Musk owns Twitter now. It is his baby. Maybe more like a step-child, but he molds it now. There have been changes. It is exciting to consider what comes next. It’s refreshing in comparison to what has felt like a static social media landscape. The fun comparison is to Facebook, which plods along and one wonders who uses it anymore (old people). Musk and Zuck are an interesting contrast themselves, but they point to the different states of the two entities. Facebook has lost its zip while Twitter has an opportunity ahead of it for a rebirth.
Facebook has slipped in being the it social media space for any discourse or fun user experience. Its history is kind of funny since it became the new, nice suburb after MySpace. Really though, what it enjoyed was being for college kids (sucking in new users) and signaling to the broader public that young, hip people were there. Once everyone’s mom signed on, they were going to have growth, but then of course, push away some younger users. Facebook was aware of the slippage in youth enrollment over a decade ago, and made up for this by acquiring Instagram.
Like cigarette sales, one has to catch them young before anyone else does. Cable television has learned this fact. This is behind their push of TikTok like content on both Instagram and Facebook in a desperate, Boomerish attempt to be cool. Facebook’s other fatal error was going all in on misinformation censorship and antagonizing their audience. Despite open censorship of right wing content, left wing partisans would point out how the most popular, political content on Facebook was Ben Shapiro or Breitbart. That had nothing to do with Facebook the entity leaning right and everything to do with their audience of Boomer users plus fewer right wing outlets. Spitting on Boomers hurt Facebook. Boomers are flush with money to spend, so Facebook will slump along shearing sheep but any chance for a more dynamic future is gone. META was a huge flop. Ad revenue decreased in ‘22. What’s the plan? Posting with dead relatives as the user base ages? These are not the actions nor the focus of a growth stock.
Twitter on the other hand has an opportunity. Musk did the classic LBO turnaround moves of mass firings and securing the finances to make sure it can stay afloat. Kudos to him. Depending on the algo tweak during the week, things seem better, worse or the same as pre-Musk Twitter. What Musk seems to understand is that somewhere in the mid-2010s, Twitter went from a social media site you went to in order to click to somewhere else to being the place you went to for content. It is not just the debate square but the entertainment square. No stand up comic compares to some witty anon accounts. Threads are more informative than most blogging was in the 2000s blogging heyday. It is where the action is and in a weird way, where the community is.
The smart moves coming are the possibility of microtransactions and content creator payment. This is tied to the extended video posting and even the extended character tweets. If Musk’s Twitter can steal away content creators from YouTube, it is a coup. More eyeballs, as it has always been with selling advertising space. YouTube has premier corporations advertising on it because the user base and viewership dwarfs other social media. Users are in line with Facebook but consider the time spent on each site. If Twitter can broaden its user type to be more similar to YouTube, it changes the opportunity for the firm. The key in branding is to be the truth source and the free speech outlet. We all know those two things will never be perfect, but all they have to do is superior to YouTube’s draconian stance today. I’ve seen YouTube videos where perfectly normal, pop culture channels are worried about referencing the Gestapo or SS when mocking a Disney Star Wars vacation package advertisement. The demonitization tweaks at YouTube inspired one shooter (may Nasim’s soul rest in peace), and anger all content creators. Twitter just has to offer a bit more in financial incentives if the censorship shackles are gone. These are two easy hurdles to clear and to zig where every other social media site zags.
With the success of TikTok but the national security concerns, the time will come when Vine should be brought back to life. Riot season, sorry, election season will kick off in twelve months, so bring back Periscope. This is about being the place for people to have their eyeballs trained on during the election. Pulling up different Periscopes was a fun act during 2020. Spaces effectively killed Clubhouse. No one but government regulation will kill TikTok as it has effectively captured the Zoomer audience, but it can peel off those users wary of China (as if blue haired American Big Tech workers are better). These features though add to the strength of Twitter being a place you go, not a waypoint. Twitter is in survival mode right now, but keep in mind that it would be stupid for Twitter to repeat the 2020 no election ad money when 2024 rolls around. Expect a better bottom line, expect more profit.
For anyone wondering where things go in the memeplex, it is an exciting time. Facebook is a Boomer sorting machine, but Boomers are starting to die off. Facebook should ask gray parish Mainline Protestant churches how they deal with an audience dying off. What comes next will be decided by the ideas and memes pushed by those who can act on them. Millennials, Xers and Zoomers will be there and what they see and believe will matter. Twitter has a real opportunity. While the early results are mixed, there have been improvements. There can be opportunity for many more and not just at Twitter. The sad indictment of our system is that it is all because of one man.
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thx 4 the Mof20C episode a few weeks back.
You guys need to help out old Mr La fond on the plagiarism going on.
A few quotes for the soul from La Bond.
“For my money, the clearest indication that we are being comprehensively mislead, is that your racist, tobacco-chewing, gun-loving, conservative uncle from North Carolina, who “greased Hajis in The Stan,” agrees with your lesbian, rug-munching, fascist-hating, progressive cousin from Manhattan who hugs retards at the Special Olympics that some leader on the other side of the world is “A Madman,” who must be stopped.”
“The people that rule us are so much more intelligent than we are, that we deserve our lie-based bondage, just as the lamb deserves to be curried.”