Our intrepid life coach counsels a reader who’s thinking of ditching a beloved social media platform now that it’s owned by a Bond villain.
Since Elon Musk has decided to buy Twitter as part of his inexorable rise to world domination, I’m wondering whether I should quit the platform altogether. Bunch of reasons why. It’s sort of a protest, sort of concern that the ‘vibe’ will change in a RWNJ sort of way – and partly sour grapes, because I don’t like the guy. The problem is that I rely on Twitter for a lot of news and, frankly, my social life. Any advice?
Jo via Twitter
It can be hard to accept change – especially when that change is wrought by a guy whose claims to nefarious, world-conquering megalomania are compromised only by the absence of a white cat.
So, we sympathise. Sure, we typically like to stay neutral; our modus operandi is merely to spread love, wisdom and Tabasco Sauce.
However, we have to admit to concern for the welfare of those whose entire existential meaning depends on Twitter.
Will Elon Musk ruin Twitter?
For those blissfully unaware, the CEO of Telsa – wealthiest man in the world and future Emperor of the Galaxy – Elon Musk has “bought” the social media platform for around $44 billion.
The process by which the deal was settled was (you’ll be thrilled to know) by turns boring, complex, mystifying and impressively shameless.
The concise take is that Twitter has agreed to sell itself to Elon, who will make the company ‘private’ in a negotiation that hinges on the aforementioned multi-billion dollar sum.
Unanimously approved by the company’s board, this deal is expected to close this year – presumably with a celebratory cruise on Moonraker 5 to an orbiting space station for cocktails and canapes.
Obscene amounts of money and pissing contests aside, what this means for the future of the platform is unclear, which is where Jo’s concerns about the ‘vibe’ come in.
As usual, people only agree to disagree – but thankfully, as you’d expect from Twitter, all the dialogue around the issue has been expressed in entirely adult and rational ways.
Elon, himself, has been so far (deliberately) vague, dropping various hints about A.I. updates and freedom of speech. The latter has warped significance in the Twitterverse following the exile from the platform of one Donald J. Trump.
But of course, Elon knows what he’s doing; he’s appropriating the former President’s mantle of shit-stirrer-in-chief. The same imperative dictates his coronavirus misinformation, body-shaming some other rich guy or his baiting of AOC with bad jokes.
As with Trump, people hate him for it … and his fans love that he’s hated for it.
So, yeah, there’s probably going to be some *turbulence* on Twitter. It may get worse as the cult of personality around Elon swells.
Who cares? Yes, it’s not very profitable – but Twitter is influential as, ya know, Trump proved. If it’s being moderated by a troll, there may actually have real world consequences – like the amplification of extreme, like-minded, misinformed voices.
And if he can’t technically become President – ‘cos, ya know, he’s not a natural born citizen – you suspect that Elon’s ego and vast amounts of money won’t stop him trying. Where better than politics – apart from Twitter – to use being a bit of an arsehole as a winning strategy?
“Winning at what?” you might ask. Well, just having the ability to yell “I’m winning!” at a rally or on social media to 90 million followers (even if almost half of them are fake) is winning.
How to get more followers on Twitter
Jo, it’s reasonable to want to leave all of this behind. Unfortunately, you also say Twitter’s a source of news and society for you. And ultimately, how else are you going to find out not only who the next Doctor Who is – but why the fans think choosing Elon Musk to play the role was a really bad idea? Or who wore what at the Met Gala?
Despite our vaguely cynical preamble, we can offer some positive advice.
Firstly, think philosophically. Hey, the degree of toxicity is only going to change to a relative degree, right?
Twitter was always a great place for people to platform ill-founded opinion (you know, kinda like this one) as outrageously and gratingly as possible.
Secondly, if liberal ‘blue ticks’ vacate the site en masse, this presents a space in the market for those people like you: progressive minds who aren’t quitters.
Think about it: this could be your big break – albeit in the context of a platform that’s getting more toxic than the Cooks River.
Under these circumstances, we recommend being obnoxious as possible. When in Rome, after all. Be outrageous in your convictions. Never, ever give in to subtlety or nuance. Be sure to double down on even your most half-baked opinions. Find the abrasiveness even in your glad tidings.
And if that doesn’t work out, you can always head over to Facebook where the CEO of that enterprise is … oh wait, no, never mind.
A panacea for uncertain times, The Existential Expert is a forum where the Sentinel will address the essential questions, you – our readers – have posed. If you have a conundrum, whether it’s spiritual, philosophical or just something that makes you break out in a rash, email us at: email@example.com – or tweet or DM us @sydney_sentinel. New columns are published at the beginning of each month. You can check out previous ones here!
Disclaimer: The advice provided in this column is no substitute for professional advice and should not be treated as such.
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