Our all-time attention whore and hog is now Twitter CEO and owner-all baked into one, and that doesn't make me feel safe. For all the ‘money does not buy happiness’ cliché, Musk’s money might have just done the opposite-bought him the joy of tormenting others, given him the attention he so much craves, and now who gets his attention? At the staff level, Twitter employees might have dreaded this day, when Twitter would change hands. True to his words, the firings and counter-hiring that happened in Musk’s first week in office, was always to be Musk’s first ‘executive order’ once he got a hold of Twitter.
Musk is no longer the cool space dude, he can now virtually make you job insecure whether you live in Ghana, India, Brazil, or are Twitter CEO in the blink of an eye. Makes me wonder if developing nations such as in Africa would have created a Weibo, TikTok, or Telegram, during the social media windfall- because that window is gone with the incoming recession. Would we be so vulnerable to the whims of multinationals or capital flight by foreign investors? No. We would be unbothered like China about who takes over Twitter now or in the future. That would make Africa information secure, but we aren’t, just like in many other areas like food, climate, or defense.
Musk might never become the US president, but his reign on Twitter is without presidential term limits, but terms and conditions of his own making. His Twitter base already gives him influence that he might already be testing with his endorsement of Republicans in the Midterms. His Twitter ownership gives the man relationships or collusion with governments that Biden now promises to look into with his other companies. Musk might be Trump’s rival with the same goal, to wipe off liberal influence in social media space, collude, and give voice to fascists who have been erstwhile ostracized in a normal social media environment. Twitter’s new owner is recreating it in his image and likeness- the whims and all.
Elon Musk thinks his destiny is to free the world from control and muzzle of free speech. But in less than a week, he seems anything but the advocate of free speech the world has been waiting for. Instead, he has prepared us mentally for a rollercoaster ride. That we might have to process a lot of double-speak before we call it quits become that day will come-incase you haven't left Twitter yet. I think we may have to keep count of how many tweets Musk will have accumulated since taking over, and fact-check what he said he will do and does the complete opposite. It's Trump on Twitter all over again only embodied in Elon Musk. When it's no longer fun, Musk will have to close shop when Twitter becomes the never foreseen headache, and not the darling of free speech he anticipates.
While his past Twitter activity raised eyebrows, Musk’s endorsement of the Republican Party, and saying it out loud, again on Twitter, may have surprised many. Not to say, many didn’t know he was conservative-leaning by all indications of his friends and statements. But Musk seems to be exercising his newly acquired powers or at least testing them since he doubles up as the richest man in the world, and is now the owner of a social media giant. But as if Musk’s influence before acquiring Twitter was not dangerous enough, he is now single-handedly in charge of company policy. Musk will have to deal with governments, personalities, and organizations, and sometimes, all those customers will not agree with what he believes or thinks on any given day. Will Musk put people in danger with his recklessness, or is he now aware of the burden of responsibility that acquiring Twitter gave him? What about Musk's narrow thinking about the world being left or right based on the US political environment, and could have been one of his motivations to buy the company. What made him scrap Twitter offices in Africa, and almost do away with the Twitter employees in India, and not Ireland? What follows Musk from now on is the rude shock will be that Twitter will not always be fun-it wasn’t fun for Jack Dorsey either in the end.
Musk found pleasure in throwing tantrums and mean bites at anyone he could torment in the comfort of his home. Now that he is in the hot seat, he will answer to governments, resolve Twitter fights, and deal with countless lawsuits. By now, he must wish he never acquired Twitter, just like he had to rescind the decision to cut some Twitter staff. Should we fear that Musk will cause wars, or at least start a rumor, or conspiracy theory that might spill into the real war on the street when free speech goes unabated? What will he do with another January 6? What will he do when a soon-to-return Trump on Twitter breaks rules? Will Musk be good for democracy or will his flirtatious relationship with dictators be a weak spot to exploit? What will Musk do with the truth, especially when the facts are not on his side? Will he be accountable to us and especially for the bad that will happen on his platform? Or is Elon Musk here to set his own rules, just like Trump did, and go on unchecked? Will he give more power and voice to the conservatives and weaken liberals on his platform?
Finally, what is Elon Musk’s agenda, what is the endgame here, money is not it. I think we will have to figure out this one on our own. As for quitting Twitter, many people have a wait-and-see attitude, watching Musk’s daily and by-the-minute moves, to decide if it's time to quit altogether. Maybe social media as a whole is in transition and changing hands is a sign that founders saw a bad ending for their inventions when they became extremely toxic. Is it our turn to retreat to our safe space called minding our own business, because there was never realness on social media? Until there is a total breakdown, and it isn't safe anymore, Medium, I think, maybe our only safe space, or where this social media transition ultimately leads.