Musk’s acquisition has been greater than a bit of loopy making on a platform the place many customers’ chief obsession is the positioning itself. The textual content field of Twitter nonetheless prompts each consumer with “What’s occurring?” What’s occurring, invariably, is that they’re Twitter. This easy truth accounts for maybe 99 % of the acrimony on there, which is never about occasions within the outdoors world and continuously in regards to the content material of different tweets. Nearly everybody who makes use of Twitter feels that he’s being wronged by it in some way, however he cannot cease wanting. And one of many perverse details about it’s that the extra energy and followers one accumulates, the extra one dangers changing into held forth for example of all that is flawed on this planet — none extra so than the winner of the complete sport of worldwide capitalism. No surprise Musk thinks there’s nonetheless worth to be unlocked: He loves the positioning, although his expertise with it’s probably horrible.
And since Musk is the only wealthiest particular person on the planet, it is simple for a lot of to consider that the deal just isn’t a few need to refurbish and renew “the digital city sq.” however one thing extra nefarious or silly. Some — together with the second wealthiest man on the planet, Jeff Bezos — have speculated that Tesla’s publicity to the Chinese language market will the truth is make it extra inclined to censorship beneath Musk’s possession. Others have fretted about his now proudly owning journalists’ DMs; some assume that is hilarious. There are some who concern that he will convey again former President Donald Trump, one other billionaire energy consumer of the platform; Loads of others discover that concept exhilarating. He is said a need to rein in bot accounts, which in all probability seem to be an even bigger drawback to you when you could have 85.4 million followers and tweet about crypto and inventory costs and the numbers 420 and 69. On Monday, folks saved posting unflattering photos of him — from his PayPal days, or standing subsequent to Ghislaine Maxwell — joking it’s going to be the final day they will get away with it.
And that is what’s so unsettling about his acquisition: the sturdy sense that — even at its most anodyne — it is an act of vainness, a way of enhancing the non-public expertise of 1 consumer of the agora. And there is one thing to it. Musk oozes with a desperation to be regarded as humorous, an ailment no amount of cash can repair and maybe his most relatable high quality. His outing on “Saturday Night time Stay” was borderline painful to observe, even by modern “SNL” requirements — specifically his monologue, which was stuffed with fascinating be-nice-to-me protection mechanisms: an announcement that he was the primary host with Asperger’s syndrome; an look by his mom, who hugged him and instructed him she beloved him; and a declaration of his imaginative and prescient for the long run: “I consider in a renewable-energy future; I consider that humanity should change into a multiplanetary, spacefaring civilization.”
He paused after that half: “These seem to be thrilling targets, do not they? Now I believe if I simply posted that on Twitter, I might be superb. However I additionally write issues like ’69 days after 4/20 once more haha’ ” — an precise publish from June 28, 2020, which was certainly 69 days after April 20 — “I do not know, I believed it was humorous. That is why I wrote ‘haha’ on the finish. Look, I do know I typically say or publish unusual issues, however that is simply how my mind works. To anybody I’ve offended, I simply wish to say: I reinvented electrical automobiles and I am sending folks to Mars in a rocket ship. Did you assume I used to be additionally going to be a chill, regular dude?”
By no means earlier than has the Twitter consumer mentality been so neatly summarized: I do know you could not like my jokes, however what you must perceive is that I am really cool. The capital markets have rewarded Musk richly for all of that; Twitter, dwelling of the guillotine meme, has not — or at the very least not uniformly. However due to the previous, any frustration Musk might have with the latter can doubtlessly reshape the closest factor we now have to a digital city sq.. It isn’t clear that there is something to mourn on this altering of the guard, besides maybe for the truth that it may possibly occur in any respect.