I’m not one to make grand pronouncements, but this one really seems like the final nail in the coffin for Twitter, now called X. It’s a sad state of affairs, to be sure.
Over the last week, advertisers have been jumping ship from what I’ve often called my favorite social media app. It all started when Elon Musk seemingly agreed with an antisemitic tweet, then quickly back-peddled.
I won’t attempt to parse out Musk and his motivations for legitimizing that tweet and apparently destroying Twitter piece by piece, especially since that’s already been dissected by other writers and book authors.
That said, I am lamenting the fact that this is going from bad to worse. After the antisemitic tweet and the predictable fallout from advertisers, Musk then went on a tirade — one that does not need any repeating here. Suffice it to say, the tirade seems likely to cause irreparable damage, according to some reports.
The question we all need to ask is: Why destroy your own company?
I think I know the answer to that.
After reading many opinion pieces, recent books about Musk (including the somewhat positive biography by Walter Isaacson and Breaking Twitter, which is a total exposé and quite entertaining), and just reflecting on my own experience on the social media app since the earliest days, I’ve come to the conclusion that Musk just can’t help it. He likes to stir the pot. (In his case, the pot cost him $44B.)
If the Breaking Twitter author is correct in his assertion that 90% of the revenue at X comes from advertisers, it’s just a matter of time before it all goes up in smoke. Twitter Blue and other subscriptions sure won’t help. Musk hinted at the company going bankrupt just recently. There is something about his psyche, which Isaacson explained in great detail in his book, that makes Musk want to break things.
Also, in Breaking Twitter, we find out that Musk might think all of humanity is just part of a massive simulation. (You never know if that author is poking fun or is being serious, just like the character he is writing about.) The book explains how Musk thinks some people might be non-player characters in the simulation, meaning they are inconsequential. Musk might view reality as a sandbox game, similar to Grand Theft Auto. You can play by the rules and follow a set course. You can also go completely off the rails and drive around and destroy things.
Musk seems to be doing the latter. If everything is just a simulation, none of it matters anyway — even if you destroy a company and lose billions in the process.
He seems to be saying: “What happens if you make a series of really bad decisions with a well-known brand that is a household word and cause it to completely implode? Wouldn’t that be cool?” An NPC is like a social media follower: highly expendable. Musk doesn’t seem to care that much about them.
The problem is that it isn’t cool. Lives are impacted. Employees at X are living day to day on a razor’s edge, wondering what will happen next. Advertisers spend millions only to discover it was all a waste. For me, it means I’m slowly losing interest in X as my social media network of choice. I’m also not seeing many good alternatives.
How will it end? I’m not sure if we’ll see the game over screen soon, but it sure seems like we’re now on the final stage of the destructive plan. That’s a shame.