Friday, November 18, 2022

On the Twitterpocalypse

David Ljungdahl illustration in 1910 Swedish edition of Jules Verne's "Captain Grant's Children," from Wikimedia Commons

Things are … happening … at Twitter. As Josh Taylor reports in "Twitter ‘closes offices’ after Elon Musk’s loyalty oath sparks wave of resignations," 

As the company temporarily closed its offices to staff on Friday, Twitter users began saying their goodbyes and linking to accounts on other platforms.

Charlie Sykes is in elegiac mode re: Twitter: in "Is The Twitterpocalypse Nigh?," he writes,

So, what was your best memory of Twitter?

Tens of thousands of users began saying “good-bye” last night as the site appeared to teeter toward destruction. Thousands of workers fired, mass resignations, ultimatums, lock-outs. And millions asked the nagging question: wouldn’t it have been easier for Elon Musk to have just taken the $44 billion out back and set it on fire?

And Josh Marshall, "TwiTitanic," points to the damage that one person whose emotional development appears to have been arrested in his teens is being permitted to do to a valuable social media resource:

Elon Musk has owned Twitter for roughly three weeks and as of this morning the site seems to be limping forward, with widespread but inconsistent outages, because the inner functioning of the company has essentially imploded. Or rather Musk blew it up. Pretty much on a whim. …

The whole November spectacle has been an amazing example of hubris, cult of personality worship and the level of chaos one person whose emotional development appears to have ended in his teens can unleash and how quickly.

My question: How do men like Trump and Musk and Thiel and countless others accrue such power? Which is really to ask, Why do we give such power to men who own lots of stuff, have super-inflated egos, are emotionally and intellectually frozen in adolescence. What is it about our values that is called into radical question when we see these men doing what men like this always do — tear things up to demonstrate their power over others and gratify their insatiable egos?

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