Elon Musk has done it again. He’s brought his golden touch to Twitter, and according to a tweet by the billionaire, Twitter now has the highest engagement in its history. The usage is going gangbusters, despite reams of ridiculous Twitter drama splattered all over the global news.
While this new and frankly, astounding, viewership doesn’t guarantee commercial success, if it is true, then this could go a long way to bring back advertisers that jumped ship when Musk took over.
The top 500 advertisers withdrew campaigns after worrying that their association with the social media platform under Musk’s reign would be damaging to their brand.
Elon Musk and the Twitter takeover
So much tea has been spilled since Elon Musk took over Twitter. It’s like the Boston Tea party but online. Since Elon walked through the door of Twitter headquarters with a sink (“let that sink in”) there have been a lot of Twitter events that have provided great fodder for social media ridicule. These happenings would seemingly be counted as bad publicity, but no, there is still no such thing, apparently.
The first thing that happened is that Twitter staff went to Quitsville in massive numbers. But that wasn’t the only drama. After that, Elon Musk laid off thousands of staff who remained, first slashing the people who were critical of him.
While most people thought these firings would have a detrimental effect on the company, pundits have been amazed to see that Twitter is working just as well or better with just a skeleton staff, despite a few outages. While there are still problems, the wins with viewership are the stuff that most media companies can only dream of.
This success after so many layoffs seems to demonstrate that the Twitter workforce had become bloated and unproductive. It indeed may have inspired layoffs in other tech companies, as they, too, slimmed their workforces.
It isn’t all roses for existing staff, who are under huge pressure to make the social media platform a success, sleeping at Twitter headquarters while Musk himself sleeps on the couch. It’s easy to admire Elon Musk and his dedication, while never wanting him to be your boss. Ever.
Musk and his Twitter goals
On April 5 of last year, Musk told the world he has acquired 9% of Twitter’s shares on the open market. The company then tried to fend off Musk, with a poison-pill strategy. (Poison pill is a defense strategy designed to prevent potential acquirers getting control of a company by buying up lots of stock.)
That failed, and Musk managed to buy out Twitter for an unfathomable US$44 billion.
In a private letter to the Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor, Elon Musk wrote, “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy. However, since making my investment I now realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.”
Musk went on to say, “Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it.”
On October 28 of last year, Musk officially took over Twitter, and promptly fired CEO Parag Agrawal and policy director Vijaya Gadde.
Both have been taking the heat ever since.
Yoel Roth, the former Head of Trust and Safety at Twitter, has also been dragged across the coals for his alleged collusion with the FBI.
And of course, the whole Covid-19 vaccination saga dust was stirred up again, just when we thought we got rid of it from our news timelines. God, will Covid stuff ever go away.
Future concerns and Twitter usage
While the Twitter tea has been amazing to sip upon, there are some worrying overarching ideas about just how much what we see is manipulated by commercial and government interests.
Elon has spoken about the need to make Twitter politically neutral. While this seems a good idea in theory, many people doubt that Musk will uphold his own ideals.
Musk has made his own political bent obvious in recent weeks, being spotted hanging with his boy Rupert Murdoch.
Rupert Murdoch is the Australian-born overlord of News Corp, and he is considered to have a conservative political orientation, and is generally associated with right-wing political views.
While the idea of a social media platform having political neutrality and being free of government meddling is the ultimate ideal, many people doubt that Musk’s own political agenda won’t seep through into what people see on Twitter.
Will there ever be a perfect social media platform that doesn’t have a whole pile of problems and dramas? Probably not. Until then, the Chainsaw will remain across all of them, so stick with us, we got you.