When Big Tech bros talk about being the cowboys of the modern age, the myth is what they want you to believe. They want us to believe that they are so brilliant and creative that they succeed without assistance and will solve any problem without needing oversight or regulation. They’ll forget to mention that the Internet they are building on only exists because of government programs or that many of them have gotten plenty of handouts from government and private equity. They will also not like to be reminded of the many ways they have overstepped and done real harm.
I’m online to connect with other real people and the ideas that live in their heads. I write to share those ideas with others, but I also write because writing helps clarify my thoughts and ideas. It’s practice for the many times I find myself needing to go into more detail and flesh out ideas in front of other people. Asking a chatbot to write this post wouldn’t give me mental exercise. It would remove the challenge of figuring out what I want to say and how I want to say it.
Why did we think anything on the public internet was a place to let kids roam with no training?
Tim leaves out of his analysis accounting for how many users will no longer be there and how that much smaller user base impacts the value proposition. If I’m a journalist using Twitter to interact with readers and attract new readers to my publication, the ROI of paying for a fully-featured Twitter account includes considering how many people it helps me reach. Is it still worth it when my 250,000 followers get cut to 25,000? What about 2,500? What about less?
Before you dismiss that as unlikely, I’d like you to remember that recent Pew research found that “the top 25% of users by tweet volume produce 97% of all tweets, while the bottom 75% of users produce just 3%, according to an analysis conducted over a three-month period in 2021.”
I’m going to just assume that the 75% group who isn’t tweeting very often is not going to pay for Twitter. Of the other 25% we have to consider how many of them will fall into the $12 per year plan because they already don’t follow many people but use Twitter to interact with people who want to follow them. The question is, will those followers still exist? And if they don’t exist, is Twitter still a global conversation? Or is it just another place for privileged people who pay for membership to talk to each other?
I’m sure at some point, Elon Musk thought for sure that he could buy Twitter and do a better job of content moderation. I’m sure most of us have had a similar thought. We just didn’t have $44 billion lying around.
He did, and now he gets to realize something the rest of us should know by now. There’s no easy way to do it.
Mark Manson’s hit the nail on the head in his recent newsletter. I think this explains why we have so many politicians who seem utterly incapable of writing, let alone passing, a bill. But they do this in spades: