Whenever there is mention of usage numbers for the Stories feature on various social media platforms, there is a mandatory joke on Facebook stories. The feature has become a punchline unto itself. Like the social media platform itself. Who uses that?
More people than Twitter. Over twice as many, in fact. Outside of US and Japan, it has no traction in any major market. Twitter is not particularly social for a social network. It is a joke.
The reason twitter is not considered a joke, I believe, is because its power users are self-important jerks; politicians, VC bros, and the journalist class. They have ascribed the same self-importance to the platform. The relevance only comes from because these people amplify even the tiniest semblance of an outrage on the mainstream stage. It is otherwise intimidating, and confusing to the general public. Their only interaction with the platform is through mass-media coverage of faux-outrages.
Twitter does one thing, and it doesn’t do it all that well. All their other product offerings have either been lackluster(Fleets) or underutilized(Vine).
In this context, a billionaire taking the company private would be a good thing. They can work on their product without the pressure of the public market breathing down their neck. However, when that billionaire has the same self-aggrandizing view of the platform as its power users and a complete misunderstanding of free speech, there is very little hope.
The Best Case Scenario
Elon Musk comes to his senses, and makes twitter more usable to the general public. And like Facebook, use the platform as a way to jump start better products. There is very little hope for that. His whole narrative is around the egregious free speech problems with the platform have made it clear.
The best case scenario for the Musk’s equity partners in the deal is that the company goes public in 2-3 years and all the Elon simps that buy Tesla shares also rush to buy the new IPO. That is the only way they will be able to cash out.
For Elon, it would be using the data to sell more Teslas and Satellite internet. Maybe in the process turn twitter’s ad platform into something merchants use.
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The Worst Case Scenario
Twitter becomes an even bigger cesspool. It turns into Gab, or Gettr, or like any of the other Reactionary Right trash fire platforms that have no hope of upside and just running on the fumes of impotent boomer rage and the edge-lord attention whoring.
These platforms have both demand-side and supply side issues. Half their user base of old angry guys is die out, do not exist outside of States and will die out shortly. The other half will grow up, or be in jail. Probably for terrorism.
Because of this they can’t attract engineering talent to build their products so somebody other than 70 year-olds from Iowa and angry 15 year-olds will use it. And they can’t attract most advertisers because selling razor blades to people who can’t grow hair on their faces is a bad idea.
Why did Elon do this?
Sheer vanity. When you can break all market rules and still come out on top, you may get high on your own supply. You might start believing that you alone can save the unwashed masses from the tyranny of speech restricting monsters at a social media platform. No matter that nobody actually uses the platform.
At least, that’s how it seems. Maybe the ‘free speech’ narrative is just a front and he believes that Twitter can thrive as a private company and pose a real challenge to Facebook-Youtube oligopoly. If that is the case, more power to him.
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