What’s Going On with Twitter: Elon vs the Wannabes
What’s going on with Twitter? Elon Musk is now the majority shareholder of the pared-down Twitter. Gone are the famous Silicon Valley perks–the free meals, daycare and a high-end espresso machine. They’ve auctioned off conference room tables and chairs as well as a statue of the company logo—a big blue bird—that sold for $100K. While the company once employed 7,500 employees, there are now an estimated 2,000 and falling. Musk laid off critical teams in charge of infrastructure and user experience. Many of these layoffs were made via email.
Musk famously thrives on a self-imposed crisis mentality
He expects his employees to adopt this mentality as well. He threatens bankruptcy if everyone doesn’t hunker down and work under extreme conditions to save the company from the brink. Stories about employees having to bring in their own toilet paper may or may not be true.
A free-speech advocate, Musk has reinstated 60,000 accounts of those once banned for inciting hate and other kinds of questionable online behavior, including that of former President Donald Trump, who used Twitter to propel his way to the White House. The irony is that while Musk champions free speech for others, it is not tolerated within the Twitter workplace. The engineer who reported that fewer people are reading Musk’s tweets lost his job. “I have more than 100 million followers, and I’m only getting tens of thousands of impressions,” Musk complained.
Musk makes noises about stepping down as CEO
Musk remains in charge, making unilateral decisions, often without apparent thought or counsel. In the early days of his takeover, his mass firings left the company without a number of key engineers and other personnel who are critical to the platform’s day-to-day-operations. Musk is known to realize his mistakes and hire employees back.
Anyone who has worked for a company that’s gone through a merger can relate to this one. The waiting, the wondering if you’ll still have a job. You start getting to work later, leaving early, updating your resume. In the early days of the Musk takeover, that’s just what Twitter employees were doing–waiting to be fired. Some were pulled into Musk projects, pulling all-nighters to meet contrived deadlines. If they failed to meet those deadlines, they were told they’d be fired. For some, being fired was beginning to look increasingly attractive.
By fall, 2022, only exceptional performance was in
According to theverge.com, it was on November 16, that Musk emailed his remaining 2,900 employees with an ultimatum. He was building Twitter 2.0, and workers would need to be ‘extremely hardcore,’ logging ‘long hours at high intensity’. The old way of doing business was out. Now, ‘only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.’ He asked employees to sign a pledge to the new standard by the end of the next workday.” Two days later he and two bodyguards met with employees to lay out his new strategy. Yet towards the end of the year, Twitter shut down data centers, including one in Sacramento, and more staff celebrated the holidays with pink slips.
Tesla stock started the year at $400/share. By September, it dropped 25 percent. It ended the year at $123. Investors and employees want Musk to step away from Twitter, as he has promised since the beginning.
Musk’s vision is to create an “everything app”
Fashioned after China’s WeChat “everything app”, this new version of Twitter would make it it possible for us to order our groceries, buy airplane tickets and schedule appointments—all from a single application, Twitter.
Why users are abandoning Twitter
The rise of Twitter competitors has been spurred by Twitter’s character limits and emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain that Twitter does not support. But it’s also about Elon Musk himself. Many are simply weary of the drama.
Let’s take a look at two of Twitter’s competitors
It’s a competitive space, and while Twitter is still a major player, the landscape has shifted and users are now looking for the best Twitter alternatives. These changes have generated interest in Twitter alternatives, and the market has responded with a variety of options. While these alternatives still have a lot of room to grow, they’ve already managed to capture the attention of Twitter users looking for a better/different user experience—or maybe it’s just one that doesn’t include Elon Musk.
This is the first platform to take a “zero-tolerance stance to hostile nations, bot accounts, trolls and disinformation networks who are weaponizing OUR own social media platforms and freedoms to engage in influence operations against us. And we’re here to counter it.” If you’re tired of the proliferation of disinformation, it may be time to migrate.
CounterSocial has seven columns, so the first look at the interface can be a little intimidating, but it all works together. If you want to start with a single column, that’s an option as well. It starts with your posting column. These are your toots. The other columns are the main community feed (the firehose), there’s one for your friends’ posts; there is a hashtag column and a newsfeed column which can be paused.
The other columns include the main community feed (the “firehose”) shown in chronological order, which can be curated; a feed featuring friends’ posts; notifications and hashtag feed columns; personal profile and a news feed option which can be paused.
The interface for this application most resembles that of Twitter, so for Twitter users, this may be the option with the smallest learning curve. Mastodon is favored by tech enthusiasts as an open-source blogging platform.
According to its German developer, Eugen Rochko, “It has no ads, respects your privacy, and allows people/communities to self-govern. We present a vision of social media that cannot be bought and owned by any billionaire, and strive to create a more resilient global platform without profit incentives. We believe that your ability to communicate online should not be at the whims of a single commercial company.” Mastodon is made up of independent servers. If you don’t like the rules of the server you’re on, hop to another.
What does the future of twitter look like?
It’s difficult to predict what the future of Twitter will hold, but it’s clear that the platform will have to make some changes if it wants to remain competitive. It’s likely that Twitter will continue to focus on its core strengths, such as its ability to connect people in real-time, but it also will need to address some of the issues that have led users to explore the alternatives.
Twitter will make changes to stay relevant. And let’s not rule out Elon Musk
The future of Twitter is unclear
To remain competitive and relevant, it likely will need to make changes. Twitter certainly will continue its focus on its core strength–its ability to connect people in real-time, but they also likely are going to have to address issues that are driving users to other platforms, including character count and AI. And then there is the matter of disinformation and privacy, which many of the Twitter competitors are addressing. This matters to users. But we can’t rule out Elon Musk.
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