Over the weekend, self-proclaimed genius Elon Musk dealt what might be the killing blow to Twitter, the useful, popular and effective platform he begrudgingly bought in October 2022 for $44 billion.
Since then he’s done his level best to run the thing into the ground: firing most of the staff, destroying the verification process, tweaking the algorithm to favor people who pay him $8 a month as opposed to actual entities and creators, force-feeding right-wing content — much of it extreme — to people he thinks need to see it, alienating high-dollar advertisers and squandering the institutional knowledge and cachet built up since Twitter launched in 2006.
These acts and others were anathema to anyone who knows anything about business, coding, human psychology and the internet itself. This week, he made it even worse.
On Sunday, he announced he would be changing Twitter’s name to X. Yes, X, the same name as his rocket-ship company, SpaceX. It’s also what PayPal was called when he was CEO there, which may have been the cause of his hasty exit in 2000.
And while he’s burning Twitter — sorry, X — to the ground, he’s also planning on embiggening the thing, but not in a way that anyone can explain.
From X’s CEO Linda Yaccarino, who has been on the job approximately seven weeks: “X is the future state of unlimited interactivity — centered in audio, video, messaging, payments/banking — creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities. Powered by AI, X will connect us all in ways we’re just beginning to imagine.”
If you’re having trouble figuring out what exactly that bit of word salad means, you’re not alone. It’s gibberish. Kendall Roy made almost the same pitch on the final season of “Succession,” except it was written as a joke.
It’s a real shame.
Over nearly two decades, Twitter established itself as the go-to place for breaking news, for networking with people in your profession, for unfiltered commentary from notaries in every field from music to politics to journalism.
Unlike Musk himself, Twitter — sorry, X — is not totally useless right now. But it’s headed that way fast as the people who made it interesting are headed to other spaces and the riff-raff take over.
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