The Elon Musk Era Has Been a Complete Mess. But I’m Not Ditching Twitter Just Yet

On Friday October 28th I went to sleep after posting on Twitter. When I woke up the next morning, the site had become 4Chan. Immediately after Elon Musk bought the platform, it was inundated with racist and anti-Semitic trolls. Perhaps the moderation hadn’t changed — it would be a week before Musk fired half the company — but these trolls were heartened, excited by the prospect of Twitter becoming the new gab. It reminded me of the moment right after donald trump has been elected. Her husband had won, and now they would take the lead.

Musk has owned Twitter for a little over 10 days, and the change is radical and profound and dystopian as hell. On Thursday evening, some employees discovered that he had started firing half the company after they were unsubscribed from the company’s Slack and email accounts.

The carnage was carried out in typically Muskian fashion: an email told Twitter employees: “If your employment is unaffected, you will receive a notification via your Twitter email. If your employment is affected, you will receive a notification with next steps via your personal email.”

But the chaos was not controlled. The New York Times reported that at least one of the roughly 3,700 laid-off employees was locked out of the company’s systems during a call via the Twitter Blue product. Musk’s severe layoffs, which included the firing of election intelligence teams, could fuel a misinformation nightmare ahead of the midterm elections (although the suspension of the platform’s longstanding blue-check verification system, originally announced on Saturday, now lasts until shortly after the election seems to be on hold day). Meanwhile, Twitter is reportedly asking some employees it just laid off to return, and Musk, who has announced the return of “comedy” and “freedom of speech” on the platform, began warning users on Sunday not to impersonate people after some prominent accounts had started tweeting “Elon Musk.” Watching Musk melt down feels like watching KanyeWest Melt Down feels like watching Trump melt. We are trapped in a Mobius strip of the narcissistic autocrat.

I never thought Musk would buy Twitter. I figured he would get away at the last minute and apparently he did. But he did not do it. For Musk, Twitter is a very expensive toy. But for many of us, Twitter is not a toy at all. Many journalists and politicians dedicate hours to the platform every day. I am one of the worst offenders. i love twitter Much of my digital life (aka my life) takes place on Twitter. I find my updates on Twitter. And I find it very useful to see what other people think about the news I read.

But I’m not on Twitter just to get and share information. I also use Twitter for its greatest spiritual and profound purpose: to mock terrible politicians like ted cruz And my hours on Twitter were not in vain: the platform has been incredibly good for me. After having kids, I started writing again, knocking out 140 characters at a time. My hours and hours on the platform have been rewarded with over a million followers and more importantly, a sense of community. It’s cheesy, but I like my little internet world, despite the occasional death threat. I enjoy interacting with everyone from strangers to celebrities. I liked the openness of the place. I have pending direct messages, which means anyone can send me one.

Some celebrities, journalists and others have made great statements about leaving Twitter or publicly contemplated leaving and I respect the hell of it. But here’s the problem: there’s nowhere like it to go. As authors or as “content producers” we need a place to share our content. Writers without readers cease to exist. Twitter is an extremely valuable tool for writers trying to find readers. Without Twitter, we have to rely on Google’s homepage, Apple News, and the Drudge Report to get our stories out there. These venues are fine, but they are gatekeepers themselves. You cannot go to the Google home page. Trust me I tried. The need to connect with my readers will keep me on the platform until something better comes along. I have no choice.

For now, social media sites continue to have very little gatekeeping, which is good, but each platform is owned by a more nefarious entity, which is bad. Because of the Facebook leaks and whistleblowers Frances Haugen, We now know that the folks running Facebook parent company Meta knew their algorithms were radicalizing users. Then there’s TikTok, which is owned by a Chinese parent company that allegedly has ties to the country’s government (although the company denies Chinese influence). Musk has spent the 11 days that he owns the platform react to rightmost Personalities like that of Judicial Watch Tom Fitton and Ian Miles Cheong. Does that mean he’s far right? Who knows? He expressed his delight when I was trolled through Glen Greenwald. While we don’t know what’s lurking in Musk’s heart and mind, he certainly seems to have a pretty bad case of brainworm. There’s a lot of talk about social media becoming a neutral public utility, but how many of these owners might want to put their fingers on the scales? All of them?

I don’t enjoy watching Musk break his new toy, but I’ll be staying on Twitter until there’s a real alternative. I’m currently testing Mastodon which is confusing, like an online kit from Ikea that lacks the specific wrenches. But internet people need a place to exist, so maybe Mastodon will be my new home, or at least my new Örfjäll chair. The Elon Musk Era Has Been a Complete Mess. But I’m Not Ditching Twitter Just Yet

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