It’s been a while since I issued an update on the imbecile running my favourite social media site, Twitter. Since my last posting, the number of idiotic decisions made the company’s CEO has been breathtaking.
I want to say we reached Peak Musk when he not only publicly fired an employee for being disabled, but it ended up they were literally on a Do Not Fire list because terminating his employment would cost the company millions of dollars. Did I mention this individual was also Iceland’s Person of the Year?
There was also the time when Twitter got evicted from their Boulder, Colorado offices over unpaid rent…
Musk’s bold plan to cut costs by simply not paying people and vendors hasn’t worked out too well, with the latter blowing up in his face spectacularly, as Twitter Spaces delivered an embarrassing, audio-only announcement that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis would be running for President in 2024. The issues were largely related to Twitter deciding to not pay Redis Labs for their audio and video-streaming software, which was deemed a ‘hard requirement’ internally.
Finally, over the Canada Day / July 4th long weekend, Twitter came to a screeching halt as users were unable to load tweets, receiving a cryptic “rate limit exceeded” message. The cause? You guessed it: another unpaid bill, this time one due to Google for various cloud services. The bill eventually got paid, but now Musk’s latest genius move is to begin restricting access to the platform for non-paying members.
Yeah, that’s right, the guy who owns a content platform doesn’t want people posting or consuming too much content! Please tell me this guy has a microchip I can stick in my brain, he really seems to be a font of brilliant ideas.
As it stands, the company seems poised to lock the once beloved TweetDeck feature behind a paywall. They’ve already deprecated all the old APIs, and forced users to the new iteration. As of August, the feature will be available only to paid Twitter Blue subscribers. I don’t know how much uptake there will be, since the new iteration is an abysmal, feature-deficient mess that barely offers more than the regular — and also garbage — web UI for Twitter.
While all of this unfolds, competitors Blue Sky and Threads have both launched and garnered significant attention. Both are also primitive versions of the platform everyone wants them to replace, and come with the same data privacy concerns as any other social media app.
Threads is a Meta product, which means I’m likely to never touch it; it’s not even available in the EU, which ought to tell you something about how much the app spies on you. Jack Dorsey may have founded Twitter, but his leadership also sucked and I’m not exactly aching to head over to his new venture in Blue Sky. (The fact they call posts ‘skeets’ is even more cringeworthy than when Mastodon called them “toots”.)
I don’t think anyone really wants to make a direct competitor to Twitter. Anyone who puts even a token effort into researching the popularity of social networks would realize Twitter is barely in the top 10. The site’s influence is massively overstated, and will only continue to shrink as it drives away users who actually post content people want to see, and the site continues to be marred by infrastructure failures and seemingly random policy changes. No one is looking to just make a website where you can follow your friends and see their posts, that doesn’t make enough money; it’s got to be some “cutting edge” contraption that uses “AI” somehow.
Technically Musk has handed the CEO role over to Linda Yaccarino, but her posts are the sort of mindless drivel one would expect if they asked Chat-GPT to write a business press release in the vein of an MBA on a couple of bars of Xanax. Hiring an imbecile to be sock puppet CEO isn’t even that abnormal, but it is extremely funny that the one Musk chose can’t even use the skills they are known for — Yaccarino is constrained by a non-compete clause, preventing her from addressing the serious advertising issues plaguing Twitter. Ingenious gambit, sir!
I have no idea how the social media landscape will look in a year’s time. I think Twitter will be sold at a massive loss at some point, as Musk will tire of it and the abuse he reaps from it. Threads seems like just another extension of Facebook and Instagram, which are both shit-holes with their own distinct issues — one melts the brains of boomers, while the latter undermines the self-esteem of teenagers. I refuse to believe more-than a dozen people have actually signed up for Mastodon and found each other, and the rest of the sundry clones are just that, clones. Maybe Twitter will lose enough prestige as to become a ghost town, but I think there’s still a lot of inertia left.
UPDATE: literally minutes after I posted this, it was revealed that Twitter intends to sue Meta over their Threads application. Twitter alleges their employees were “poached.” As always, there is a tweet that shows just how much of an unmitigated imbecile Musk is: