Lasciando il matrimonio di Elmo

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

My moderation team counterpart bmaz is a bit put out at people who are flouncing Twitter dramatically. We don’t see eye to eye about the topic of departing Twitter now. I’m among those who are unwinding their accounts now that Elmo has been forced into marrying Twitter, Inc.

Elmo’s turbulent management style is one reason I’d like to leave. Who knows what any given day will yield – will a new policy pop up out of the blue insisting users must pay for services to which they’ve become accustomed for years?

Security is another matter of concern, and in saying security I mean I have my doubts about personal data security now that Elmo has capriciously announced he’s going to fire 75% of Twitter’s personnel…and now 50% this Friday…and maybe with or without compliance with state or federal WARN Act.

Does anyone really think Twitter personnel are at top form right now when they’re looking over their shoulder for their pink slip? Could you blame them if they aren’t?

But my biggest single reason for wanting to leave Twitter is this: I do not want to be Elmo’s product.

~ ~ ~

Artist Richard Serra said of his experience viewing the painting Las Meninas (c. 1656) by Diego Velázquez:

“I was still very young and trying to be a painter, and it knocked me sideways. I looked at it for a long time before it hit me that I was an extension of the painting. This was incredible to me. A real revelation. I had not seen anything like it before and it made me think about art and about what I was doing, in a radically different way. But first, it just threw me into a state of total confusion.”

When one first sets eyes upon the painting, it appears to be one of the young Infanta Margaret Theresa of Spain and her ladies in waiting, standing next to a portraitist at work. It takes a moment to realize that the portraitist isn’t painting the Infanta but whomever the Infanta is observing, and yet another moment to realize the subject of the portrait and the Infanta’s gaze can be seen in the mirror behind them.

The painting’s observer will then realize they are standing in for the Infanta’s parents who are being painted by the portraitist — and the painting is a self portrait of Velázquez at work. The painting’s observer is a proxy who has not fully consented to their role but nonetheless becomes the subject of the painter at work.

It is this same inversion which must be grasped to understand why I refuse to be Elmo’s product.

I know that I am not Twitter’s customer. I’m not the consumer.

If I remain I am the consumed in Elmo’s forced marriage scenario.

~ ~ ~

Serra and director Carlota Fay Schoolman produced a short film in 1973 entitled, “Television Delivers People.” It was considered video art, using a single channel with a text scroll to critique television.

This excerpt explains the relationship between the audience and television:

Commercial television delivers 20 million people a minute.
In commercial broadcasting the viewer pays for the privilege of having himself sold.
It is the consumer who is consumed.
You are the product of t.v.
You are delivered to the advertiser who is the customer.
He consumes you.
The viewer is not responsible for programming —
You are the end product.

What television did in the 1970s, social media does today. It consolidates access to disparate individuals over distances into audiences of varying sizes and offers them to advertisers.

Social media is mass media.

Social media, however, doesn’t serve audiences to advertisers alone. Given the right kind of incentives and development, audiences can be bought for other purposes.

There are almost no regulatory restrictions on audiences being identified, aggregated, bought, and resold, and very little comprehensive regulation regarding data privacy.

Elmo so far doesn’t appear to understand any of this between his uneducated blather about free speech and his ham handedness about Twitter’s business model.

I do not want to be sold carelessly and indifferently by Elmo.

~ ~ ~

If you are a social media user, even if validated or a celebrity with millions of followers, you are the product. You are being sold by the platform to advertisers.*

There may even be occasions when you’re not sold but used – recall the access Facebook granted to researcher Aleksandr Kogan in 2013 as part of experimentation, which then underpinned the work of Cambridge Analytica ahead of the 2016 election.

Facebook was punished by the Federal Trade Commission for violating users’ privacy, but there’s still little regulatory framework to assure social media users they will not be similarly abused as digital chattel.

What disincentives are there to rein in a billionaire with an incredibly short attention span and little self control now that he’s disbanded Twitter’s board of directors? What will prevent Elmo from doing what Facebook did to its users?

I’ve raised a couple kids with ADD. I don’t want to be on the other end of the equation, handled as digital fungible by an adult with what appears to be ADD weaponized with narcissism.

I deserve better.

I’m only going to get it if I act with this understanding, attributed again to Serra:

If something is free, you’re the product.

~ ~ ~

By now you should be used to hearing this, but I’m leaving this marriage, Elmo.

Treat this as an open thread.

__________

* We do not sell data about our community members.

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153 replies
    • matt fischer says:

      I was lucky enough to see Gil Scott-Heron perform twice. The first time was completely unexpected. I was in Manhattan at the end of a cross-country road trip during my college years. I just happened upon his show after aimlessly wandering into a small club in SOHO with a friend. The second time was at the Regency Ballroom in SF, one year before his death. I cherish both performances.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        I saw Gil Scott-Heron at Woodstock ’94. No, not that other one!

        It was pretty disheartening as he put on a great performance but the restless Sunday morning crowd was more hyped for… wait for it… Green Day. Sadly, Peter Gabriel actually came out on stage during a WOMAD act playing (I forget who it was) to admonish the crowd for being jerks. All in all a pretty terrible experience that at least I didn’t pay for.

    • Sandwichman says:

      Dallas Smythe first analyzed the audience commodity in “The Consumer’s Stake in Radio and Television” published in 1951 in The Quarterly of Film Radio and Television. One relevant observation:

      The troublesome fact is that under our uneasy institutional compromise by which the stations are publicly licensed and commercially operated, the effective, if not the legal, responsibility is divided. And the voice which speaks most often to the consumer is that of the advertiser. Is it any wonder that the consumer is confused and inarticulate in trying to express his judgment as to how these media should conduct themselves? Is it any wonder that our traditional view of our cultural values, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press, may be reshaped increasingly into the likeness of the cultural values of the advertisers?

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Thank you for that, Sandwichman. My father used to talk about how he managed to procure one of the first TV sets for his family in 1948, because of his access gained by working in an electronics store outside Chicago. The novelty was such that viewers adjusted to rapid changes in programming, first run by local stations and soon dominated by coastal giants.

        It’s amazing to me how little we examine the early history of this medium, and how it was used to create an enormous consumer class that neither radio nor Sears catalogs could hope to reach. Television was the essential predicate for social media and its lack of regulation today. TV taught us docility, and is still doing that job.

        • Sandwichman says:

          You are welcome, Ginevra!

          Rayne’s post got me to thinking about the audience commodity to social media pipeline and then something strange happened.

          I went to a potluck in the neighborhood where I overheard someone saying she started work with “Landmark.” The name caught my attention because there was a construction company named Landmark in Vancouver when I worked in the city planning department. But later another guest mentioned she had made a collage at a Landmark class and yet another said she had compose a song as an assignment in a Landmark program. So I was beginning to think these friends had all met at some organization named Landmark.

          It turns out that Landmark is the successor to Werner Erhard’s est, which was one of the pioneering “large group awareness training” organizations (frequently criticized as “cults”). “Werner Erhard” (nee Jack Rosenberg) is a fascinating character in his own right. Literally a “self-made man.” But I digress. My point is that I am beginning to think of these human potential pyramid schemes as audience commodities that dispense with the “programming” by themselves becoming the program. Reality T.V., of course, fits nicely into this scheme: “Be the program you want to see on T.V.” Social media, tik tok, digital influencers, multi-level marketing, q-anon. It all starts to make sense in a dystopian way. The power of positive thinking is the commodity that “sells itself” as everyone becomes a self salesman selling coaching courses on how to become a better self salesman.

          It is what it est.

  1. Adam Selene says:

    Hi Rayne,
    I was studying IT security for my AT degree in network management when Facebook and Twitter were beginning.

    I quit MySpace around then, and warned my friends and family about data mining, identity theft, etc., but of course the rest is history.

    What I didn’t foresee was how people would be sucked into anarchy and hate groups by malignant sources, domestic and foreign, each flooding the Internet with disinformation. My neighbors and friends are now brainwashed by QAnon and a hundred other conspiracy websites.

    I wish Elon would deport himself to Mars. He is not helpful.

    No wonder zombies are so popular nowadays.

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      No wonder zombies are so popular these days.
      _________________

      Hadn’t made that connection until I read your comment, and I think you’re right on the money w/ that…

      It’s not unlike the way superhero movies are currently so popular too, no?

      It seems that people feel so overwhelmed by the malevolent forces swirling thru the world these days, one damn near has to be a superhero to be strong enough to fight back.

    • Rayne says:

      I was mulling over how many different social media platforms I’ve used since 1995. Must be at least 20, I figure. Facebook is the one platform I absolutely had to leave because of its data privacy and security problems, and that was before Kogan began his human experimentation. If I had to deal with changing my settings every time I logged in to protect myself from privacy incursions I wasn’t warned about in advance of each change, I couldn’t stay with Facebook. The Kogan situation was exactly what I wanted to avoid.

      And Kogan was doing work on content and oxytocin production. Imagine how that works on audiences to create disinformation addicts if his work panned out — not just brainwashed but hooked on this toxic crap.

    • gmoke says:

      Our dead come back when we are facing destruction.

      Three examples:
      “The Self-Destruction of the Xosa” chapter in Elias Canetti’s _Crowds and Power_ (googlebooks has an edition online), an examination of an incident in 1857 in what is now South Africa when the dead promised an army to crush the White colonists if only the Xosa people would destroy their cattle and grain stores in preparation. 68,000 people died of starvation.

      The Ghost Dancers of the late 19th century Plains Indians also were called to dance to bring their dead and the buffalo back and help remove the colonizers.

      The “Iron Shirt” Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the 19th to 20th centuries in China who not only believed themselves invulnerable to Western weapons but that an army of millions would descend from the sky to remove the colonizers.

      We may be going through a similar period now, globally, as the Money Power colonizes us all.

      • Adam Selene says:

        Nice points. I like the Ghost Dancer story, but not its conclusion.

        The nihilism among the far right is what sparked me to mention ‘zombie’ I think. Thanks for your input.

  2. Badger Robert says:

    There are other platforms. People like me will explore the options. When Hollywood folks begin to switch, that’ll end the value of Twitter. It will be slow at first.

  3. Christenson says:

    All the bad things said here of Facebook and Twitter are true, but I’m curious how Rayne’s public life on Emptywheel and wherever she ends up, say, mastodon, is much different.
    I would like some help analysing, especially in light of phenomena like BellingCat doxxing Russian officers — what’s a reasonable threat model? How does the analysis change with whoever I might be or become, compared to Rayne or Bmaz or EW herself?
    I see three things:
    –>Some friction to analyze the irregular data, Rayne’s public life on emptywheel.net and wherever else you decide to post
    –>Some degree of multiple personality, separating off for example whatever you post about that shameful sports fetish or whatever.
    –> Some degree of multiple personality, because common tracking of where my eyeballs have been does not exist. (unless Verizon tracks me with a supercookie or my ISP or VPN is rogue).

    You also make me wonder if it’s time for an automatic, noise-creating alternate user personality, just as I tell every different website different nonsense answers to security questions like “what was the name of your first pet?”

    • Adam Selene says:

      You also make me wonder if it’s time for an automatic, noise-creating alternate user personality…
      ————————-
      A Quantum Man!

      But seriously, I would recommend a good VPN (Virtual Private Network) if one can afford a subscription. That gives a proxy IP address so trackers think you’re in Switzerland or something.

      I was horrified that one of the world’s greatest radio telescope facilities, ALMA, was hacked recently and they crippled the i/o servers used by the astronomers.

      Thankfully the instruments and data are safe due to a computer ‘firewall’, as reported on phys.org . (A free and fun source of science news, BTW).

      Cheers!

    • JAFO_NAL says:

      Alternatives to Twitter might also suffer the same fate as Voat, the alternative to Reddit that started when users chafed at what was viewed as overly restrictive moderation. It quickly became flooded with right wing trolls who seized it as their own platform.
      (Username increased to eight characters)

      • JAFO_NAL says:

        There have been successful software usurpers though; Navigator (later renamed Mozilla and Firefox) vs. Explorer comes to mind.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Musk’s failure to give the notice required under federal and/or state WARN act requirements will cost a pretty penny. I realize this is hardly unique to Elon, but it dramatically blames employees for management’s failures. And while this is not a shiny object for thousands of employees, it will mightily distract from the things Musk and his non-existent leadership team are not doing to run this company. Elon must be using the business model the Brits used for Brexit.

    I see that employees keeping their jobs will be notified at their work e-m accounts. Those being terminated will be notified via their personal e-m accounts. The purpose of the distinction escapes me, other than that Musk will presumably have already cut off access to work e-ms for departing staff. The notification cautioned employees from disclosing company confidential material or from speaking to the press. Musk will, no doubt, have reserved funds to pay for policing that policy. Not.

    If you cut employment by half overnight, all sorts of shit will stop in its tracks and never get done. That’s expensive when it affects only internal ops; it’s a lot more expensive when it disrupts external actors. Presumably, that’s an intentional outcome for Musk, but it’s also archly vindictive. Sadly, that’s one of Musk’s defining characteristics.

    I wonder how much Elon will rely on outsourced service providers to fill the gaps he’s intentionally creating. That rarely generates savings; more usually, it generates heavy short-term costs, which will exacerbate twtr’s and Musk’s problems.

    • Peterr says:

      I don’t think Elon will be outsourcing stuff. Instead, he’ll be automating more and more of the backstage stuff.

      In other words, bots will be running Twitter.

      /facepalm

    • Legonaut says:

      I’m wondering how many of the Tesla engineers he’s using to review the Twitter engineers’ code are going to be roped in to backfill. (In addition to all of the people who don’t “make the grade”, according to the automotive software engineers who are rating them, I expect there will be a number they’d prefer to keep who will tell Elmo to pound sand & walk anyway.)

      Because, y’know, software engineers are fungible cogs across domains of expertise. Get crackin’!

  5. obsessed says:

    I wish the people I follow on Twitter would focus on a single alternative to which we could all emigrate en masse. Ideally one that’s as close as possible to Twitter UI-wise and very easy to set up. I see that EW has started with Mastodon, and I tried to do the same but it was very confusing – more like reddit in that it seems to have multiple servers specializing in different interests. I greatly prefer Twitter’s method where everything is under the same roof. If you’re only interested in music you just follow only music people and so on. Anyway, if it becomes clear that there’s a best viable alternative it would be great to have a front page post here explaining the ins and outs. The other idea I had is for someone to write an app that lets you simultaneously post to both Twitter and an alternate site. That way someone with a ton of Twitter followers could keep posting to both until achieving critical mass, i.e., the same number of followers on the new site. Then divorce Elmo.

    • Rayne says:

      Some entity needs to build a microblogging platform with a centralized architecture. There isn’t one now and that’s the problem. There are a lot of folks moving to microblogging platforms with federated architecture (all the different servers with different rules, loosely joined) but a key factor in this push to a federated model is that the software is open source, not proprietary.

      The ideal entity is one which respects the beneficial effects of a centralized architecture, can operate as a nonprofit, has access to hosting at scale and is committed to effective moderation. It’s doable with the right folks — unfortunately Jimmy Wales is doing his own thing and it won’t be an answer — but perhaps with someone like Craig Newman (of craigslist) it could get off the ground.

      It’s not as if there isn’t an example of such a platform which has scaled up on a nonprofit model with cooperative moderation. It’s called Archive of Our Own and it hosts fanfiction; its volunteer moderators are predominantly women.

      • Christenson says:

        I don’t think that a single, central site a la twitter matters so much if your local computer creates that illusion for you…EW/Marcy did mention that there was already software that would let her send a tweet to both twitter and mastodon, and there’s no reason the software that reads mastodon could not look almost like twitter and pull data from both places.
        The fly in that ointment is that it’s more than a plain web browser on your computer/tablet/phone/device, and there will be a need for some to handle mass harassment and mass reporting campains.
        Doing that well, at scale, has not been demonstrated and may be impossible, I’ll just say that it’s going to require experimentation with the elements of moderation found here on EW: Volunteers, data from the crowd, friction (new accounts can’t be set up and used too easily), and reputation — some people’s opinions should matter more than others.

      • wetzel says:

        “The ideal entity is one which respects the beneficial effects of a centralized architecture, can operate as a nonprofit, has access to hosting at scale and is committed to effective moderation. It’s doable with the right folks . . . ”

        We could call it Brook Farm or New Harmony!

            • Baltimark says:

              Newmark.

              No biggie, but on an open thread it offers me a thin pretext to briefly recall a fun day circa 2010ish at the Google offices in DC. At a sort-of conference afterparty, I found myself happily albeit a bit fanboyishly chatting for half an hour or so with TCP/IP creator and then Google tech evangelist Vint Cerf about community data protocols; what a lovely man to talk to!

              Along comes Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Publishing and then Craig Newmark. Two things slowly dawn on me. The first is that I have probably become the odd man out at this convo, though the vibes were all good.

              But the second was that that trio collectively struck me with great force as being perfect base characters for some anthropomorphic film adventure: Vint as the Owl, Tim as the Fox, and Craig as the Hedgehog. The fact that this line of thought dovetailed so nicely with O’Reilly’s longstanding animal-centric book covers just added to the strength of the vision.

              I failed to mention that the event was in part a rollout of Google Wave, which I sensed that even the Owl knew was not likely long for this world.

  6. Arthur M. says:

    Agreed, and tickled, by both the nickname, “Elmo,” and the 1970’s informercial. After 17 years on Twitter, I deleted my account last week; I deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts last year. Opposition to billionaires is obedience to God.

  7. EwanWoodsEnd says:

    If Brexit is the apposite parallel, namely, leaders doing more and more extreme things, which are the natural consequence of a first bad decision if you stick to it, just to say “that is what I always had in mind” and not lose face, and what has happened after Brexit also happens to Twitter then :
    – There will be a small wave of early leavers, and the trend will persist as an outflow drip, which will be praised/dismissed by either side due to confirmation bias.
    – The competition which was not of the same scale will build up over time
    – It won’t be a dramatic fail of epic proportion as expected by some, as many specific features of twitter will remain attractive to many, mainly, ease of use.
    – Twitter won’t find the new market that was just waiting to be picked to be an incredible success story, because that elusive market has other constraints / centers of gravity.
    – The somewhat clunky alternatives will improve a little, thanks to the renewed energy/urgency brought by the newly departed but will fundamentally stay the same : the fantastic features that make them immune to the dramatic changes introduced in twitter will be there, and at the same time this lack of thrust in a single direction will be frustrating to the newcomers, accustomed to see improvements happening in a timely manner.

    But is Brexit the right thought model ? Are you Marcy influenced by the fact that you live in Ireland, where a large group (compared to the size of the country) of leavers-because-Brexit came?

      • EwanWoodsEnd says:

        Oh well then : ) I thought it was Marcy because of all Brexit references. Check the byline, I will :)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      FYI, the Brexit comparison was mine, @ 11.26pm, not Rayne’s (or Marcy’s).

      Your comment about living in Ireland is hard to read, but appears to be a general bias that says more about you than the Irish. They remained in the EU and have no need to invent new reasons to resent the Brits. Plus, even 57% of recently polled Brits now think Brexit was a mistake.

      The point of the comparison was not about “leaders doing more and more extreme things.” It was about the refusal to contemplate and prepare for what Brexit or acquiring Twitter would entail, and then blaming the obvious predictable problems on someone else.

      • EwanWoodsEnd says:

        Dear EarlofHuntingdon, I think I thought of Brexit independently of your comment, because Rayne’s (not Marcy’s) post made my think of it very much.
        My comment about Ireland is that there is a large influx of people who have left the UK because of Brexit now in Ireland. They share the same view on Brexit, and thus are inclined to confirmation bias. I don’t think the Irish themselves need any confirmation about the UK. Of course anything I write says more about me than it says about others.
        All that is irrelevant since Rayne isn’t in Ireland, and I projected Brexit more than it was (Cambridge Analytica was mentioned w.r.t. the US election and not Brexit).

    • Rayne says:

      Point to where I mentioned Brexit in this post.

      Brexit is a wholly different catastrophe, the proof-of-concept ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

      • [email protected] says:

        Yes, and a product of Putin’s first successful election meddling, that last I checked, the UK Gov’t was still suppressing its final investigative report into…in the interest of NON transparancy, of course.

        The morning of Brexit news in my HH, I told everyone to brace for a Trump presidency. It finally became conceivable to me that hatred and distrust of immigrants, and a host of other garbage Trump was promoting, would also win over the US. electorate too.

      • EwanWoodsEnd says:

        Dear Rayne, I misread the post clearly, and read it thinking it was written by Marcy. Thanks to this and harpie I have finally understood what meant the mysterious (until now) injunction “check the byline” that appeared in many posts. The reference to Cambridge Analytica was what made me think of Brexit (not EarlofHuntingdon’s comment), together with your decision of not being part of it now that it is Elon Musk, which is how many EU people felt after 2016, and when a certain number decided to leave. But I missed the mark.

  8. ApacheTrout says:

    Twitter appears to be imploding. Advertisers are dropping and Twitter staff is getting decimated. The decision to stay or migrate may be moot.

  9. smf88011 says:

    The only “social media” presence I still have is Reddit and LinkedIn. I never got an Instagram or Twitter account, gave up on Facebook in September 2021, stopped using MySpace in 2009, and have no desire to join any other group. I like Reddit due to its anonymous nature and I use a virtual machine with VPN just for its use. I kept a LinkedIn but haven’t updated it nor plan to do so – it hasn’t been updated since 2015, I think. It might have been 2016.

    Social media has become the bane of the world’s existence. It is something that was kind of neat when you first started but became quite toxic quickly. It is quite sad really because it was a good idea at first.

  10. ergo says:

    The quote is wrong, bigtime and used wrongly. Whether something is free or not, you’re *still* the product.

    So keep this in mind with counter social making claims they can’t even fulfill (we’ll never sell your data being #1) and Mastodon blatantly being hands off to moderating meaning it’s basically 4chan.

    I don’t see a social media solution in the works anywhere. As a tech, there just isn’t. It’s hyper complicated to manage, there’s compelling government and international interest, privacy is not existent. Do you trust counter social anymore than Truth social? because it reads exactly the same by policy, all the same sort of claims of goodness. Government interest the last 6 years has been open hostility for any social network, and it’s been justified. We need a moderated Facebook, no additional functionality outside of posts and comments, no apps no marketplace and especially no groups and no likes. Suddenly not so interesting, is it. And we don’t/won’t have it, and moderating at scale is blatantly impossible. So where’s the solution? Even wikipedia has difficulty as people whitewash past crimes and racism into or out of topic articles and that’s not even a social network, just a website.

    Elon taking Twitter private is the death knell of *all* social media applications.

    I don’t think as a society we’re still able to handle a social network in it’s current concept. The concept needs to be revised.

    • bmaz says:

      “Elon taking Twitter private is the death knell of *all* social media applications.”

      Lol, sure. Ah, the smell of hyperbole in the morning.

      • ergo says:

        Okay fair enough, it is hyperbolic. But I think it should be treated as a warning shot across any public social media company being acquired, as this is not without repercussions.

    • Rayne says:

      You’re entitled to your opinion but when you actually pay a publicly-held corporation for a service, it shows up on the books as income. Then the argument becomes a matter of product mix and profitability; can subscribers pay enough to support a social media platform compared to an advertising sales-based platform.

      I don’t see a social media solution in the works anywhere.” Um, just because startup developers haven’t knocked on your fucking door and said, HEY, LOOK AT OUR SOCIAL MEDIA SOLUTION IN THE WORKS doesn’t mean there isn’t one out there. We’ll just ignore Jimmy Wales’ Wiki Tribune which is still in late beta.

      I can’t even with the rest of your comment. Jeebus. You wrote 236 words of poorly reasoned elegy in the comments of a blog more than a decade old — a blog which is a social media platform — but we’re supposed to believe social media is dead.

      By the way, catch the cluestick and change your fucking username as I’ve already requested.

      • ergo says:

        What’s wrong with this username, I don’t even understand? If I use ergo vs ergonap for example? That there’s no login for people who don’t manage emptywheel (tested that) or sort of state for the website is the reason you guys have this problem. This is the only website that seems to be….okay with an email address, but not okay with…a username. I can understand this from the not tracking people perspective, but you I don’t know how you guys ended up on that track, but it’s some kind of old man-esque thing. Plus nobody gets notification for thread responses (yay), so I have to literally go back to the page to even check what else people say. It’s not a good layout.

        I said *social media applications*, emptywheel is not a mobile app or social media, in how I was trying to identify it with some sort of clarity. It’s a website. Having articles and discussion doesn’t change that it’s a website. However, “when you actually pay a publicly-held corporation for a service, it shows up on the books as income” is an argument without any reality behind it. Do you think twitter doesn’t? Do you think it’s better when a publicly held corporation books you as income?

        The problem of general social media is over a decade old, developers aren’t coming out of the woodworks and it doesn’t mean that the reason is the lack of a solution. It’s unrelated. And wiki tribune is basically dead as it’s been, which doesn’t appear to be changed.

        [NOTE: Go back to your comment yesterday 03-NOV-2022 1:48 PM ET and note the request I made. We are doing a soft rollout to a new username standard for security reasons. You have made only 37 comments at this site to date — perhaps you don’t understand yet that to participate in comments means checking for replies to comments you made which requires one to check their own comments. If a simple request to use a unique username consisting of a minimum 8 letters is too difficult for you, this is not the social media site for you. / / ~Rayne]

          • ergo says:

            I’m not whining, I literally do not know what the issue is? I barely even follow this website’s comments section most of the time, so I don’t even know what I’m missing here. Nice random comment I suppose? Literally: you have my full attention, I am refreshing this page to look for comments and I literally have no idea.

            • bmaz says:

              Maybe if you paid attention better you would understand. All user names are required to be at least 8 characters. And, yes, you ARE whining, not to mention obtuse, and I am tired of it.

              • ergonap1 says:

                so what, something like this is enough? I didn’t know. I think I’ve posted a grand total of 10 or 20 times in here, but wow.

                  • ergonap1 says:

                    I literally created an 8 character username here to try to fulfill your request. All I asked is: is this sufficient or not?

                    • bmaz says:

                      I’m sorry, let me explain: I think you are a full of shit mouthy troll. Hope that clears things up for you!

                • Rayne says:

                  As of 1:21 PM ET today, you’ve published 44 comments under more than two usernames here at emptywheel.

                  • ergonap1 says:

                    Well sure, I am posting plenty of things while watching bmaz apparently decide I’m a troll. I will say it seems mods get angry very quickly around here – whether that’s small community vibes or something else, whatever. I can’t exactly update old posts to my username to consolidate that, considering the 5 minute edit limit. To bmaz who I guess thinks I’m a troll and Rayne if equivalent, sorry for offending you.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              If you read your own comment, you might understand part of the problem, including bmaz’s use of obtuse. Try reading more before commenting.

        • Rayne says:

          I said *social media applications*

          Dude. Emptywheel runs on WordPress, a social media and content management application launched in 2003, on which more than 30 million sites are built including TIME magazine and TED blog. You know dick about this topic.

          You also know dick-all about product as part of a business’s marketing mix or accounting.

          • ergonap1 says:

            well I hope this is a long enough 8 character username I suppose then. As apparently that’s some problem, people can’t have under 8 characters?

            I know a lot more than you think I do, but you have open hostility so I’m simply surprised that your blanket response is to basically attack assertions at any level of the concept. Do you know a lot of people installing wordpress apps to have discussions on wordpress? How many people even do the 3rd party wordpress logins? do you know people who have discussions on TIME, where they don’t have a discussion forum?

            Sites running a webserver to host a wordpress are not an application from the sense of “would an end user install this as an app?”

            You are openly hostile and you seem incapable of any concept of discussion or nuance.

            [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

            • Rayne says:

              You know where the exit is if you don’t like it here. Nobody’s stopping you. We’re not even going to sell you as audience or your data before you go.

                • Rayne says:

                  No, you seem to have a fundamental lack of understanding about social media, of which emptywheel is an example.

                  I think we’re done with this line of discussion.

          • ergonap1 says:

            Running wordpress on a server is not something an end user is involved with consciously installing anything to interact with nor an option to, and TIME doesn’t exactly have a comments or discussion section ever since the majority of media providers decided to bow out circa what, a decade ago?

            That’s not the same as rich media applications like Twitter or Facebook or even Mastodon.

            • Rayne says:

              And yet here you are blathering in a social media outlet having invested even less effort with fewer restrictions than Twitter has required of its users. No users at Twitter have to worry about application hosting, bandwidth, developers, maintenance any more than you are right now about this site.

              Make up your mind: are you going to argue about “rich media applications” or “social media”? Because you’re soaking in the latter and I’m not going to do the whataboutism.

              • ergonap1 says:

                Fair enough, I suppose my focus is rich media applications, as it were and raising concerns about the social conditions instigated by them. But that in itself is admittedly a broad brush too. I don’t know why you would make a distinction about how people are commenting on emptywheel that twitter is bad. I mean…why would that somehow be something to make note of, to you?

        • ergonap1 says:

          @rayne: never said it was too difficult, I just don’t come here often and it’s a static page so replies are not as easy to follow, plus it doesn’t work right on mobile. I literally hadn’t read the comment and people were angry. I hope this is good enough for whatever the expectations are.

  11. joel fisher says:

    Pure craziness: If Trump goes back to Twitter, that will be the end of an already problematic
    Truth Social. Won’t that mean that TS has to compete in a marketplace in which they’ve already shown
    themselves to be unsuccessful, only w/o Trump. Bankruptcy…picked up for a song from the trustee at auction…voilà. New Twitter. Remember, I said it was crazy.

  12. Jenny says:

    Chief Twit Elon Musk. An immature, insecure and mean adult who just bought Twitter.

    In case this ends up being my last post before the “woke mob” cancels me, I love every single one of you except for the hypercapitalists, the neocons, the New Fascists, and Peter Thiel. Peter Thiel can choke on a bag of stolen blood. He’s a total dickhole.
    1:29 AM · Nov 4, 2022·Echofon

    “Insecure people put others down to raise themselves up.”— Habeeb Akande

    • Clare Kelly says:

      “Woke” is such a word; one used to describe an awareness of the world that has now been embraced by the political right as an often sardonic descriptor.

      This is “woke” only if you assume that the exercising of government power to aid the less fortunate is centrally an effort to help non-White Americans — a group that is disproportionately poor.

      This conflation of “woke politics” with “liberal politics” showed up in another, more disconcerting place on Friday. The Atlantic’s Emma Green interviewed Ryan Williams, the head of the far-right Claremont Institute, a conversation during which Williams outlined his organization’s complaints about modern society (too many non-Christians, among other things) and the possible remedies it foresaw, like civil war — something Williams said “we try to avoid almost at all costs.”
      That “almost” certainly lingers.

      (As in: “I’m just not yet entirely convinced that Bigfoot didn’t kill John F. Kennedy.”)

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/10/01/emergence-woke-pejorative-masks-deeper-insecurity/

      RE: Your use of the phrase “woke mob”.

      [Please forgive me for not yet mastering emptywheel.net’s citation protocol. It is on my ‘to do’ list]

  13. Happyness says:

    I’m a long retired computer guy. Excuse my cynicism. Hasn’t all this been obvious for literally years? Any platform / product..

    How does Musk taking over change anything? If he had principles he wouldn’t touch it. If he had principles and bought it to ‘improve’ it and make money, well, good luck. If he bought it on a stoned whim, well there you go …that’s multi-billionaires for you.

    Social media (and many of its inhabitants) have yet to convince me to care about it.

    Remember the old google mottos? “Do no harm”, “Don’t be evil”, “Do the right thing”. Really?

    I’ve got a better motto for this age of internet monetisers “You can fool some of the people some of the time — and that’s enough to make a decent living.” (WC Fields)

    • Rayne says:

      Social media (and many of its inhabitants) have yet to convince me to care about it.

      And yet you came here to a blog — a social media outlet — to tell us you don’t care.

      • Happyness says:

        Sure I did.

        I recognise the irony.

        I did qualify my comment by using the word ‘many’. Perhaps you should assume that this site is not on my list of “don’t go there”s.

        • Rayne says:

          But you did use a very broad brush encompassing social media before adding the clause about many of its denizens.

          You might spend more time considering just how deeply social media reaches into your life whether you currently care or not. Social media = media.

      • Bugboy321 says:

        Rayne, I’ll respectfully have to disagree.

        I come here precisely because EW is *NOT* a “a social media outlet”. It is a plethora of analysis for the sake of analysis alone. It’s a blog with no incentives, except to those seeking information. No “likes”, no “re-EmptyWheel’ing” no “sharing”, no strategically placed advertising and in fact it has a “bmaz”, who is a benevolent troll that keeps everyone in line (hardly an incentive to remain engaged), without even so much as a bridge to hide under in between thrashings. It IS a “blog” but I would not say it’s “a social media outlet”…

        • Rayne says:

          And yet you’re leaving a comment — a social activity inside a media platform.

          If you come here because of the posts, great. But as soon as you read the comments, as soon as you leave a comment, you’re engaging with social media. 28 times since January this year, I’ll note, in spite of our resident cholla cactus.

          • Bugboy321 says:

            I’ve been lurking for years, following Dr. Wheeler before there even was an emptywheel blog. FYI, the comments here are just as informative as the posts. Even bmaz’s!

            My point is that incentives to engage consist solely of seeking information, not sharing, echoing, perpetuating topics, ICYMI, nor consuming commodities.

            That is simply not the essence of social media, no matter how you split hairs that simply posting comments defines what a social media outlet consists of.

            • Rayne says:

              LOL Okay, apparently my age has caught up with me because I remember when weblogs were just chronological logs without any social element whatsoever.

              Good luck with mansplaining social media, though.

              • bmaz says:

                “Even bmaz’s”. Thanks I guess. But if a comment section of a web blog is “not” social media, I am not sure what you think is. We were most all here, even in different roles, and albeit it prior to the founding of EW, around at The Next Hurrah. That was before Twitter. Yes, this comment section is indeed “social media”.

            • bmaz says:

              “Even bmaz’s”. Thanks I guess. But if a comment section of a web blog is “not” social media, I am not sure what you think is. We were most all here, even in different roles, and albeit it prior to the founding of EW, around at The Next Hurrah. That was before Twitter. Yes, this comment section is indeed “social media”.

              • Clare Kelly says:

                And with this I am overcoming my fear, nay, appreciate the zealous sentry known as bmaz, to all ‘seeking passage’
                at emptywheel.net (under the protection of Rayne’s ‘see the byline’).

                “Ni!!!”

        • Troutwaxer says:

          I think what you’re saying is that Emptywheel is well run social media. Not perfect, but far better run than Facebook or Twitter.

  14. Badger Robert says:

    The end of Twitter will be a good thing. The alternative Soc Med platforms will serve as step down alternatives that will ease the transition.
    If one has had to take narcotics like Oxycotin to manage pain, experience can teach one that marijuana eases the transition away from the narcotics. The dope doesn’t do everything the narcotics can do, but the side affects are less and the potential for addiction is less.
    Twitter was a good thing to use during the Covid pandemic. That was its great growth era. But the current purchaser of Twitter seems to have acquired it at its peak value. It will never be worth that much again.

  15. jaango1 says:

    Three years ago, the Chicano Veterans Organization announced its formal boycott of Twitter. And if you’re not familiar with the CVO, I am not surprised.

    • Rayne says:

      This is a challenge of boycotting media — the very vehicle which would carry a message has been abandoned.

      Perhaps CVO needs to rethink its messaging with emphasis on outreach.

  16. rosalind says:

    wish i had the luxury at the moment to be concerned with how elmo may use my private data, but i’m busy dealing with the real world implications of the letter i just received from a medical care provider informing me their (unnamed!) management company had a server breach and all my highly personal and confidential medical records have been taken.

    i checked the US Dept of Health & Human Svcs Breach Portal, and ten more medical care providers reported the same breach on the same day. educated guess is this unnamed company “managed” all these companies’ data and put it all on one unsecure server.

    beyond what social media companies may do with our personal info, we have to come up with stronger punishment for companies that do not protect our health information.

      • rosalind says:

        nope, not that one. don’t want to be super specific, but the timing for my breach is: server breach was reported to Dept HHS two months after breach, i and tens of thousands of others were notified of the breach 6 weeks after this.

        • nedu says:

          Thanks.

          Fwiw, that latency might be compared with the latency when ( –do you still call them “cashiers” when they’re keeping watch on a group of self-checkout kiosks?– ) the “person”, the all-seeing eyeball, tells you to contact your credit card issuer now… so to learn that AI has detected a suspicious pattern.

    • Rayne says:

      Ugh. So sorry to hear this. Betting this is not the end of the breach, either.

      What worries me about Twitter is that its database can be used to map individuals to other data like that in health care provider breaches. The use of a real phone number is the pivot. Heck, somebody out there has the Equifax data. Imagine linking political discussions including DMs to health care and credit records because Twitter insisted on a real phone number.

    • Rayne says:

      Good. That billion-dollar asshat should already have been more than familiar with WARN given his role as executive for other large businesses like Tesla and SpaceX. It’s utterly unacceptable that he failed to comply with state and federal employment law.

      What a pity Twitter is now privately held because this is more brand damage which Elmo and his fellow investors will have to eat.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’ve seen complaints that “Elmo” is really not the right name for him, because he’s nowhere near as nice as the one on Sesame Street. A guy on Twitter suggested using “Womp” instead.

        • Rayne says:

          The use of Elmo in reference to Musk is ironic. Folks complaining about their beloved nonspecific furry puppet creature’s name being assigned to Musk don’t appreciate the irony.

          Personally, I’ve preferred to call him “Space Karen” because he is a whiny, privileged, excessively entitled colonialist bitch.

          ADDER: Just realized I need to apologize to any/all of the Karens in our community along with any members identifying as “Space.” By now, though, the awake Karens among us know exactly what’s meant, as do Chads and Beckys.

    • ergonap1 says:

      He literally brought this on himself. I’m not saying I can hypothesize on the legality of the “Terminating for cause” stuff because I’d just be another suggestion for bad legal takes, but I hope Elmo (IE: muskrat as I prefer) gets some common sense, therapy, or a good smack from someone who can smack some sense into him someday.

      • Christenson says:

        Elon’s got one of Dear Abby’s major red flags for an abuser: He can turn on the charm, or he can be mean, just depending….Jim Cantrell, early ex SpaceX, interviewed on Business Insider calls it “Good Elon/Bad Elon”.

        We see it this week with his alternation between reasonable and destructive public moves. I bet he’s underestimated the consequences and the difficulty of reversing .

        • Rayne says:

          That was a particularly good essay by Cantrell, and the biggest flag of all: Cantrell’s tenure lasted 9 months. He could not deal with the whipsawing back and forth between Elon’s moods any longer, even though he appeared to think highly of the opportunities Musk’s approach to commercial rocket service offered.

          Which might sync with the timing Noah Shachtman suggests:

          noahshachtman
          Noah Shachtman
          @[email protected]
          Calling it now. #Twitter is going to declare bankruptcy by this time next year.

          Nov 04, 2022, 18:47

          (Wow, my first embedded toot attempt *fail* — that’s the one thing I really hate about Mastodon, the naming convention is lame.)

  17. L. Eslinger says:

    That Musk reportedly brought in Tesla engineers to evaluate Twitter code may have served to reassure a class of investors who have difficulty changing light bulbs and inserting USB flash drives (if they actually do such things themselves), but the idea that the engineers could do anything useful, particularly in the time frame given, is absolutely asinine. Likewise with the mass firing of staff, which appears to be a mix of things: a quick and brutal short term cost savings, a punitive action, an attempt to demonstrate power and control, an injection of chaos to disrupt Musk’s version of “the deep state,” and more. The firings are many things, but obviously not well considered.

    As has been seen, though, Musk is desperately throwing out ideas, some of which are probably whispered into his ear by people who believe force of will and repeating nonsense will overcome physics and reality. He won’t be able to wave his hands and have his minions fix this mess (and then take credit for their work). Capable people have worked on Twitter’s many problems for as long as the company has existed, but it’s an impossible game of Jenga. And, like other such companies, Twitter is getting long in tooth and is no longer likely to experience the new growth needed to fend off its problems.

  18. Clare Kelly says:

    Thank you for this piece, Rayne.

    “My moderation team counterpart bmaz” ~Rayne

    When I reference one of Marcy’s pieces elsewhere, I frequently include the advisory “FYI: Do not attempt to comment without natsec/civil liberties/jurisprudence expertise. You will be eaten alive, metaphorically.”

    One such reference in the WaPo garnered this reply:

    “Come on now, bmaz isn’t all that bad”.

    As for “But my biggest single reason for wanting to leave Twitter is this: I do not want to be Elmo’s product.” ~Rayne. This is also my fundamental reason for leaving.

    RE: Marcy’s reference to https://joinmastodon.org/

    Having been one of @emptywheel’s followers on TWTR, I immediately went to Mastodon to ‘follow’ her there, thinking it would be a 5 minute task at best.

    I did not complete my task,
    await further instruction, and am glad to see some in the comments here.

    https://twitter.com/1Br0wn/status/1588435560548663297

    And perhaps a random comment: I opted out of Akismet’s long term retention…which really did only take me 5 minutes to do.

    • Rayne says:

      I’ve been seeing a lot of feedback that the instance on which Marcy and I are both located is very slow. It may be swamped due to the number of refugees leaving Twitter.

      If you’d like to search for a different compatible instance, go to https://instances.social/ and follow the decision tree — it will offer quite a few options. You’ll still be able to follow others on a different instance.

  19. Fraud Guy says:

    Strangely, this reminds me of the period when Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, et al., were shutting down Q accounts, and Parler was being deplatformed, and my in house Q was trying to keep up with the platforms that would allow them to communicate with other Qs so they could keep up with the latest misinformation to consume.

    Just much more orderly and reasoned.

  20. John Lehman says:

    Could someone or some group be “shorting” twitter to the tune of $44 billion +? … that’s one hell of a lot of “puts”.

  21. Plantwomyn says:

    The events of the last month are an example of unusual bad luck for me.

    I was a daily contributor to a forum for years but found myself frustrated and bored with the MAGA stupidity displayed there and trolling allowed on a daily basis. For quite some time I have been lurking here and enjoyed the cogent and thought-provoking information and analysis by EW and others here. The J6 analysis from EW lead me to EW’s twitter feed and for the first time I joined twitter to follow EW and the many other legal minds I respect there.

    So, just as I am taking baby steps learning to maneuver the ins and outs of twitter, it’s turns into a galactic cluster. I feel for those who have so much invested in twitter. I guess I’ll hang in as long as my go to ‘legal team’ keeps me informed and entertained.

    I’ll follow the comments here and I hope a consensus can be reached whether to leave twitter and where to go. I think I will follow EW wherever she goes…

    • bmaz says:

      Welcome, and please join in more often. Twitter can be difficult, but, at least for now, the tools to deal with it sanely are still there. Follow who you want to follow, and if randos screw with you, block them. That equilibrium may change, and maybe quickly. But for the meantime, it is still working.

      • Plantwomyn says:

        Truth be told bmaz, your derisive ‘repartee’ is the only reason I have hesitated to ‘join in’.

        • L. Eslinger says:

          Thanks for giving me a smile as I enjoy my first cup of coffee this morning (as good as the commercials say!).

          Like you (perhaps), I am put off by the increasing percentage of personal attacks, misinformation, bullying, hounding, mean spiritedness, and other public forum behaviors that displace considered thought and suck the oxygen out of discourse. And, if you’re the type of person who lives primarily in your own head, where self-doubts and unhappy thoughts can destructively ricochet about for extended periods, it’s easy to be put off by just the prospect of being attacked – or feeling attacked. But you have a voice, and as long as you make considered, constructive contributions and are willing to learn, your voice is at least as legitimate as any other member of the crowd. If you post a comment that generates responses that you don’t like, reconsider what you wrote. If you were wrong then own it, but if your thinking was honest and sound, then fuck ’em. And then move on.

          • bmaz says:

            You have no clue in the world what we deal with on not just an hourly basis, but sometimes minute by minute. This comment section still exists because we aggressively monitor and moderate it. There are very few of the old school blogs, as we are, that still have open and constructive comment sections. And the ones that do are often clusterfucks. This one is not going down that road. We do not need your help in that regard, and we do not need your tone policing. I’d rather you and Plantwomyn stay, but if you don’t like it here, find another blog or start your own. We will take care of this one.

            • Plantwomyn says:

              I think that my initial comment illustrates that I like it here just fine. My reply addressed your comment and had nothing to do with EW’s blog.

              • bmaz says:

                Oh, I see, the blog is fine, you just want to shit on the people who run it then. Excellent plan. By the way, my initial comment was welcoming you and asking you to join in, and “that” offended you? Seriously? And, by the way, this is our blog too. I have been here since before Day One. And Rayne, Jim White and Ed Walker nearly as long. You harp on one of us, you harp on all of us. Find something constructive to discuss.

            • L. Eslinger says:

              What Plantwomyn did to make me smile is persist and not curl up into a ball up as a result of her experiences in forums other than emptywheel. Good for Plantwomyn.

              What I wrote in response related to her experiences prior to adding a comment to this blog, and was intended to give support: don’t back down, and don’t back away. The internet loses if thoughtful people withdraw into safe corners rather than adding to the general discourse.

              And this caused you to lose your shit.

              • bmaz says:

                I did not “lose my shit” I responded to exactly what was said. But it gets really tiring being attacked by people that have just recently wandered in out of nowhere and want to attack me or any of the other principals here. Find something constructive to contribute. Because this whiny tone policing and bunk is not going to cut it.

                • Plantwomyn says:

                  bmaz: I responded to exactly what was said.

                  As did I.

                  Your adverse experience moderating others really shouldn’t have any bearing on how you interact with those of us “that have just recently wandered in out of nowhere”. “We” aren’t responsible for that baggage.

                  • bmaz says:

                    I am responsible for all the “baggage” here, and you are quickly becoming part of the problem baggage. Stop. We have an awful lot to deal with without you keeping this up. Give it a rest.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Because you are a pain in the ass more concerned about trolling and tone policing the people who run this blog instead of providing substantive commentary that is worthwhile to the blog’s purpose. You were warned to stop, and just blew through that advisory like you own and run this place instead of the people who actually do. We do not need your help or thoughts on how we do things.

              • Plantwomyn says:

                The irony is my hesitation is based on just the opposite.

                As an example, note that in my first post I used the term ‘galactic cluster’. I originally typed ‘clusterfuck’ but not being sure where the lines are drawn here, I self-edited.
                I can assure you, on the forum that I frequented, I was hardly a wallflower and held my own without much effort, especially when it came to debating the MAGA faithful.
                You see, they are averse to facts, and I enjoy researching and providing facts. Lurking here has provided me with many facts that closed them down on more than one occasion.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As bmaz has long been pointing out, there is no law or policy prohibiting or inhibiting the DoJ from investigating or indicting Trump now. He is not on the ballot in 2022.

    Despite making noises about it since January 20, 2021, he is not now a declared candidate for any office. Even if he were, there is no such thing as the “presumptive” GOP presidential nominee or leading candidate, except in the minds of Trump and his defense attorneys.

    Trump, as could be any citizen, is simply the likely target of a federal investigation. The DoJ should assess its evidence. If it intends to indict, it should do so in the ordinary course, bearing in mind that the longer it waits, evidence and memories grow stale and make any case harder to prove.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As for Musk’s mass firings, he’s changed the percentage so often, there is no basis to believe that he settled on 50%. Could be more, could be less. We’ll have to tally and extrapolate from employee self-announcements to check Elon’s work.

    As for Musk’s WARN act problems, I’m pretty sure announcements on Twitter don’t meet the statutory requirements for notice. Elon seems to be pulling a Trump, saying, in effect, “Whatever I say is sufficient, because I say it.” I have to say, though, that Yul Brynner as Ramses was more convincing when he said, “So let it be written, so let it be done.”

    • P J Evans says:

      3700 – that’s close to half. (Most of whom probably were keeping it from being overrun by trolls.)

  24. earlofhuntingdon says:

    @nycsouthpaw’s quick take on the limited information available about the severance package and purported notice scheme Musk is trying to use at Twitter to fire what he says is half the workforce.

    The WARN Act has been around since 1988. Its requirements are straightforward and not that hard to comply with, unless you gag at the idea that employees have rights. Sixty days advanced written notice with pay, with notice given to specified categories of people.

    Musk’s offer is a needless but intentional thumb in the eye to all his current and former employees. Its as if salving his ego by ruining everyone else’s day is more important than the simplest task associated with running a business.

    https://www.nycsouthpaw.com/p/details-of-twitters-layoffs

  25. punaise says:

    At first blush, my now rusty but once serviceable Italian makes me wonder if lasciare is the right verb here. It’s transitive , and I could envision using the verb uscire which means to exit from. But that may not be the case. I think I’m conflating the distinction of the French “quitter” versus “laisser”.

    • Rayne says:

      I haven’t trusted it since their first investment pre-dating Elmo’s acquisition, and trusted it even less once it became public there had been Saudi assets working in infosec at Twitter.

      Funny how Elmo fired the entire communications team but kept the Global Head of Safety & Integrity.

  26. Purple Martin says:

    With the initial societal waterfall of Elmo takes slowing to a brook, just received a very good one from James Fallows ‘Breaking the News’ Substack. Title:subtitle of the piece is “Twitter Is Our Future: What’s happening to the entire media, in speeded-up time-lapse form.” Covers a lot of the concerns people have brought up in this thread.

    Good read for thoughtful not-a-hot-take observations and options summary, and worth a review if only for the opening art: “Rare historical footage of Elon Musk’s takeover of the Great Library of Alexandria.”

    URL with tracking removed:
    https://fallows.substack.com/p/twitter-is-our-future

  27. ajcharnc says:

    I looked into the magic 8-ball and asked it to tell me “What will happen to Twit(ter) now that Elmo took over. It said “ask again later”.

    The Twit has a new, lets say mercurial, owner. I doubt Elmo even has a 6 month plan. I shrug, and will ask the magic 8-ball again early next year.

    But I’ve already concluded Elmo would have been better off paying the 1 billion breakup fee. He’ll be swallowed up by all the fecal matter that is coming while he figures out what to do with it.

    • Rayne says:

      My gut tells me Elmo will do some really stupid reflexive things to generate income, because he doesn’t understand the business model of commercialized mass media, and he’s really easy to manipulate. He went after Twitter bemoaning the lack of free speech when Twitter’s customers can’t thrive in an environment with free speech — not because they’re anti-free speech, but no one wants to buy a product associated with Nazis unleashed to say and do whatever they wish while they call it free speech.

      Musk to this point has only one brand he’s had to build and protect: his own. SpaceX = Musk, Tesla = Musk. Before that he worked with the PayPal Mafia to build only one brand together, and in some respects he still acts as if his techbro cohort will continue to do the same thing. Dorsey’s bullshit apology for growing Twitter too fast was one of those techbro-got-your-back nonsense, when Dorsey had a similar problem with not understanding the platform he was building (like Zuckerberg with Facebook all along).

      It’s all of a piece. These billionaire techbros really aren’t that smart, having narrow genius combined with a tendency to believe their own hype and that of sycophants who want a slice of the pie.

      I am betting Musk moves to a subscription model across the entire site, cutting off access to parts of existing users’ accounts if they don’t pay some amount monthly/yearly for access — in short, extorting income. That would be suicide.

      • ajcharnc says:

        Elmo always does stupid, reflexive stuff, just look at his Twits and actions.

        I don’t do much with Twit except look at a few things there so I’m a (partially) disinterested observer.

        His employees are challenging him, his advertisers are challenging him, and the user base is challenging him. Its only a matter of time his investors will, too. All of which will piss him off.

        And Elmo has a temper. What happens in the next couple of months will be ugly.

        I have popcorn and various types of alcohol to see me through.

        But its time to buy supplies for my new sister-in-law’s early Thanksgiving gathering next week. I promised ranch potatoes(one batch with carrots, onions and celery), hubby promised a rhubarb and strawberry crumb. Plus brownies.

        All I know is the Twit saga will be silly, irritating, and sort of stupid. The new Twitler doesn’t understand the concept, he just wants to say whatever he wants at the moment.

    • ajcharnc says:

      It happened at the company I worked for 20 years ago. They fired a few thousand people (from various locations) and ended up hiring a bunch of the back as contractors at much higher rates than they were paid, though they didn’t have to pay their medical.

Comments are closed.