Elon Musk has been having a bit of fun as he tweets daily about Twitter, the social media company he acquired late last month and took private shortly after. What I have found amusing is the backlash he has been receiving from a number of people in my Facebook feed, most of whom do not even have a Twitter account. Twitter has positioned itself as a “public square’ where people can come and share opinions on everything from cat videos to presidential elections. That positioning has now morphed into users and non-users opining on the management style of Mr Musk as if their opinions, in the end, really mean anything.
In my book, “Take It from a Black Man. WASPs Need to Take Back Their Country. Essays on Capital, Democracy, and Political Narrative”, I question whether Twitter has raised American productivity or employment. I have not seen evidence of positive contribution by Twitter to the American economy. There are other mechanisms in place where someone browsing the internet can identify trends in the news and opine on the information they find. If half the energy invested in criticizing Twitter went into other, less intrusive methods, then social media would be less prominent and its users more accountable for making accurate statements.
For example, I can go onto Google.com, click inside its search box, and see what searches are trending in the news. I can read the sources of the trending information, and then write about them in my blog. The reader of my blog gets the added benefit of following the links that I provide in my post. Another benefit is that they will know who the blog author is. Bloggers, for the most part, take pride in authorship; hence, we identify ourselves in our bios.
At the heart of the fuss is the transparency most users of Twitter will be forced to provide. Blue check or not, Twitter users may have to use real names along with their made-up monikers. Hiding behind phony identifiers has provided many users with false leverage and a wall behind which they can hurl insults and threats of physical violence against individuals whose philosophies and narratives they do not agree with. If Mr Musk requires greater transparency from subscribers, the platform may become quieter, safer, and just may create better discourse.
Until we see further changes, the malcontents will keep solace in hurling barbs at another billionaire owner of a media company.
22 November 2022
My latest book, “Take It from a Black Man. WASPs Need to Take Back Their Country. Essays on Capital, Democracy, and Political Narrative”, can be found on Amazon. Visit my author’s page, amazon.com/author/altondrew.