • Twitter is famous for dismantling bot networks. Is there an Elonbot network or just a deeply racist, right-wing bot network that he wants to protect?
    • Is someone sniffing around his own DMs or accounts he's following?
  7. We have no reason to think that Musk is noble, good, or has non-nefarious intentions here. Even if his intention is to protect some vague notion of free speech, the effect will be to create a more miserable experience for women, for ethnic and racial minorities, and for journalists.
  8. I'll probably still participate on Twitter, but perhaps a bit differently. Or maybe I'll be there until my friends also leave. That's the difficult part about moving social networks. You have to get your friends, your fam, and people you think are charming and interesting to move with you. And frankly, nothing provides the exact experience that Twitter provides.
  9. In any case, I'm going to explore other ways and places to form community and connection. I've returned to LinkedIn after about a decade away. I'm also on Polywork. I'm back to using NetNewsWire to consume RSS, although I hear Reeder is also great. I have a business newsletter. I've also considered turning this blog into a WordPress blog and using it to post in a tumblelog style. It would finally give me a reason to properly learn Gutenberg and full-site editing.