The Muskification of Twitter

Will it work? Depends on what the hell he’s actually trying to do…

Mookie Spitz

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Musk is running the same plays at Twitter as he did at Tesla and SpaceX: Darwinian firing, Skinnerian performance assessments, Draconian working conditions, and basically micro-managing the shit out of the entire organization.

Based on his prior track record these techniques worked in the medium- to long-term. Twitter is only partly a tech and engineering company, though. Its backbone is hardware and software, but its essence is communications.

Most critics are focused on the unnecessary operational risks Elon is incurring by canning so much of the top IT talent, and alienating most of the rest. But the existential risk isn’t systems fail on the backend, it’s content on the front.

A server crash you can patch, a line of code you can rewrite. Copyright and FTC violations, however, are serious legal and compliance matters that need to be competently responded to and mitigated by teams of in-house experts.

Problem is Twitter’s content moderation, regulatory, legal, and marketing departments no longer exist. That doesn’t mean they can’t be reassembled; for now, though, the company is exposed in shocking, unprecedented, and unnecessary ways.

Perhaps of even greater concern is reputation. Big ad dollars spent on social media are dependent on major companies being comfortable advertising on your platform. That’s essentially why Facebook won’t tolerate nipples and dick.

Companies like Disney with the big bucks — and most medium- and even small orgs, for that matter — never want their ads placed near incendiary content. Reputation is everything for a brand, constantly vulnerable and forever defended.

Bad enough that Musk continues to rage tweet like a twelve-year-old. What’s worse is the disruption and uncertainty created by his reckless chaos. Penny wise and pound foolish, he’s cutting salaries while losing billions in lost ad revenue.

Will Twitter survive? That depends on three things: 1) Functionality; 2) Talent; and 3) Content. So far, Elon has blown up two-out-of-three, with grave and justified concerns that the infrastructure can and likely will crash at any time…

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Mookie Spitz

Author and communications strategist. His latest book SUPER SANTA is available on Amazon, with a sci fi adventure set for Valentine's Day 2024.